The UK Government, and Public Health England (PHE) has advised the HSE that the UK adopt the international guidelines from the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
These international guidelines are based on extensive scientific research spanning many decades. And the guidelines apply in the same way to 5G as they do to existing 2G, 3G and 4G technologies and other radio frequencies such as radio and TV transmissions.
The frequencies used for 5G in the UK are similar to the ones currently used for 4G services. Where 4G uses frequencies between 800 MHz and 2.6GHz, 5G uses frequencies between 3.4GHz and 3.6GHz. In comparison, your television transmission uses frequencies of up to 806 MHz and Wifi is between 2 GHz and 5 GHz. In fact, 5G spectrum has been used for many years in the UK, just not by the mobile operators.
The mobile operators must comply with safety limits for the radio emissions that are broadcast from their base stations or mobile masts. Public Health England provides guidance on these limits and they are enforced through the Health and Safety Executive. 4G masts are already compliant with these limits, and more importantly, 5G technology is also compliant.
Some articles have been written about 5G using much higher radio frequencies and requiring many more masts than current 4G technology.
In the UK, the technology chosen by the Government for providing 5G services doesn’t use significantly higher radio frequencies than our existing network. In fact, the frequencies used for 5G in the UK are close to the current 4G frequencies. This means with a small antenna upgrade, or additional one where required, mobile operators will be able to use the same masts currently providing 4G services for 5G as well. So, neither the radio frequencies nor the number of masts will increase dramatically in the UK.
Obstructions can impact connectivity. The range of 5G connectivity is not great as the frequency waves can only travel a short distance. Also, 5G frequency can be interrupted by physical obstructions such as trees, towers, walls, or buildings. Given that fact, and due to the sheer volume of masts deployed, the likelihood of obstructions causing any major issues are slim. The only downside seems to be the question of what we’ll do with the extra downtime we’re bound to gain through 5G making our lives that much easier!
That’s not an easy question to answer, but we’ve listed some boxes you’ll want to tick when doing your research. In order to answer the question, you need to decide what’s important to you. The checklist below might help…
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