The Swiss Federal Communication Commission has recently auctioned off its frequencies to the three main telecommunications operators in Switzerland: Swisscom, Sunrise and Orange for the sum of $1.1 billion. This will pave the way for the use of modern mobile technologies such as LTE (Long Term Evolution), better known as “4G”. This new technology is the fourth generation of wireless communication that would provide a comprehensive and secure broadband system for laptop computers’ wireless modems, smart phones and other cellular devices and support ultra-broadband Internet access, gaming service, streamed multimedia and other services. (Ref. Tribune de Genève article.)
According to Tracey-Lee Dorny, Chairperson of the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Foundation of South Africa, 4G technology has higher penetration levels into buildings and “therefore into our bodies”. 4G is being rolled out in order to sell a whole new generation of wireless gadgets to consumers. She believes that the testing of 4G is “scorching” trees in her garden and the surrounding area and is the source of growing reports of illnesses, including tinnitus, headaches, shooting pains, nausea and dizziness in the suburbs of Johannesburg where the trials are being conducted. (Ref. "Cellphone Masts Damaging our Brains?")
In 2011, the health and environmental protection ministries of Israel opposed the introduction of 4G technology because they believe radiation emissions are problematic for public health. “The new technology is likely to increase the public’s overall exposure to radiation, and therefore, further study of the need and justification for this technology is required”, states an article from Haaretz.com. Israel will most likely also vote into law a requirement for all mobile phones sold in the country to bear a health-hazard label.
4G technology can transmit information 1,000 times faster than existing cellular technology. “That requires a higher power output by each transponder, and therefore, there will be an increase in radiation as well, unless a transmission station is set up in every house,” said Dr. Stelian Gelberg, head of the Environmental Protection Ministry’s radiation and noise department. He says public hearings are needed to examine the significance of and justification for using this technology. For example, “it might be justified if it improved doctors’ access to vital medical information, but not if it merely enabled someone to watch a popular television show on their cell phone,” said Dr. Gelberg.
The Israeli Ministry plans to propose that fiber-optic networks be used to transmit data for 4G systems instead of building additional transponders or combine transponders and fiber-optic networks which would also reduce exposure to hazardous radiation. Let’s hope that the Swiss telecoms operators opt for fiber-optic networks for 4-G systems.
by Meris Michaels
by Meris Michaels