Introduction

Today as I write (July 8, 2019), there is a promo for a segment to be screened on TVNZ’s programme Fair Go tonight about the plight of a couple living in rural New Zealand who have had a massive cellular phone tower erected close to their home. 

They are not happy about it, and no wonder, as it is an eyesore that ruins their peaceful bucolic views – and they reportedly had no say over the tower’s placement even though there is evidence that there are potential health risks for people (and livestock) living close to cellular infrastructure. [1]

As we are all aware cellular phone towers are currently proliferating in New Zealand with no end in sight.

There are four major factors driving the massive roll out of this wireless infrastructure by telecommunications companies:

  1. The telecommunications companies that want to introduce 5G into NZ (Spark, Vodafone and 2Degrees) plan to use the 4G system as a “control layer” for 5G. See: https://www.5g.org.nz/2018/10/11/facts-about-5g-in-nz/
  2. The government did not want to spend money on fibre in a lot of rural areas (even though this would allow safe and fast access to the internet in this part of NZ) but decided to allow the use of cellular phone towers as part of its Rural Broadband Initiative.
  3. Some telecommunications companies are aggressively marketing wireless home phone systems in NZ towns and cities.  When people consequently choose to move from the safe copper system to a “wireless” home phone that connects to the cellular phone network, more cellular phone towers will have to be built (because each tower can handle only a certain number of  connections at a time). (See: http://www.saveourlandlines.nz/news/why-it-may-not-be-such-a-good-idea-to-take-up-the-offer-of-a-wireless-landline-phone-system/ )
  4. Telecommunications companies are also aggressively marketing “fixed wireless” internet systems to the public.  These “fixed wireless” systems transmit data via the 4G cellular/mobile phone system.  They are being marketed even in parts of New Zealand where people can access perfectly good internet services via the copper phone network and/or via the fibre system.

If you don’t want to see more cellular phone towers in New Zealand, please be part of the solution and DON’T use fixed wireless internet services.

The more people who sign up to fixed wireless internet systems, the more cellular phone towers will need to be built to ensure that there is enough capacity in the 4G system to maintain all the internet connections (in addition the calls, texts. etc. that are relayed via the local cellular infrastructure).

The more cellular phone towers that are built in NZ, the more people will be exposed to the health risks from having to live near this wireless infrastructure. These risks may include increased risk of cancer. (https://www.avaate.org/IMG/pdf/ESTUDIO_BRASIL_BrazilCellTowerStudy.pdf)

In the vast majority of cases in which new cellular/mobile phone infrastructure is erected in NZ, people living or working nearby have had no say about whether or not they want to have infrastructure that emits potentially carcinogenic (cancer-causing) radiation [3] near their homes or businesses. (https://www.5g.org.nz/2018/10/09/5g-in-nz-the-legal-and-regulatory-situation/ )

Please help reduce the proliferation of cellular phone towers in NZ by choosing copper or fibre based internet services

If you live in a town or city* where you have access to internet services via the copper or fibre system, please do use these services (rather than choose fixed wireless). 

This is a practical choice you can make to help yourself, your family and your community enjoy a healthier environment – because with the current pathetic state of regulation of wireless infrastructure in NZ, there is currently NOTHING to stop a telecommunications company from plonking a cellular phone tower on the grass verge outside YOUR home, if the company so felt like it. [2]

*NB: We realise that for many people in rural NZ, there is no fibre and that in some parts of rural NZ the copper system does not provide decent internet access. If you live in rural NZ, please consider working within any rural organisations to which you may belong to promote improved hardwired internet services in rural areas. This would obviate the need for massive, ugly towers that broadcast pulsed microwave radiation over long distances.

References

[1] https://www.5g.org.nz/2019/07/05/biological-effects-of-living-near-a-cell-phone-tower/

[2] https://www.5g.org.nz/2018/10/09/5g-in-nz-the-legal-and-regulatory-situation/

[3] Microwave radiation was classified as “possible carcinogen” (Class 2B) in 2011 https://microwavenews.com/short-takes-archive/iarc-publishes-rf-cancer-review  Subsequent research suggests that this form of radiation should be reclassified as a proven carcinogen (cancer causing agent). https://www.emfacts.com/2017/08/cancer-expert-declares-cell-phone-and-wireless-radiation-as-carcinogenic-to-humans/

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