Australian Government guidance on the Optus data breach and the Medibank Private Limited and AHM cyber incident.

Find out about the safety of telecommunications infrastructure near your home

In 2022, telecommunication and digital connectivity are important parts of everyday life and it’s hard to imagine a world without communications technologies as we know them today.

Our experiences through the pandemic meant access to quality and reliable telecommunications services is more important than ever, keeping us connected with family and friends, and enabling many of us to learn and work from home.  

While our fixed line internet services stood up well to the pandemic, it has been just as important for telecommunications companies to expand and improve their mobile networks to support our increasing need for digital connectivity.

To make this happen, telecommunications companies often need to install new equipment or deploy new infrastructure in our communities so the services can provide effective coverage and capacity where and when we need it.

It is understandable some people are concerned about the electromagnetic energy (EME) emitted by telecommunications infrastructure, particularly when it is installed nearby in our local communities.

The Australian Government strictly regulates EME emissions to protect the health and safety of all members of the public, while allowing the community to benefit from modern telecommunications.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) provides advice to the Australian Government on radiation protection as an independent Government agency that is not affiliated with, or unduly influenced by, the telecommunications industry. In 2021, ARPANSA updated its Standard for Limiting Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields – 100 kHz to 300 GHz (2021) (the Standard), based on the most up-to-date Australian and international peer-reviewed research into EME.

The Standard protects people of all ages and health status against all known adverse health effects from exposure to EME by specifying strict safety limits for exposure levels with which telecommunications services must comply, this includes 5G.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) sets and actively monitors rules for telecommunications companies to follow based on ARPANSA’s Standard so EME is kept at safe levels. In Australia, all telecommunications infrastructure and equipment must comply with these rules and a series of sanctions can be imposed if these rules aren’t followed.

With these measures in place to ensure that EME exposures from telecommunications infrastructure are below the safety limits, there is no extra safety achieved by requiring transmitters to be located any particular distance from residential areas.

So if there is telecommunications infrastructure near you, not only will you be able to access more reliable connectivity but also find comfort in knowing that the technology making that connection possible is researched, regulated and safe.

Find out more at www.eme.gov.au

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