The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has debunked rumours circulating on social media that 5G trials are to blame for the latest coronavirus outbreak. Recently, after the Central Government gave permission to Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to conduct trials of 5G technology in India, DoT has received information and several complaints that some false messages are being spread on different social media sites alleging that the testing of 5G cell towers is the source of the second wave of coronavirus.
According to a press statement released by the DoT, these messages are misleading and incorrect. ‘’The general public is hereby informed that there is no connection between 5G technologies and the spread of COVID-19, and they are advised not to be misguided by misleading information and rumours spread in this matter.’’
Mobile towers emit non-ionizing radio waves with very minuscule power levels that are incapable of harming living cells, including humans. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has set exposure limits for the Radio Frequency Field (i.e. Base Station Emissions) that are ten times stringent than the safe limits set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) that are recommended by the World Health Organization(WHO).
Initiatives taken by DoT
DoT has a well-structured process so that TSPs strictly adhere to these prescribed norms. However, any citizen having any apprehension about any mobile tower emitting radio waves beyond the safe limit prescribed by the department, a request for EMF measurements/testing can be made on the Tarang Sanchar portal at https://tarangsanchar.gov.in/emfportal.
To assuage public concern about the health impacts of EMF(Electro-Magnetic Frequency) emissions from cell towers, the Department of Telecommunications has implemented a number of initiatives to raise public consciousness about EMF radiation, including a nationwide awareness campaign, by circulating pamphlets, information brochures and doing advertising on various other platforms related to EMF-concerns.
The Department’s field divisions have also been holding public awareness activities at the grassroots level to raise awareness about the scientific evidence on the health impacts of EMF emissions from cell towers.
What is 5G?
The fifth-generation mobile network is referred to as 5G. After 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks, it is a new international broadband standard. 5G allows for the creation of novel access that facilitates features to link everything be it machines, objects, or various other gadgets.
Why is 5G important for India?
-In addition to increasing the substantial network efficiency across previous generations, 5G is anticipated to bring new infrastructure dimensions beyond conventional voice and data through enabling technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Augmented Reality(AR) / Virtual Reality (VR) and others.
-VR could go far beyond sports, with people being able to use their VR headsets to attend sporting activities and other festivals by recording real-time encounters.
In the Indian context, 5G has immense potential in the agriculture sector. 5G enables smart farming, rather than treating an entire field the same, farmers can give each plant row exactly what it precisely needs. 5G enables machine-to-machine connectivity allowing computers to be operated from a single location and data to be transmitted in real-time. Drones equipped with 5G can monitor weeds and pests in the near future, allowing for site-specific treatments.
5G enabled technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) have the capability to augment the healthcare system in India. Online consultations boosting virtual doctor-patient interactions with fast data speeds are expected to reduce the long waiting time for patients.
India, right now is at the cusp of a digital revolution powered by Increased broadband and internet coverage, exponential data uptake, and a growing trend of technology adoption in various sectors. Here, the adoption of 5G networks will play a critical role in transforming India into a global economy, providing an unprecedented opportunity in competing with the global market.