Let's talk about 5G

I’m doing some research for a blog I’m thinking about writing. What’s your opinion about 5G. What’s the big deal & why does it matter? Also, tell me some facts or myths which I may not have heard of.

I think 5G is fantastic. It really serves as a great equaliser. Internet infrastructure via traditional lines is hugely expensive, but 4g isn’t fast enough for businesses to be comprehensively built off. It could be a great way to level up countries by providing fast data to rural regions, or to level up developing nations.
Any claims about health are wildly inaccurate often by armchair scientists. All the data suggests that there is 0 negative effects to health. Light is a spectrum, so you have radiowaves passing through you every second of the day, and have done since the dawn of time. For example, if you ever tune a radio set to the point where you hear crackling, what you are actually hearing is background radiation from the big bang that has always been there. Microwaves are only harmful at very specific frequencies which happen to correspond to the resonant frequency of water, then higher energy light is what you see with, before you get to higher energy parts of the spectrum like UV, X-ray and gamma. These can be dangerous, but communication towers use lower energy parts of the spectrum with even less energy than visible light.
It is so important to challenge the myths surrounding 5g as it not only is an extremely privileged thing to do, because many people here have broadband, but also incorrect and damaging to growth in the economy.

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My impression is that 5G is a big deal in the USA in part because the three major carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) look at 5G fixed-wireless as a way to sell broadband Internet service to rural homes.

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@kirkmahoneyphd Has there been ANY backlash in the US over 5G. Any negative reactions Any 5G skepticism? I read a few articles about towns in Northern California which have passed ordinances to curb 5G deployment, explicitly because of health concerns , but I don’t know how mainstream that is. Perhaps you can fill me in.

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@rhysjones If I remember correctly, I believe you’re from the UK (I recall you mentioning something ) I’ve read about some vandalism incidents in the spring of last year. Is there any backlash? Any 5G skepticism?

I, too, have read a few articles about U.S.-based backlash to 5G, but I have noticed more such articles about Europe-based backlash to 5G. My impression is that most Americans do not have health concerns about 5G.

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@kirkmahoneyphd I’ve noticed that too & I am wondering WHY that is. I currently live in Poland, but I’m originally from the US. I’m curious if people are just more conspiratorial or skeptical by nature in Europe. The government of Belgium even blocked some 5G infrastructure from being built because they didn’t want their citizens to be “guinea pigs” What is the cause of such skepticism? That’s what I’m really curious about.

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I am indeed from the UK! Its very very fringe, tends to get reported because its so unusual. My impression is that the scepticism is also much less here than on the mainland. Most people are ambivalent to the technology, as with almost all technology, and those that are not are in favour. I also have many friends who say in the US that many have concerns, not with the technology but the hardware companies that provide it, however, I think that was the legacy of the fortunately long gone Trump. However, this is in rural Wisconsin, its likely different in the big cities.

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@rhysjones Thanks for the feedback. Like I mentioned in my response to @kirkmahoneyphd, I’m originally from the US, but now I live in Poland & I, too, noticed this weird skepticism about 5G. While I do see some reports out of the US which outline 5G hesitancy, most of the hardcore pushback is coming from Europe. (yes, the mainland- like you mentioned.) I am curious why this is? Last year, when the pandemic was raging all over the continent, the amount of stories that I saw of various conspiracy theories, made my head spin. Any thoughts why that is?

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Honestly, I am not sure. There was indeed a dizzying amount of conspiracy theories in western Europe during the pandemic. Obviously there was virus deniers everywhere, and anti-lockdowners but the number seemed excessively high, I walked through one of the protests in London and there was at most a couple hundred people, mostly agreeing that the pandemic was bad but the economic fallout was worse, my friends in France and Germany, on the other hand, told me of massive nationwide protests. However true that may be I don’t know. I do wonder if there is just general dissatisfaction in a lot of europe with the way of things. You have people like Le Pen, AfD, and so on in many western countries even before the pandemic. Honestly, the increasing tension is unbearable often. Though not wholly to blame, it is one of my reasons for getting away from social media platforms. I think they do drive polarisation, its not just a bi-product but a business model, polarisation sells and all. Don’t get me wrong, rampant economic inequalities, rising house prices, and a collapse in the growth of wages has a large part to play as well, but I think social media acts as a massive accelerator. Plus all that business about fake-news etc. Why it didn’t happen to the same extent elsewhere I am not sure though, what are your thoughts?

