The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is endeavouring to regulate electromagnetic energy (EME) exposure from 5G devices operating in millimetre-wave (mmWave) frequencies, which is set to be used to supply high-capacity internet services in concentrated areas.
In a recently published paper, the ACMA noted there are “no finalised international standards on assessment methods for devices operating above 6GHz that are used in close proximity to the head or body.
“Currently, the EME of devices operating above 6GHz that are used in close proximity to the head or body is regulated through licence conditions and is the responsibility of the licensee.”
The ACMA currently oversees a standard called ‘electromagnetic radiation – human exposure’ that covers emissions from transmitters. The objective of the arrangements is to ensure that public exposure to EME from radio transmitters does not exceed the Australian exposure limits published by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).
The ACMA is hoping to extend this existing standard to cover mmWave 5G devices, and to use a technical report prepared by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) as the basis of its thinking.
“Adopting [the technical report] into the ACMA standard will give manufacturers and importers clear guidance on measurement methodologies for assessing their device against the ARPANSA limits, and place EME obligations on the Australian supplier of the devices,” the ACMA said. “Adopting a technical report is a departure from the ACMA’s normal approach of adopting international standards once they have been finalised.
“In this case, the speed with which technological development is occurring means that devices operating in close proximity to the ear or body above 6 GHz may be available in Australia before the international standard is finalised.
“Adopting the technical report is proposed as an interim measure until the international standard is available.”