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5G radiation no worse than microwaves or baby monitors: Australian telcos

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The electromagnetic energy (EME) produced as a result of using 5G is much the same as many household items, Australia’s two largest telcos have said.

The pair have added that the use of small cells is also not a cause for concern.

“EME in the home from mobile networks is typically below those emitted by standard household devices such as a microwave oven or baby monitor,” Optus wrote in a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications Inquiry into 5G.

“Some of these concerns are being fuelled by false and alarmist claims from unreliable sources. Both industry and government need to work harder to counter any misinformation and ensure that the community is armed with the facts to enable it to embrace the technology that will bring so many benefits to people’s lives.”

Testifying to the committee last week, Telstra said small cells provide faster connections and better response times at lower EME levels.

“Leading up to the public launch of 5G with the 3.5GHz network…. What we found again was that they were getting a much faster response time, because the network was quicker and you could deliver the signal quicker,” Telstra principal of 5G EME strategy Mike Wood said.

“That meant that the signal was lower and the EME levels were lower — in fact, they were very similar to 3G, 4G and WiFi.”

Echoing the thoughts on EME levels being similar to household items, Wood said 5G EME was similar to walkie-talkies, WiFi hotspots, key tags, and remote controls.

“What we find is that because 5G’s very efficient, it typically runs at a lower level than an everyday device in your house like a baby monitor or a microwave oven,” he said.

“When we’ve done our tests on our 5G network, they’re typically 1,000 to 10,000 times less than what we get from other devices. So when you add all of that up together, it’s all very low in terms of total emission. But you’re finding that 5G is in fact a lot lower than many other devices we use in our everyday lives.”

See also: Telstra chair likens 5G health truthers to anti-vaccination and Flat Earth movements

Wood added there is no evidence for cancer or non-thermal effects from radio frequency EME.

“There’s some evidence for biological effects, but none of these are non-adverse,” Wood told the committee.

“So they’ve really looked at all of the research they need to set a safety standard, and in summary what they said is that, if you follow the guidelines, they’re protective of all people, including children.”

On the issue of governmental revenue raising from its upcoming spectrum sale, Optus said it would be wrong of government to view it as a cash cow, as every dollar spent on spectrum is not used on creating networks.

“Critically, in order to achieve the coverage and deployment required, 5G networks will require significant amounts of spectrum,” the Singaporean-owned telco wrote.

“Government risks stifling the deployment of 5G networks … if it focuses too heavily on the money obtained through allocations rather than on the economic (not to mention social) value created by the use of the spectrum.”

Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) told Senate Estimates that spectrum sales should be less concerned about making money from spectrum and more concerned about providing the best value for consumers.

“Our view at the ACCC has always been we’re not so much concerned with the money raised from spectrum; we just want to make sure the spectrum can go to players so that they can operate in the market and be competitive in the market,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said at the time after Labor questioned the dollar figure the spectrum was sold for.

Also speaking last week, the Queensland Water Directorate as well as Seqwater noted a number of issues they have with telco equipment located on their water towers, including not being able to switch off equipment in emergencies without violating the Federal Criminal Code.

“It’s very hard when we’ve got a lot of overcrowding on some of these towers and we have a number of unknowns and we cannot locate the owners,” Seqwater legal counsel Carmel Serratore said.

“In particular, in circumstances where carriers have actually plugged into our main switchboard and we can’t do isolations, it can become problematic in emergencies and things like that. I understand it comes from the old Criminal Code, and the legislation is probably a bit out of date.”

In its submission, Seqwater called for a process whereby it should be able to remove unknown equipment after “genuine efforts” have been made to locate the owner, as well as notifying ACMA.

Queensland Water Directorate CEO David Cameron pointed out the issue the mobile equipment can have on maintenance of water assets.

“It’s ironic. At the end of the day, both are essential services when you’re dealing with cyclones or major events or whatever it might be,” he said.

“But at those times, when things get hectic, they can almost be competing services, if you can’t manage the power issues for the telecommunications and you can’t fix a hole in a reservoir roof.”

In an earlier submission to the committee, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) said the use of higher frequencies in 5G does not mean higher exposure levels.

“Current research indicates that there is no established evidence for health effects from radio waves used in mobile telecommunications. This includes the upcoming roll-out of the 5G network. ARPANSA’s assessment is that 5G is safe,” the agency said.

If exposed to energy levels 50 times higher than the Australian standard, heating of tissue can occur, such as when welding or exposed to AM radio towers, but that is why safety precautions are taken, ARPANSA said.

The submission also reiterated the scientific fact that radio waves are non-ionising, and cannot break chemical bonds that could lead to DNA damage.

ARPANSA struck out at bogus science circulated online as not having balance, cherry-picking data, and not taking a weight of evidence approach.

“No single scientific study, considered in isolation, will provide a meaningful answer to the question of whether or not radio waves can cause (or contribute to) adverse health effects in people, animals or the environment,” the submission said.

Related Coverage

Global 5G population to hit 2.6B in 2025: Ericsson

Some 65% of the world’s population will have 5G coverage by end-2025, which networks will handle 45% of all mobile data traffic.

Telstra seeing one in four Android handsets sold being 5G capable

Australia’s incumbent telco also turns on 5G for 15 more regional centres in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland.

South Korea to double 5G spectrum by 2026

South Korea has currently allocated 2,680MHz for 5G use but aims to add up to another 2,640MHz by 2026.

IDC: Smartphone sales to surge in 2020 due to China’s push into 5G (TechRepublic)

Three years of declining smartphone sales are expected to reverse next year as consumers buy into the 5G market.

