Council bows to activists and halts work on 5G tower
Greens-dominated Byron Shire Council has bowed to conspiracy theorists who are fighting against implementation of high-speed internet.
Protesters have been fighting to prevent Telstra workers from accessing the company's 5G tower in Mullumbimby for the past month.
The group, which has amassed thousands of signatures from members of the anti-vaccine, anti-fluoridation community in the area, claim there are unknown health risks from the network.
The council passed a motion in March to stop development of the 5G tower until possible health and environmental risks were assessed by Telstra, the state and federal governments.
"We have never seen so much electromagnetic activity. What we were after was some assurance that there would be further research done on the impacts of it," Byron Greens councillor Michael Lyon said.
"Before the development of 5G went ahead we wanted to be satisfied that there were no health risks. It is a divisive issue here and we wanted to be able to prove to the community it is safe."
Sydney University Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman, who has researched mobile phone impacts on cancer for more than 30 years, told The Daily Telegraph there was absolutely no evidence this technology harmed people.
"With every generation of technology rolled out we hear the same claims - for internet or radio or mobile signals. It is predictable this group would protest against 5G," he said.
"For over 15 years massive numbers of the population have used phones, it is a natural experiment. In this time there is no change in the rate of cancer incidents, showing there is no rise."
Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher backed the professor's findings.
"The radio waves used by all generations of mobile and wireless technologies, including 5G, have been studied rigorously for decades, and there is no scientific evidence that the use of these radio waves in mobile networks is harmful to health," he said.
The rollout of 5G networks began in June 2019, with the new technology running on a similar wireless frequency to 3G and 4G networks. The difference is that the new network uses a much higher band, which allows faster speeds over short distances.
The 5G network, enabling advances such as self-driving cars, has been rolled out in 15 regional communities.
Activist Sherrie Yeoman said it is a credit to the protesters that the 5G tower in Mullumbimby had not been switched on yet.
"We're basically protecting (the tower from workers) more so than protesting. We're about sharing facts and clarity, requesting that 5G be proven to be safe."
Originally published as Council bows to activists and halts work on 5G tower