The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts has commenced a parliament-first inquiry into 5G network technology.
The announcement follows months of public outcry from concerned citizens and community action groups over the rollout of 5G in Australia.
5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile technology, in line with the International Mobile Telecommunications-2020 (IMT-2020) Standard of the International Telecommunications Union and the associated releases of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
According to the official page, the committee will conduct research to:
- Investigate the capability, capacity and deployment of 5G;
- Understand the application of 5G, including use cases for enterprise and government.
Chairing the reviewing committee is Nationals MP Dr David Gillespie, alongside Deputy Chair, Labor MP Ed Husic and six committee members.
Interestingly, matters relating to national security are out of scope for this national inquiry.
In a media release, Dr Gillespie said “5G will transform the way we live and work, and provide opportunities for family life, industry and commerce” and the committee “want to hear about the opportunities and challenges of 5G”.
However, no date has been set for the committee to report back to the public.
The Australian government is also yet to formally respond to the announcement.
GOVERNMENT ON THE ROPES
Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, has assured Telstra that it is “backing high-speed 5G mobile network rollout plans” amid signs of a community backlash against the technology.
The government has promised a ‘stronger public stance’ over the technology’s safety.
Fletcher, who has been exposed as a former Director of telecommunications giant Optus, has met with executives for a demonstration of the high-speed 5G mobile networks several weeks ago, as the $42.6 billion telco continues to build the new infrastructure across the country.
A spokesman for Mr Fletcher declined to comment on the minister’s meeting with Telstra but said “the agency played an important role in providing authoritative advice to government and the community on matters of electromagnetic energy safety”.
This comes as growing groups of concerned citizens ramp up a campaign, which includes protests, council complaints, online petitions and flyers, against 5G technology and electromagnetic energy (EME) and radiation.
These national community action groups have formed to share information relating to 5G and to take action by hosting local events to connect with like-minded citizens.
The groups have staged protests in recent months across the country and have scheduled a number of protests and forums to oppose the rollout.
The government has been criticised for acting in the interests of telcos by some anti-5G groups, who are concerned the technology could lead to infertility and cancers.
Australia telecommunications companies are beginning to trial and introduce new systems ahead of a planned 2020 rollout, which is designed to “enable the next wave of productivity and innovation across different sectors of the Australian economy”.
The Department of Communications have detailed plans to support a timely rollout of 5G in Australia in 2020, spelling out the road map in their paper, 5G — Enabling the Future Economy.
Developed as part of an international digital transformation, 5G represents a significant leap from the capabilities of previous generations of wireless communications, introducing a range of technological possibilities that have many experts warning of potential health risks.
Australians have been expressing concerns about the dangers of 5G technology, and are backed by experts who have warned of the carcinogenic effects of EMF.
Thus far, Telstra have been leading the charge, introducing a new 5G capable smart phone and leading a charge to upgrade hundreds of existing telecommunications locations across the country.
In this push, telecommunications regulator ACMA has issued Telstra a formal warning for failing to adhere to rules on deploying mobile phone base stations across the country.
The additional installation of ‘smart cell’ boxes is directly related to Australia’s current rollout of smart city infrastructure across the country, which has also caused many concerns.
Researchers have warned that 5G capabilities will underpin and enhance the sophisticated apparatus of surveillance technologies used by Australian intelligence networks.
Individuals from the public and organisations have been invited to provide written submissions addressing the inquiries terms of reference by 1 November 2019.
Further information about making a submission to a parliamentary inquiry is available here.
PO Box 6021
Canberra, ACT, 2600
Phone: +61 2 6277 4386
Fax: +61 2 6277 4774
Govt initiates 5G technology inquiry | Innovation Aus
Inquiry into 5G in Australia | APH.gov.au
5G rollout set for 2020 in Australia | TOTT News
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