Huawei Boxes Pop Up Unannounced Down Under


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Residents of Ryde, a suburb of Sydney, Australia were perplexed by the sudden appearance of small cell power boxes on their local telephone poles. reports that laws in Australia permitted Huawei to install the 4G boxes without approval from the town council.  However, due to national security concerns, Huawei is prohibited from taking part in the upcoming 5G rollout. As Australia preps for 5G technology, some citizens expressed concern about the new transmitters.

“Under the Telecommunications Act, it’s basically open-slather for these companies to install these small cell devices in the suburbs,” said Ryde Mayor Jerome Laxale.  “I was surprised. It is council owned-land, the property of residents in Ryde and we ultimately have no say. It is a notification process, rather than a consultation process.”

Dr. Geza Benke of the Monash University Occupational and Environmental Health department said that the small cell boxes did not present a health risk. “The exposure which people get from these antenna is no more than you would get from a large antenna,” he added.  

Weighing both the pros and the cons of the small cell transmitter, Lesley Seebeck, Australian National University Cyber institute representative commented, “With regard to security, we have to understand it is not merely a technical issue, it is more than that.  It is a social issue and a political issue,” she said. “And the fundamental question that’s being asked is can we trust these devices? And trust the technology? And what are the security provisions being put in place?”

Ryde residents John and Sue Cappadonna put it more simply, “We don’t want it here,” Ms Cappadonna said. “It causes us great anxiety that this thing is going to be running 24-7.”

January 14, 2019

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