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The Regulations Next-Gen 5G Face From ACMA

If the next generation of 5G handsets want to be made available in Australia, it will need to be regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The ACMA is looking at regulating the electromagnetic energy (EME) exposure from upcoming mmWave 5G devices before they’re available on the market.

The regulation body has set its sight on EME regulation because of no ‘finalised international standards on assessment methods for devices operation above 6GHz that are used in close proximity to the head or body,’ ACMA’s official consultation paper states.

(EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT)

‘The ACMA is proposing to amend the ACMA Standard to adopt a technical report to ensure that devices operating above 6 GHz will be covered by device supply arrangements equivalent to that for equipment operating below 6 GHz, including placing regulatory obligations on the Australian supplier of the devices.’

While the consultation papers note that regulation is being made on an international standard (IEC/IEEE 63195-1), the pace of development is trudging along at such a slow rate that 5G devices could be released in Australia before the standard is finalised.

ACMA also noted the body would seek industry consultation on the matter of regulation until 12 March.

What does it mean for health concerns and the use of 5G?

The rollout and implementation of 5G has been divisive and controversial both in Australia and globally.

But at this point in time, there aren’t any 6GHz mmWave networks operating in Australia because the spectrum auction for that bandwidth won’t occur until early 2021.

(Photo by /Sipa USA)

The mmWave handsets can’t be sold until telecommunication companies can build a network to support them, which they won’t until they are given regulated access to run the spectrum for it.

Existing 5G handsets and network equipment are already being regulated and are expected to comply with strict standards by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

The ARPANSA standards that have already been applied are contained in the Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3 kHz to 300 GHz (2002), which are already in place and applied to existing 5G handsets.

All of the 4G, 3G and even 2G handsets that have been used for years are also regulated by this standard.

Now, the ACMA is proposing the interim technical report to be used as the standard against those which ARPANSA standards are tested until a full international standard for next generation 5G is cemented.

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