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Not really an answer to the question, but I did see a nice documentary about Huawei. After seeing that I understood why in America there was such an effort to spread 5G misinformation. Their campus is gorgeous. The tech they are developing, especially the 5G-connected medical devices, look like something out of science fiction.

In France things might get interesting as there is an election year coming up.

No personal opinion on the matter.

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@Bobby_Hiltz Do you happen to have a link to that documentary? Or at least the name of it. I would be interested in seeing it.

I’ve been trying to find it since January. I found it here originally: https://teddit.net/r/Documentaries/comments/kq2kqc/huawei_a_global_force_high_tech_giant_and/ but it looks like the video is private now. It was a DW documentary. Their YT channel has a few others specifically about 5G. I hope that it wasn’t removed because of complaints from any company. It was rather complimentary.

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Thanks. I really like DW Documentaries. I will look for it. I have DW in my cable line-up so hopefully it will re-air.

Will Mudita work on 5G?

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I think, if anything, you have it backwards. The U.S. is so completely saturated with conspiracy hypotheses (let’s not give them more credence than they merit by labelling them “theories”, eh?) that 5G scepticism just one more raindrop in a storm. It’s certainly there in the U.S., but it’s easy to overlook next to QAnon and birtherism and lizard people and all that. (It’s not directly relevant to 5G, but for an interesting tour of the U.S.'s conspiratorial history, you might want to check out Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen; he’s given a couple of book talks that you can find on YouTube if you don’t want to commit to reading the book.)

The prevalent conspiracy thinking in the E.U. pretty much all seems to be essentially derived from the naturalistic fallacy. The most pervasive thing is the completely mainstream, completely unjustified attitude toward GMO crops.

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And how! You hit the nail on the head. I thought I was just out of the loop or something. For me, North America, and particularly the States, has the most conspiracies. I moved to France about 15 years ago and it is certainly true what you say about GMOs as well!

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The most frustrating thing about it is that it’s so completely at odds with the heightened environmentalism that I generally love about Europe. When employed responsibly, GMO crops are one of the very best tools we have, both for reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment and for allowing us to feed the planet in the face of climate change. Moreover, the unfounded hysteria about the core concept of GMOs prevents the E.U. from being able to take nuanced policy positions that address the very real problems with the technology’s misuse.

But we digress…

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5G covers many concepts. It deals with such diverse things as extremely high bit rates to single users and Internet of Things (IoT), which are extreme quantities of devices with a relatively low bit rate. (I prefer the term bit rate over bandwidth, because it is technically more correct.)

Now, speaking of bit rate and quoting Wikipedia:

The main advantage of the new networks is that they will have greater bandwidth, giving higher download speeds,[2] eventually up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbit/s).

My question is, which single person needs 10 Gbit/s?

It almost sounds inhuman to deal with so much information at a time; and perhaps that is exactly what it is. The main purpose of 5G (and 6G) will be supporting autonomous vehicles. That is: self-driving cars and robots!

The other aspect of huge numbers of connected devices is even more pervasive. Consumer goods will come with their own already functioning communications chip to "phone home."

Gone are the days where the end consumer will have to enter the details of his/her WLAN for a “smart device” to connect to the Internet. New consumer goods will connect directly over 5G without the need for a SIM card and without any intervention (or conscious approval) by the end consumer.

Don’t believe me? Well, your government already knows where your new car with GPS is driving, thanks to eCall. Here is an example video of French police investigators geolocalising a car. Few people know you can actually object to this, but your car dealer will not tell. A similar systems exists in America. This is the true reason why car manufacturers are running out of chips. Your new car is your next smartphone on wheels!

Also your fridge will literally spy on you. Your food habits will eventually end up with your life insurance company etc. In France, they are already selling connected kitchen mixers/robots. They had a huge success during the lockdown.

So yes, CYBERPUNK IS NOW !!!
…where huge oligopolistic tech companies are dominating a high tech — low life world of surveillance capitalism. Sorry for sharing my pessimism… Here is an augmented reality glimpse of the nearby future.

P.S.: Believe it or not; but the tiny Kingdom of Belgium counts 6 governments with in total more ministers than the whole People’s Republic of China. It was only the government of Brussels that voted a decree to limit the field strength of base stations. This had the perverse effect that eventually more low power base stations were erected than if the power were not so severely restricted.

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@aprilhall Thanks for your question. Mudita Pure does not have internet access, so it shouldn’t have any impact on the phone’s function.