Why propaganda about 5G is misplaced

High-speed internet especially is increasingly becoming a tool for country branding.
High-speed internet especially is increasingly becoming a tool for country branding. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

In the past few weeks, I have been bombarded with several propaganda interpretations of the health risks supposedly posed by the 5th Generation (5G) telecommunications network.

In my view, the fear is more about the pace at which technology is changing than about health risks. Some of the videos being exchanged link 5G to the raging Covid-19 pandemic without providing any evidence. Others link it to some prophesies about the end of the world.

Not only do some people think 5G is dangerous, they actually think it is the cause of the coronavirus.

This is despite every scientist in the world who has actually inspected the coronavirus through a microscope and even sequenced its DNA having seen it for what it is : a biological virus that infects cells and can be transmitted among people.

In fact, the very low amounts of radiation that are emitted are defined as “non-ionizing” which means they have no impact on our bodies or cells, any more than background cosmic radiation does by bombarding us from space all the time.


It is very different to “ionizing’ radiation like that used in X-rays, which can be dangerous if you are exposed to them for long durations and very frequently.

Lab tests and real-life tests of existing 5G base stations and 5G mobile phones have shown they are safe beyond any doubt whatsoever. If you have trusted the scientists for the last 20 years and are willing to use 4G and wi-fi (and have probably benefitted from using it), you should trust 5G too (and look forward to benefitting from that too).

High-speed internet especially is increasingly becoming a tool for country branding. Every citizen has become dependent on it for greater productivity. Whether it is the passport you want from the Department of Immigration or it is taxes you want to file, the internet has become indispensable.

It is the oxygen that keeps us going in these tough times otherwise economies would have collapsed.

Unfortunately, half of the world has no access to the internet. But the strange thing is that some people who are fortunate enough to have access want to undermine its development by spreading speculative propaganda.

It is not difficult to remember that when 4G was introduced the experience was phenomenal. The download speed was excellent.

It is because of fast downloads that we can now use the same to access educational content in video formats. We can interactively teach using the internet or interact with our loved ones thousands of miles away. We can enjoy watching the movies we want anytime or learn about a new recipe from YouTube.

With increasing video content and more users, 4G is beginning to slow down thus there will be need to bring a high-speed connectivity. Theoretically, 4G, in its delivery, tops at 100 megabits per second (Mbps).

Tech companies are promising that 5G can top out at 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). In other words, 5G is a hundred times faster than the current 4G technology.

We need it now in every corner of the country to help students learn in times of the global pandemic. The whole industry is working around the clock right now to keep vital internet services going. How would the health, education, emergency services, government and businesses keep running without it?

5G is going to have innumerable benefits and it is totally safe. Even these peddlers of doom will not have their voices heard if there was no Internet.

I struggle to believe, especially at this time when we are all depending on the internet more than ever to sustain our economies. It defeats logic when someone sits down to contrive a lie and undermine the freedom of others to enjoy the latest invention.

It is akin to lowering our oxygen intake, which makes us more lethargic and slower at moving even though we are in the process of running a race.

There will always be people who abuse the freedom of speech to propagate lies for their own satisfaction.

Scientists have dismissed their propaganda. Let’s welcome 5G and use it for our own competitiveness and perhaps leapfrog our way into the future.