COVID-19 VS 5G: ALTON Blames Negative Power Of Social Media, Uninformed Persons


By Angeline Ngbele

Negative use of the power of social media has been blamed for the amplification of hollow claims by largely ignorant individuals who have linked the Fifth Generation (5G) Mobile Networks  to  the Coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic.

This was the position of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) at the webinar tagged, 2020 Digital Rights Series on Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable hosted by ITREALMS in collaboration with DigitalSENSE Africa Media on Saturday, under the theme: Role of IP in 5G v COVID-19 Debate.

Chairman, ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo made this assertion in his paper entitled: 5G Versus Coronavirus: Reality or Fiction?

Adebayo, who was ably represented by the Head of Operations at ALTON, Gbolahan Awonuga said that the supposed 5G: Coronavirus connection came from ignorant people on the Internet trying to link things that were not at all connected.

“Unfortunately, the power of social media has only amplified some of these misguided comments,” he said.

He quoted experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) as saying that there is no dispute that animals are the source of COVID-19.

“Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans,” he buttressed.

On the safety of 5G technologies, Adebayo maintained that the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) recently published its updated guidelines to provide improved protection for higher frequency ranges.

Also, the ALTON chief said that the new guidelines stipulated among others that time and body exposure restrictions, provided protection against all adverse health effects from exposure to electromagnetic frequencies, including for frequencies above 6 GHz, such as those emitted by 5G and future technologies.

The ALTON  boss noted though 5G had been a cause for concern over the increased deployment of towers it would require while arguing radio signals for 5G technology were similar to those already generated by 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks.

“By using small cells, or low-power, low-range transmissions, 5G smart antennas send signals where required. These cells enable localised use of signals while increasing coverage and efficiency,” Adebayo insisted.

Welcoming participants earlier, the Executive Director, Operations, DigitalSENSE Africa Media,  Nkem Nweke, said that the webinar in collaboration with ITREALMS became imperative to join the world in the commemoration of World IPv6 Day despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“This webinar today, is in commemoration of the World IPv6 Day, 2020, as part of our DigitalSENSE drive for education and enlightenment under the partnership of ITREALMSdigital rights series,” she said.

Mrs. Nweke recalled that since year 2011, following depletion of the Internet Protocol version Four (IPv4), DigitalSENSE Africa, had led efforts under the aegis of the Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable in commemoration of the World Internet Protocol Version Six (IPv6) Day, every June 6, majorly to promote the adoption of IPv6 for the products and services as well as create awareness, especially in Nigeria, with core determination that “we cannot wait to continuously play leapfrogging on technologies and positive usage too for a better society,” she said.

In addition, the Executive Director commended ALTON and Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) for their support and collaboration and urged for more alliance with stakeholders, saying her office was open for partnership in favour of engendering industry growth.

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