- Former national finance minister, Lou Jiwei warned last month that existing 5G technology in China is immature and quite expensive.
- The next stimulus package should contain billions of dollars to produce, distribute, install, build out, maintain and monitor municipal fiber-optic broadband cable around the nation.
- Until and unless a much safer, more cost-effective and less-energy intensive system can be produced, we should revise plans for continued expansion of the 5G albatross.
You may have heard that we are locked in a technology battle with China over commercializing 5G. That conflict turns out to be more hype than happening, designed to whet American appetites for competition and pave the way for more subsidies to the global multi-trillion dollar telecom industry.
Former national finance minister, Lou Jiwei warned last month that existing 5G technology in China is immature and quite expensive. Increased electricity costs to fuel 5G in 2019, he recently warned look to be 10 times the profit of China Telecom — one of three state telecom companies of China.
Not missing a beat or a chance for tapping heavy government subsidies, a China Telecom official, speaking at a Groupe Speciale Mobile Association seminar in Beijing last month, called for the government to directly underwrite telecom electricity costs. He minced no words voicing his fear that without this support 5G could prove a colossal failure.
“The existing 5G technology is very immature. Hundreds of billions of investment have been deployed, and the operating cost is extremely high. No application scenarios can be found, and it is difficult to digest the cost in the future,” Jiwei warned last month in a speech that has been independently confirmed.
The Chinese Academy of Information and Communications Technology, concluded a white paper on the topic of 5G and the economy, “It is difficult for ordinary consumers and industry users to see the long-term benefits and rewards of 5G.”
“Based on a recent survey of Chinese consumers, 73.3% of the people polled said they believe that there is no need for the public to buy 5G mobile phones. The study released last month by iiMedia, a market research group, also found that the main reason for not buying 5G mobile phones is because there is no such need,” the report read.
Important warnings came from Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, who bluntly added that the benefits of 5G have been exaggerated and are not needed at this time.
“In fact, human societies do not have an urgent need for 5G,” said Huawei CEO, Ren Zhengfei in November. “What people need now is broadband, and the main content of 5G is not broadband.”
What exactly does that mean?
Broadband relies on wired cables that provide faster, safer and more secure access. Much of it can be installed through or added onto existing infrastructure. Whether teens or the rest of us, it has always been tricky to distinguish between wants and needs. Those cool foldable phones may turn dad into a wide-angled photographic genius, but they provide no increase in connectivity between people, nor are signals less likely to be dropped.
Yes, 5G devices reduce the time needed to download movies to your wristwatch or another device. Yes, you can use your phone to turn on your coffee pot or clothes dryer or even handle three teens using devices at once.
But, all that comes with a price the full toll of which remains unknown, but is not unknowable, as two recent reports make clear.
Thus, the latest Government Accountability Office(GAO) Report notes that limited information on 5G is quite troubling, including the projected tripling or more of energy and permanent compromise of the night sky because more 5G satellites could be launched than there are visible stars.
Further, the 2020 New Hampshire State Commission, concludes that the absence of evidence on environmental impacts of 5G on plants, insects and wildlife from new 5G antennas should not be confused with proof of safety.
Other warnings come that 5G could drastically damage navigation for airplanes and ships, as well as set back weather prediction decades.
Goaded by demands that the commitment to expand wired access to the internet be honored, New York City has secured wired broadband to and through the premises for more than half a million previously underserved residents that now have wired access that provide among the fastest speeds in the nation of more than 1 gig a second.
The next stimulus package should contain billions of dollars to produce, distribute, install, build out, maintain and monitor municipal fiber-optic broadband cable around the nation. Given the undeniable importance of internet access to our society, it is critical that we provide universal access to a reliable backbone that speeds up transmission universally without compromising security, public safety or endangering the climate. Any gains in antenna efficiency will be swamped by massive growth in demand.
Until and unless a much safer, more cost-effective and less-energy intensive system can be produced, we should revise plans for continued expansion of the 5G albatross. Whatever our real differences with China, and they are not likely to be trivial, it is time for a reset on the rush to 5G.
Dr. Devra Davis, founder of Environmental Health Trust served as a Clinton Appointee from 1994-1999 and was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change team awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
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