Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Get the facts about Electromagnetic Energy (EME) from telecommunications

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications has developed a range of resources providing information about the safety of electromagnetic energy (EME) from telecommunications.

EME is researched

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EME is regulated

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EME is safe

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Telecommunications Deployment

Learn more about the technology behind telecommunications networks:

Frequently Asked Questions

Use this guide to answer any frequently asked questions members of your local community might have about Electromagnetic Energy (EME).

In Australia, EME from telecommunications is researched, regulated and safe as outlined at www.eme.gov.au.  Australia has a very strict standard when it comes to protecting people from wireless communication. This standard is based on decades of national and international scientific research.

A large number of studies have been carried out to investigate whether EME exposure from mobile phone use poses a potential risk to human health. It is the assessment of ARPANSA and other national and international health authorities, including the World Health Organization, that there is no substantive evidence of health effects from EME associated with mobile phone use. Substantive evidence means evidence drawn from high quality studies with replicable results.

Research on EME has been extensive and includes frequencies above 6 GHz, covering 5G networks operating in the higher frequency bands. This research has been undertaken for decades, from the first release of wireless telephone technology (1G) and for the upgrades that have followed (2G, 3G, 4G and, more recently, 5G).

Studies have found that public exposure to EME from 5G and other sources is below the human exposure limits specified by ARPANSA and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

For example, a recent comprehensive review by ARPANSA examined the research into the biological and health effects of EME at frequencies above 6 GHz at exposure levels below the limits specified by ARPANSA and ICNIRP. This review confirmed there was no substantive evidence that the low-level EME used by the 5G network is hazardous to human health (Karipidis et al., 2021).

More information on the human exposure limits specified by ICNIRP is available.

No. Many products, devices and systems in your home emit the same type of EME that’s used in telecommunications. Basically, anything that’s wireless or uses a remote control, like your TV, radio or laptop. Other everyday items like light bulbs and vacuums also emit EME along with natural sources like the sun and the earth’s atmosphere.

While we can’t control the amount of EME we’re exposed to from natural sources like the sun, the Government ensures we’re only exposed to safe levels of EME from artificial sources like those from telecommunications. Telecommunications devices and infrastructure must comply within the safe levels for EME exposure identified in the ARPANSA standard by virtue of ACMAs licensing requirements.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) is the Government’s primary authority on EME and set a standard outlining the level of exposure to EME from telecommunications that is safe for the Australian public. ARPANSA’s research is peer-reviewed by Australian and international scientists, regularly updated and reflects international best practice.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is responsible for making sure telecommunications equipment and infrastructure comply with ARPANSA’s standard. In addition, ACMA ensures providers are keeping accurate records of their sites once they’re in operation.

5G works with the same basic principles as previous mobile generations of the technology. It sends and receives information using radio waves. 5G is also subject to the same standard that regulates the level of EME emitted by these previous mobile generations and will remain within the safe limits as set out in the ARPANSA Standard.

EME and viruses exist in different forms and do not interact. EME exists on the electromagnetic spectrum, whereas viruses are a biological phenomenon. There is no credible scientific evidence linking EME to the spread of COVID-19.

There is a wide range of Australian and international organisations providing up-to-date, credible information about EME from telecommunications.

These include:

Australia’s telecommunications providers also have useful information about EME and their respective 5G rollouts.