The Environment Ministry’s new National Standards for Telecommunication Facilities would allow telecommunication companies to install Wi-fi and cellphone facilities close to homes and schools without community input, despite indications of health risks associated with the technology.
While there have been no scientific studies on the health effects of Wi-fi equipment to date, there have been thousands done on mobile phones and masts.
The proposal is an agreement between the Environment Ministry and the Telecommunication Industry Reference Group, an industry body which is made up of the major telecommunication companies, including Telecom, TelstraClear and Vodafone. It would allow telecommunication providers to install equipment within ‘road reserves’ without resource consent.
The Green Party rejects the rushed timeframe of the proposal, saying that while the Environment Ministry and the industry body discussed the proposal for two years, the public was given less than two months to make submissions to the Ministry.
But the Ministry says the costs of “the potential of visual intrusion, proliferation of street clutter, and people losing the ability to influence decisions on the road outside their properties” are far outweighed by the benefits of the public having access to faster broadband and being $80 to $90 million better off under the changes.