I believe it is vital that the UK has the digital infrastructure it needs to compete and grow in the modern economy. The Government is committed to making the UK a world leader in 5G and to ensure that the majority of the population have access to a 5G signal by 2027.
The Government is guided by Public Health England’s (PHE) independence advice on radio waves, which is clear that exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is not new and there is no credible evidence of an impact of 5G on public health.
I understand that existing technical standards, which take into account international guidelines and research on non-ionizing radiation, are expected to be followed throughout the development of 5G products and networks. I am assured that as 5G continues to develop, the Government will work with PHE to monitor available evidence and take any necessary action. You can find more information here: https://www.mobileuk.org/5g-and-health
We should be embracing the opportunities that 5G could offer to North Devon. Dorset have identified this and are acting to enhance their connectivity.
Dorset are one of only six areas in the UK to benefit from the first tranche of the government’s £5bn Project Gigabit . This will bring ultra-fast broadband to the most rural and hard to reach parts of the county.
The ground-breaking 5G RuralDorset project continues to receive recognition, with the government announcing a new partnership between 5G RuralDorset and Qualcomm – the largest manufacturer of chips in the world. This partnership will help revolutionise the agriculture sector, including developing a 5G chip to power the first ever 5G-ready, crop-growing robots.
We in Devon should be looking to develop and take advantage of 5G here. While we are making great strides in Fibre to the Premises, we must accept that not only are some properties will be difficult to reach, but 5G could give us so much more.
We could be looking at 5G smart junctions, an AI-based traffic signal optimisation system, safer and helping to provide smoother traffic that recognises low carbon public transport and pedestrians with mobility issues.
In agriculture, wireless sensors connected through 5G could monitor field conditions and detect when crops need watering, pesticides, or fertilizer. It could help with tracking livestock and guiding agricultural drones and self-driving tractors.
In health, 5G can support telemedicine by allowing large amounts of data to be transmitted quickly. With higher network capacity, many users could be active simultaneously without overloading the network. Were we have urgent, sensitive data, the connection cannot function with interruptions like we see with 4G and other wireless technologies.
While some of the applications may seem farfetched, we have to look at how far technology has come over the years. Many people now run their household, their finances, their business their social life through their mobile phone.
In the 20th Century we built our towns, high streets, homes and businesses based on car access. In the 21st century we need to create our future homes and workplaces based around the mobile phone. We in rural Devon and North Devon need to embrace the digital future and not be left behind by our urban friends.