The fight against faster mobile broadband

Craigavon has become known as a stronghold against electromagnetic radiation and fighting operators who want to erect cellular towers in the area. In the latest battle, a group of residents are fighting against Vodacom’s plans to erect an LTE mast in Fourways.

According to a report on Looklocal titled “Early grave?”, Craigavon residents are joining a campaign against radiation health impacts and “signal pollution” led by the well known Tracey-Lee Dorny.

Dorny was behind the vociferous campaign against iBurst’s tower in the area which saw the wireless operator back down and remove the tower.

“Back then, a cellphone signal mast at the memorial park allegedly caused a rash of health effects due to radiation poisoning. The mast was taken down two years ago, but now another, more powerful cell and Wi-Fi signal mast could be erected at the memorial park,” the report states.

Vodacom is currently rolling out an LTE network (commonly referred to as 4G) which provides mobile broadband users with faster speeds, lower latency and better service levels.

However, this does not impress Dorny. She told Looklocal that “cell signal levels in the area were already adequate, and the Fourways community did not want radiation power upgrades”.

Dorny added that rashes, sleeplessness, nausea and hair loss are common among people living near cellphone towers.

Craigavon residents fighting against LTE tower
Craigavon residents fighting against LTE tower (photo from Looklocal)

Vodacom explains that fewer base stations will in fact increase radiation exposure to people in the area.

“Cellphones attenuate their power output according to the quality of the signal from the base station. If the signal is good, which is typically true when a base station is nearby, then the cellphone operates on its lowest power setting,” Vodacom said.

“According to the medical journal The Lancet, the majority of people’s exposure to EMF comes from the cellphone rather than the base station. This means that by removing base stations, people may inadvertently increase their exposure to EMF.”

The research by The Lancet therefore suggests that the Craigavon resident’s fight may actually result in a higher risk of exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

None of the articles cite research on the impact of slow Internet access on people in the area, or about the potential envy of not having LTE access while their friends in other areas boast about broadband speeds of over 50Mbps.

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The fight against faster mobile broadband