How to navigate cybersecurity in a 5G world (TechRepublic)

With 5G comes a larger attack surface and more devices accessing the network. Companies must ramp up security strategies to stay protected, an AT&T Cybersecurity report finds.



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A longer Land Rover Defender called the 130 is coming

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The Land Rover Defender returned to the US in recent months and has proven to be a popular SUV for many buyers. Currently, the vehicle can be had in two-door and a longer four-door version known as the Defender 110. Many buyers have been clamoring for something with more space in the third row, and Land Rover is set to deliver.

A new Defender 130 is on the way, according to a recent report. The 130 will have 14 extra inches of body, giving it a much more usable third-row seat. The optional third row in the 110 is only fit for smaller children. The longer Defender could mean a third row suitable for actual adults.

The 130 will be targeted at buyers in the US, China, and the Middle East. The chassis for the 130 will be the same with the same wheelbase as the Defender 110. However, the vehicle will have an overall length of 201 inches. While more space inside the Defender 130 is exciting, even more exciting was the recent announcement of a new V-8 engine option for the Defender in 2022.

Land Rover is offering a supercharged V-8 engine under the hood. The downside to putting the V-8 engine in the vehicle is that the price jumps up significantly. For 2022 the Defender 90 V-8 (pictured) starts at $97,200, with the Defender 110 V-8 starting at $100,400.

No matter which version you purchase, they get the same 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 that makes 518 horsepower and 461 pound-foot of torque. Land Rover says the Defender 90 V8 will reach 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and 149 mph given enough road. Both six-cylinder and four-cylinder engines remain options.

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Ford issues a recall on a small number of delivered Mustang Mach-E EVs

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Ford has announced that it is issuing a safety recall on some of its Mustang Mach-E EVs delivered to customers. Ford says the recall impacts fewer than 75 customers who have already taken delivery of their electric vehicles. Ford says that during checks it performs to deliver high levels of quality and customer satisfaction, it discovered some of the vehicles could have subframe bolts that a supplier did not tighten to specification.

Ford says that the issue means impacted vehicles don’t meet its standards, but it is unaware of any accidents or injuries related to the condition. Ford says that 94 percent of the 1258 total impacted vehicles in the US and 90 in Canada will be serviced before they are delivered to customers. Dealers are inspecting subframe bolts and will tighten them as necessary.

For the 75 owners who have taken delivery of their vehicles, notifications will begin going out to them the week of March 22. Ford has given the recall reference number 21S09. The Mustang Mach-E is a very important vehicle for Ford. As its first real entry into the fully electric vehicle market, it’s critical that the vehicle is successful and delivers high-quality for buyers.

This recall isn’t the first issue that Ford has had with the Mach-E. In January, the automaker confirmed that it was delaying the delivery of hundreds of vehicles while it performed additional quality checks. Exactly what those quality checks were looking at is unknown. The automaker delivered a small number of Mach-Es late in 2020, and speculation was that owners had discovered some issues that needed to be addressed.

Ford seems to have learned a valuable lesson in launching high-profile vehicles with significant issues from the get-go. The automaker launched the all-new Explorer and took a beating over substantial problems with many of the cars.

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This Bugatti Divo Lady Bug’s geometric paint job is truly one-of-a-kind

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The Bugatti Divo is a Chiron for the racetrack, but this Lady Bug version with its diamond-shaped fading patterns is best appreciated while the car is stationary. As if the Divo is not outrageous enough, one lucky customer in America wants to push the boundaries further. And as expected, Bugatti pulled it off, although it took quite a while to iron the challenges of creating an exclusive, one-off Lady Bug paint job.

“Every Bugatti Divo is one of a kind. With the custom-made ‘Lady Bug,’ Bugatti has demonstrated the full range of its customization expertise,” said Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. The car really demonstrates what the marque is capable of in terms of creativity and craftsmanship.”

Creating Lady Bug’s geometric-dynamic algorithmic fading pattern seems easy on paper. Given the Divo’s three-dimensional sculpted body, the 2D digital patterns became distorted upon application to the car’s body, which is not good enough if you’re paying upwards of $5-million for a track-ready version of the Bugatti Chiron.

“The Lady Bug was an exceptional challenge and, at the same time, an unforgettable experience. Due to the nature of the project, where a 2D graphic was applied to a 3D sculpture, we were close to giving up,” said Jörg Grumer, Head of Color & Trim at Bugatti Design. “However, it is our profound conviction that we should never give up and that our foremost motivation should always be to make the impossible possible for the customer.”

The entire project took two years to complete as Bugatti CAD modelers simulated and created a diamond pattern design with around 1,600 individual diamonds in six-meter long transfer films. Each diamond (yes, all 1,600 of them) is checked and realigned in the body to rule out any distortions.

The designers spent countless hours rehearsing the application procedure on two test vehicles before the moment of truth.

“Every maneuver had to be exactly right in this painstaking task; therefore, we decided to do another rehearsal before the final stage of work. Because there could only be one attempt on the customer’s car, and that had to be perfect,” said Dirk Hinze, an expert in customization and surfaces at Bugatti.

The final step is applying the paint finish before painstakingly peeling away each diamond. The base color, Customer Special Red, is contrasted with graphite and clear coat to invert the pattern. According to Bugatti, it took the paintwork artist two weeks to sand, smooth, check, retouch, and re-sand every millimeter of the body surface.

The result is a one-of-a-kind Bugatti Divo Lady Bug, the only one in existence. It has a standard 8.0-liter W16 engine pumping out 1,479 horsepower. Since the Divo weighs less and has more downforce than a regular Chiron, it goes around the Nardo handling circuit a full eight seconds faster than the former.

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