Since EE confirmed they’d be bringing their 5G network to Glastonbury this year, petitions opposing the move have cumulatively amassed over 5,000 signatures.
One of the petitions was covered by the BBC last week and there’s now people wandering about Worthy Farm convinced their headache is 5G’s fault and nothing to do with the 12 ciders they’ve had or the booming heatwave.
As much as I’d love to say I’m covered in 5G burns, I’ve just done a poor job with the suncream. It’s entirely my own fault and 5G is safe. Here’s why.
It’s not a ‘weapons-grade frequency’
Tinfoil aficionados like to cite 5G’s ‘weapons-grade frequency’ as a reason to be afraid. They’re talking about the 95Ghz waves used by the Active Denial System, a crowd control weapon which supposedly makes your skin feel unbearably hot without burning you or doing any lasting damage.
All the 5G in the UK uses the much lower ‘sub 6Ghz’ band already used by 3G, 4G, wifi and countless other things. EE’s Glastonbury network primarily uses the 3.5Ghz band for 5G, slightly higher than most 4G but a lower frequency than the wifi in your house.
Even if it was ‘weapons-grade’, that’s chill
That 95Ghz weapon is a crowd-control system. It uses such a high frequency because high frequencies are crap at going through stuff, so it can cause a heat sensation without going deep enough to actually burn your skin.
A lower frequency would be more likely to penetrate and burn your skin and would be more lethal if built into a weapon, so all this stuff about 5G bringing an onslaught of high-frequency death is properly flat Earth.
Anyone saying 5G is weapons grade has totally the wrong idea. If you’re really married to the analogy, I guess 5G is the rubber bullet while 4G is the shotgun round, but that’s silly because they’re both harmless anyway and even rubber bullets probably hurt loads.
Science knows it’s safe
Just because you can cobble together some scary quotes from ‘scientists’ that reckon it’s lethal doesn’t mean they know what they’re on about. Just like with flat Earth stuff, anti-vaccine crap or climate change denial, you always get some. Just ignore them.
There are thousands upon thousands of academics, scientists, researchers and technicians that know 5G is safe. For many of them it’ll be their life’s work. Don’t listen to the Facebook know it alls.
Simon Mann, Head of Radiation Dosimetry at Public Health England, told TheFestivals: “It is possible that there may be a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves when 5G is added to an existing telecommunications network or in a new area; however, the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and as such there should be no consequences for public health.”
It’s not untested
Untested? Not sufficiently tested? In who’s eyes? Just some bloke on Facebook.
Never mind the decades of research and development that’s gone into it, or the layers upon layers of regulatory approval and red tape.
If you’re at Glastonbury, you’re not a human guinea pig, we know exactly what electromagnetic waves do to people and unless you’re sat on top of a mast with your bollocks hanging over the antenna, it’s very little. You can spend half an hour reading about it here if you really want, but don’t, go have fun.
More antennas means less power, not more
Loads of these petitions reckon 5G will bring hundreds of extra antennas and that means way more radio waves, but the whole point of the extra antennas is to put out less radio waves.
Those white panels on phone masts usually have two or three big antennas behind them, blasting out in all directions. Some 5G (and 4G) panels have a big array of 64 tiny antennas inside them instead. With a bit of programming magic, these can send a focused beam of data in the direction of the phone asking for it rather than spread of the whole area.
This means less power and less radio waves are needed to do the same things, not more. We’ve even asked Public Health England to back us up on this, who told us: “Over the decades since the telecommunications networks were introduced there has been a general trend towards increasing numbers of smaller transmitters that individually provide services to smaller geographical areas and which have reducing radiated powers.”
We’ll be updating this article in the weeks ahead to debunk all the “but what about this? you’ve not mentioned it and it’s the most dangerous part of 5G” comments and emails we’ve had since this was published.