From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
A lot of controversies and theories have trailed the Internet since the federal government announced intentions to deploy the 5th generation network in the country in 2020.
In telecommunications, 5G is the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, which cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019, and is the planned successor to the 4G networks which provide connectivity to most current cell phones and other devices.
Many have raised concerns as to the likely harmful impact of the latest technology to the country with some quarters citing cyber security and privacy threats while others have cited possible health related problems from electromagnetic radiation and other negative effects on the environment.
Some of the claims about health risks since 5G was launched in China and deployed in several other countries include that; COVID19 vaccines contain 5G microchips, claims that 5G release is used to cover up the COVID19 pandemic, that 5G causes headaches, migraines, and dizziness and even cancer.
They allege that 5G suppresses the immune system and increases risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID19.
Recently, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami while speaking at an interview, blamed the delay of the deployment of the 5g on the controversies and conspiracy theories surrounding it in Nigeria. To this end, experts in telecommunications and cyber have provided insights to educate and enlighten the populace on the prospects and the risks of the new technology, if any.
Ikechukwu Nnamani, founder, Medallion Communications LTD and President, Association of Telecommunications of Nigeria (ATCON), said 5G is a wireless technology that will improve the quality of lives of Nigerians. According to Nnamani, services that will be enabled by 5G will create employment, improve commerce, health, the financial sector, education, and national security including other areas of the nation. He added that the higher bandwidth that 5G brings will enable the internet of things which will help grow the economy.
“5G is safe and is not linked to COVID-19 or other health issues that have been speculated.
“5G like every other wireless technology will require improvement in cybersecurity habits by the citizens. This is so not because it is not safe but more devices will be connected online and more people will use new services currently not available to them.
Oluseyi Akindeinde a Digital Encoder said the arrival of 5G will not only transform technology, but will herald an entirely new mobile experience.
“5G will deliver internet speeds up to 100 times the speed of 4G technology whilst making the connections stronger.
“With 5G, devices will be highly connected and communicate with each other and information accessibility will be at speeds never before imagined. Some use cases include IOT, electronic healthcare, autonomous cars, remote surveillance and improved broadband penetration
Akindeinde said people attribute the 5g technology to the Pandemic due to lack of understanding and insufficient information.
“The 5G network has absolutely nothing to do with the emergence of COVID19. Most of the assertions are baseless from a technology standpoint and are just mere conspiracies due to the lack of understanding of its use of electromagnetic force and its EMF exposures and perceived radiation effects on health.
“To date and after much research no adverse health risk has been linked to the exposure of radiation. Radio frequency exposure levels from current technologies result in negligible temperature rise in the human body. Provided that the overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no consequences for public health are anticipated”
Mr Rogbe Adeoye, Information Security Advocate and former Chairman, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) said 5G will pilot new tech advancement opportunities and innovation. Developing technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to expand with 5G.
“The major purposes of the 5G are a greater speed in the transmissions, a lower latency, leading to greater capacity of remote execution, a huger number of connected devices and the possibility of implementing virtual networks which will provide more connectivity to a larger number of individuals and devices. He said just like the 3g network was an improvement on 2g and the 4g on the 3g, so is the 5g an improvement on the 4g, adding that the evolution is a continuous one.
Adeoye also said the technology has no evident connection to the Pandemic or any health issues yet. He said the claims were mere speculations based on mere assumptions.
“I think looking at the origin of both the disease and the technology, you can easily trace why people intend to inter-relate them. As you know, the 5g was first launched in China around 2019. Although there were already some concerns about it even before the Pandemic, the rumours grew at the heat of the Pandemic, especially as it also originated from the same country. There is a lot that Nigeria and Nigerians will gain from the deployment of the 5g network.” He added.