Over 50 cell towers in the UK were vandalized over the weekend, reports PC Mag. Major UK telecom companies Vodafone, EE, and BT are blaming the fraudulent conspiracy theory that suggests 5G connectivity is the cause of coronavirus.
10 – 13 April saw a rise in attacks that followed attacks earlier this month. 22 EE phone masts were vandalized, and although not all were successful, houses had to be evacuated as a result and arrests were made.
EE also confirmed that the majority of towers damaged do not currently support 5G.
Vodafone CEO, Nick Jeffrey shared in a LinkedIn post that 20 masts were damaged, including those providing connectivity to a hospital in Birmingham. BT CEO, Philip Jansen says that 11 towers had been destroyed or damaged by arson, and 39 engineers had been verbally abused or physically assaulted.
Gareth Eliott, head of policy and comms for MobileUK (the trade association for the UK’s mobile network operators), says that the notion 5G and coronavirus are connected is, “baseless and are not grounded in credible scientific theory … Mobile operators are dedicated to keeping the UK connected, and careless talk could cause untold damage. Continuing attacks on mobile infrastructure risks lives and at this challenging time the UK’s critical sectors must be able to focus all their efforts fighting this pandemic.”
There is no obvious link between 5G and coronavirus and COVID-19 is present in places without 5G connectivity, such as Iran and Malaysia. These conspiracy theories have nevertheless been spread widely, and social media sites such as Facebook and Youtube have taken steps to crack down on coronavirus misinformation and disinformation.
What is 5G?
Simply put, 5G is the fifth generation of wireless communication networks. A complete upgrade from the previous generation, 4G, in terms of connection speeds and reach.
5G is able to support 100Mbps speeds, and have more than 1-million devices connected per square kilometer. Antennas must be upgraded to support this technology, enabled with connection speeds above 24Ghz and up to 72Ghz.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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