The 5G Inquiry Report by the Australian Government’s House Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts was recently tabled in Parliament. The Committee comprehensively assessed 5G technology over the past 12 months and clearly identified 5G as a safe and transformative technology – building on the legacy of previous mobile generations (3G and 4G).
The Committee Chair, Dr David Gillespie said the inquiry saw the need for 5G to connect Australia and allow for a wave of innovation and opportunities not seen before, adding: “The Committee heard that Australia has the opportunity to be a 5G world leader. A number of organisations told us that 5G is essential if we are to be a global competitor in food and wine production, entertainment, automated vehicles and IT, among other sectors.
“We also heard that there is a high level of concern among some members of the community who are worried that 5G is a risk to human health. The Committee received assurances from Australian Government agencies and researchers that 5G is a safe technology, and the safety standards in place are more than able to make sure that health is not affected when 5G is deployed”.
The Committee made 14 recommendations, including:
- The speedy allocation of spectrum needed for 5G;
- Reviews of the low-impact facilities framework for the 5G environment, and carrier powers and immunities, particularly the timeframes for raising objections;
- Better management of ageing and redundant mobile network infrastructure and equipment;
- A focus on road and transport safety standards, with carriers working alongside state and territory road and transport authorities;
- The installation of multiuser infrastructure, and conducting of 5G trials, in rural and regional areas;
- The Australian Government encourage manufacturing of 5G infrastructure in Australia, with potential partnerships with the UK, US, New Zealand and Canada;
- The establishment of a 5G R&D Innovation Fund;
- A focus on Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management, including a review of the current legislative arrangements for network and data security for the supply of 5G equipment;
- Better consultation between Australian Government agencies and members of the community concerned about the deployment of 5G;
- A focus on ensuring that the ICT workforce is appropriately skilled, by lifting apprenticeships and working with curriculum-setters; and
- Campaigns to increase local government and enterprise awareness of 5G.