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Expert panel to review information on 5G

Next generation: the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda is seeking public feedback on 5G wireless network technology (Photograph by F. Muhammad/Pixabay)

An international, independent advisory panel will review information on 5G to assist the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda decide on the suitability of the broadband mobile network technology for the island.

Fifth Generation wireless networks are currently not allowed in Bermuda, although devices capable of using 5G, such as the Apple iPhone 12, can be bought locally.

The RA is gathering feedback from the public on radiofrequency and 5G safety during a consultation period that started on October 23 and has been extended to end on December 7.

5G has attracted debate among those keen to embrace faster data speeds, and those worried about alleged health impacts from its use of higher frequency microwaves than previous mobile networks.

As part of its 5G consultation, the RA will hear from a six-person independent advisory panel.

Bermuda’s Carika Weldon and Glenn Blakeney are on the panel, alongside experts from the United States, Australia and Canada. The panel will review and consider responses to the RA’s public consultation document, including feedback from an online public information gathering session on November 19. The panel will make recommendations to the RA’s commissioners.

The consultation document is available on the RA website, and it includes five questions, including whether the US Federal Communications Commission standards on radiofrequency exposure are appropriate for Bermuda; should there be a real-time, publicly accessible radiofrequency field intensity monitoring network on the island; and should millimetre-wave networks and small-cell technologies be restricted or prohibited in Bermuda.

Dr Weldon, who leads the Bermuda Government’s on-island Covid-19 testing facilities, the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, and Mr Blakeney, chief executive officer of Inter-Island Communications Ltd, will be joined on the advisory panel by Rodney Croft, of Australia; Jeffery Herd, of the US; and Canada’s Raafat Mansour and James Thain.

Dr Croft is professor of health psychology at the School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Australia. Dr Herd is the leader of the RF Technology Group at Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts. Dr Mansour is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. Mr Thain is chief technology officer for Fan Demand, in Toronto, Ontario.

The RA has a temporary moratorium on the deployment for 5G mobile technology for all its existing and new licence holders. At the conclusion of the consultation process the Authority will decide whether to extend, modify or remove the moratorium; make a general determination on new guidelines; consider whether a publicly accessible national RF field intensity monitoring network should be deployed; and consider of fees should be levied on spectrum users for the development and maintenance of the monitoring network.

The RA intends to issue a final report, decision and order on 5G by February 1.

Click on Related Media to view a PDF of the RA’s public consultation document. It can also be viewed at the Authority’s website at www.ra.bm

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Published November 06, 2020 at 8:03 am (Updated November 05, 2020 at 8:04 pm)

Expert panel to review information on 5G

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