In the following article, the GSMA (the telco trade association representing the interests of mobile operators worldwide), bemoans the fact that their planned rollout of 4G/LTE technology in the EC is being hampered by what they call “non-science based restrictions on mobile phone antennas in some member countries”. No doubt that GSMA is also worried about the future rollout of 5G.
This shows that ICNIRP’s assurances of safety, based solely on thermal considerations, is seriously being questioned and rejected in the EC. Hopefully this ‘contagion’ will spread internationally. What is not said is that the EC doubts over ICNIRP flow directly from the widespread awareness of the Bioinitiative report.
GSMA, March 25, 2014
Plans to revitalize the EU economy through digital technology and innovation are being hampered by non-science based restrictions on mobile phone antennas in some member countries, according to a new GSMA report.
At the end of 2013 less than two per cent of mobile users in Europe were connected with the latest high speed mobile broadband technology, compared to nearly 20 per cent of users in the United States who had a 4G/LTE connection.
And despite the Digital Agenda for Europe’s (DAE) aim to reboot the region’s economy through digital technologies, the latest research indicates Europe will continue to lag behind, due in part to unnecessary restrictions placed on the telecommunications industry.
The GSMA’s new report Arbitrary Radio Frequency exposure limits: Impact on 4G networks deployment highlights five European jurisdictions which have set “extremely restrictive electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure limits without credible scientific basis.”
Brussels, Italy, Lithuania, Paris and Poland have all impacted the rollout of high speed mobile technology by setting exposure limits for mobile phone network antennas around 50 times below the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) levels recommended by the EU and the World Health Organization.
The GSMA report said that the ICNIRP limits have been confirmed as protective against all established health risks by the European Commission scientific advisory committees from 1998 – 2009 and “therefore, there is no scientific basis to assert greater health protection by imposing more restrictive EMF limits.”
“Network operators, in order to respect unreasonably strict EMF exposure limits, have to reduce the output power of their antennas,” the report said.
“Such reduction affects coverage and creates gaps in the network, which then affects the quality of the service provided to consumers.”
The rollout of new mobile technologies on existing network sites is also limited because the presence of several antennas at the one site fills all the allowable EMF exposure level.
In Italy for example, between 44 and 77 per cent of existing network sites cannot be used to accommodate new mobile broadband technologies because of the country’s strict exposure limits.
In order to deliver good network coverage and attempt to rollout network upgrades under these conditions, mobile operators are forced to install new base stations, which can have significant economic and environmental impacts in terms of energy consumption and landscape modification.
The report predicts that Italian network carriers would need to install an additional 38,400 mobile network sites to deliver adequate 3G and 4G coverage – a 64 per cent increase on the current 60,000 base stations – and a corresponding increase in energy consumption of 1.3 terawatt-hours per year and CO2 emissions of about 0.77 metric tons per year.
The report said valuable radio frequency spectrum was also being wasted under the strict exposure regimes.
“With unreasonably strict EMF exposure limits it is not possible to use all frequencies due to the fact that adding new systems on the existing base stations would result in them exceeding the permitted EMF exposure limits, and will therefore be illegal. This will cause a waste of spectrum that will not be utilized to its full potential.”
Senior Director of Research and Sustainability for the GSMA Dr Jack Rowley said making safety limits more restrictive than the ICNIRP international guidelines in response to public health concerns, as some European jurisdictions had done, provides no additional protection against established health risks and often leads to increased public concern.
“The GSMA recommends the adoption of harmonised EMF exposure limit policies based on the sound scientific foundation of international guidelines,” Dr Rowley said.
“To gain the benefits of new mobile technologies, the European Commission and Member States must adopt evidence based policies that enable the efficient deployment of mobile broadband and other wireless technologies.”Leave a reply →