A cell tower in every street!

By | 2011/02/17

Those funny folks over in the Coalition are continuing their “we hate NBN” rhetoric, with the alternative, you know, being a fully wireless network.

(A wireless network aiming for 10Mbit peak connectivity, that is.)

As I said, every time I hear them blathering on about the wonders of wireless technology, I’m reminded of John Malkovich’s line in “Burn After Reading”: “You’re part of a league of morons“.

Amazingly, they’ve now descended into full force farce. Even our communications minister, (aka “Minister for Censoring the Internet”), who … let’s face it, struggles with technology concepts at the best of times – even he understands the inherent limitations of trying to get everyone onto wireless:

STEPHEN CONROY: This claim this wireless is going to replace fixed fibre networks and destroy the business case of the National Broadband Network is simply a misleading campaign by Tony Abbott because he doesn’t understand that wireless networks, the more people that use them, the slower they get and the further you stand from the tower, the slower the broadband gets.

(7.30 report, 15/02/2011).

The coalition solution? Oh, that’s easy:

MALCOLM TURNBULL: But of course you can install more base stations and you can supplement it with, you know, extra cells, wifi cells, if you like. So, there are many techniques for increasing the capacity of wireless networks.


What an amazing idea – if you don’t have enough cells, just build more of them!

Except … just how many cells are we talking about, Malcolm?

“In order to get those 100 megabit speeds and beyond you’d need to be installing a base station around about on every suburban block,” she said. “At the end of every street there’d need to be a base station.”

(Crikey: Coalition Broadband: a wireless tower in every street)

Just think of that! A cell tower in every street! Near every school – hell, there’d probably be one on each corner of the school. There’ll be cell towers near cancer patients and pregnant mothers, near old people and babies and school kids, and there’d be no escape – because there’d be one on every street.

Now, at the current levels of exposure, I’m not convinced cell towers pose a problem – I’m yet to see conclusive evidence either way. When those cell towers increase by several orders of magnitude to provide that level of coverage? That’s going to get a lot of people worried.

A lot of those people who are going to worry about cell tower radiation are those who are also thinking along the lines of “NBN bad. Wireless good.”

Let’s keep them appraised of the consequences of a wireless “high speed” internet for Australia, shall we?

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