Many Brits Greet 5G With Skepticism and Avoidance

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As 5G continues its global roll-out, a recent study finds that many people in Great Britain question whether it is necessary, or possibly even dangerous. The report is entitled “Digital Consumer Trends 2020,” which was conducted by research and audit company Deloitte, and further analyzed by TelecomTV.com.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, 5G was met with a certain amount of resistance, but the report noted that the pandemic has fueled mistrust and resistance to the technology. An upsurge of imaginative 5G conspiracy theories and destruction of 5G equipment has been a problem for European telecoms working to combat public ignorance. While respondents questioned the usefulness of 5G and wondered about potential health risks, the report noted as a bright spot, the declining number of people concerned that EMF radiation would cause permanent physical damage.  

“Worries about health impacts from radio waves have always existed, flaring up at the launch of 3G, 4G and Tetra networks, but misinformation about health impacts from wireless networks is more easily amplified than ever before,” said Paul Lee, global head of technology media, and telecommunications research at Deloitte. “5G myths have been among the most seen and shared of untruths in 2020, with a cascade of 5G misinformation sweeping across social media, blogs and fake news sites. The industry has a challenging but pressing task on its hands to educate consumers over the safety of 5G to support uptake of the technology.”

The pandemic has more Brits working from home, and the report found that they were largely comfortable with their current technology, in part because the majority of respondents agreed they did not know enough about 5G to embrace it. Only 15 percent of those surveyed said they understood the technology and were prepared to make smart decisions about its use. Older people, especially older women, said that they did not understand the technology or found it confusing. In some demographic breakdowns, three quarters of the respondents fell into this category.

While audiences in Asia and Africa are clamoring for 5G, telecoms have their work cut out for them with the European public. The report concluded there’s work to be done educating the population about what 5G is, and how end users can benefit from its uses, from better phone connections to high tech IoT applications.  

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