We’re all looking forward to the 5G mobile network roll-out aren’t we? Faster signal strength means better reception for all, stronger, faster data streaming, etc. But something you might not know about 5G is that in the world’s rush to roll this out, there are knock-on effects that could cost lives, according to some in the meteorological world. With this coming to light, could this slow the roll-out or even make some countries rethink their involvement?
In a recent report in The Guardian, a spokesperson for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts said: “The way 5G is being introduced could seriously compromise our ability to forecast major storms … We are very concerned about this.”
The issue centres around frequencies. Governments are starting to auction off frequencies for 5G networks to run on that some believe will interfere with the way weather satellites identify impending storms.
Let me explain… Different weather phenomena emit faint signals at different frequencies and weather satellites look for tiny changes in the frequency of signals in the atmosphere to identify rain, snow, clouds and ice.
For example, 23.8 GHz is a frequency emitted by water vapour, 36–37 GHz is the frequency range used to identify rain and snow, the frequency 50 GHz is used to measure atmospheric temperature and the 86–92 GHz band is used to identify ice and clouds. The thing they have in common is that all are used by these meteorological satellites and all are being sold off by the US Federal Communications Commission.
A conference later in the year is set to debate this, but in the meantime some are calling on other governments to restrict the sale of these frequencies for their 5G mobile networks to preserve our ability to predict the weather. The most extreme voices have already started to suggest that the loss of an accurate way of predicting storm weather could result in losses to livelihoods, property and even lives, and that’s something to be taken seriously.
EE and Vodafone have already announced that they hope to launch their 5G services this year in the UK, with others claim 2020 to be their year. The government has promised UK-wide coverage by 2027, but this meteorological revelation could restrict or slow these launches. If we are stuck with 3G/4G signals for a good few years to come, how will you deal with the poor signal your business is getting?