Reliable and safe phone landlines to be history?

The Australian Government quietly released its response to the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report into the Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation, shortly before Christmas.

It appears that Australians’ right to safe and reliable phone lines and payphones is soon to be relegated to history.  Whilst the response assures us that a new Universal Service Guarantee, which is to replace the Universal Service Obligation (USO), will make available broadband and voice services to 100 per cent of premises on request, the detail on how this might be achieved is sketchy.

Instead, alarmingly, the Government’s response spruiks Australians’ uptake of mobile phones, claiming more than 99 per cent of Australians already have access to at least one mobile network, and states that voice and broadband services will be “delivered on a commercial basis by the market in the first instance”.

It’s bad enough that the NBN has left most city dwellers without the means of a safe phone line when the power goes off (and battery backup offers only short-term respite).  But now rural dwellers are to be hit even harder; households in the NBN fixed wireless and satellite footprints will be expected to rely on wireless communications for all their voice services.

The Productivity Commission’s report states that the Universal Service Guarantee (USG) should start following the completion of the NBN rollout in 2020.  In line with the Commission’s recommendations, the Government has commenced work on the new USG.  However, the Minister for the Department of Communications and the Arts, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, assures us that no changes will be made to the current USO (which was originally meant to run until 2032) unless the “proposed new service delivery arrangements are more cost effective than the existing USO contract (including transitional costs)”.

Given that the Government’s input into the existing USO is only $100 million annually (with industry levies providing the balance), it beggars belief that substituting wireless services in rural areas for copper landlines will prove to be more cost effective if all costs are considered.  But that’s the catch – many of the potential costs are being steadfastly ignored by Government.

From a health perspective alone, the long-term ramifications of pushing rural Australians onto 24/7 wireless services is likely to result in costs to the nation which will dwarf current funding.

An increase in brain tumours is but one of the many adverse outcomes which studies have highlighted as being a possible result of long-term exposure to radiofrequency radiation.  Brain cancer is a rare disease; however, according to Australia’s Cure Brain Foundation it now kills more children in Australia than any other disease.  According to an independent study prepared for the Cancer Council New South Wales, using data available to June 2006, the average lifetime financial costs to households for brain cancer were $149,400; this increased to $449,100 for males up to 14 years old.

Taxpayers also pay the price of increased brain tumours.  An overseas 2013 study, entitled “Swedish review strengthens grounds for concluding that radiation from cellular and cordless phones is a probable human carcinogen”, states that treatment of a single case of brain cancer can cost between $100,000 for radiation therapy alone and up to $1 million (USD) depending on drug costs.  And brain cancer is only one of the adverse health outcomes that may eventuate as a result of increased exposure to pulsed microwave radiation.

How ironic that progressive health authorities elsewhere in the world are advising the public to consider using landlines as an alternative to mobile phones due to substantial scientific evidence of risk, particularly in regards to children.  For instance, in Israel, the Ministry of Health recommends sensible use of cellular and wireless technology, including “considering alternatives like landline telephones” (Environmental Health in Israel, Chapter 10, Non-Ionizing Radiation); similarly, the Cyprus Medical Association, Vienna Austrian Medical Chamber and Cyprus National Committee on Environment and Children’s Health recently released the Nicosia Declaration on Electromagnetic Fields/Radiofrequencies, which advises that children under 16 should use mobile phones only for emergencies, and that phone calls at home and at work should be made via a hardwired network.  In Australia, however, children as well as adults are to be denied the choice to choose a safe means of voice communication.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity sufferers marginalised

The Productivity Commission Inquiry Report on the USO highlighted the role of phones in creating social inclusion.  Yet despite recognition of this, and the fact that a number of participants stated in their submission that their electromagnetic hypersensitivity rendered them unable to tolerate wireless signals without becoming ill, this direct evidence was dismissed by the Commission.

Instead, the Commission’s report lamely relayed ARPANSA’s opinion on the matter (‘no established scientific evidence that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is caused by electromagnetic fields below exposure guidelines’) and opined that there are “already Australian Government measures to address concerns in this area…”.  Sadly, none of the measures which were mentioned include a means by which sufferers might access a phone line without being exposed to pulsed wireless radiation!  The Commission also considered that, “even if concerns about health effects were validated”, measures such as “providing consumer information” or “setting standards” would be a more cost-effective means of addressing this issue.

Based on this, it would seem that the needs of people with electrohypersensitivity will continue to be ignored.

Fragility of wireless communications

It appears that the Government is also labouring under the assumption that wireless communications are as robust as hard-wired landlines and payphones.  This is remarkedly short-sighted.  Even damage from a storm can render communication towers useless for days, if not longer.  Is the Government going to factor in the potential cost to the community of events such as this?

If the Australian Government’s plans for its new Universal Service Guarantee is of concern to you, please raise this issue with your local Federal MP and/or write to:

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications

To view the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, along with its findings and recommendations, go here.   (The response to concerns raised by the public about electromagnetic energy exposure is covered on pp. 237-239, plus see the comment on p. 160.)

For previous posts on this issue, see:

Telstra’s obligation to provide landlines may be given the flick

Landlines Petition

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Wanted – House without a smart meter

Throughout Victoria, there are countless people who have had to leave their homes because of the adverse health effects of smart meters, health aliments resulting from the continuous pulsed electromagnetic radiation emitted from smart meters.

Increasingly, such people are finding it difficult to locate a property to live in – and this situation will only worsen if the Victoria government continues to refuse smart meter exemptions for people suffering from electro-hypersensitivity. The heartless Victorian government even refuses exemptions for people with validated medical certificates!

Stop Smart Meters Australia recently received a request from a woman living in Melbourne desperate to leave her home and find a house without a smart meter. The effects of the smart meter have been debilitating for her. Please help if you can:

Rental Room Required

“I am a 44 year old single woman looking to rent a room in a house without a smart meter.  I have experienced adverse effects from the smart meter in my current rental accommodation and therefore need to move as soon as possible.  A Melbourne location would be ideal, but I am definitely open to anywhere in Australia with an analogue meter. My contact email is:  Thanks in advance!”

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Electrical pollution in your home: Why you can’t be healthy in a sick house

High frequencies generated by smart meters as a result of the switch-mode power supply* can create ‘dirty’ electricity in homes, that is, frequencies that are higher than the 50 hertz waves that should be running on household wires.  This radiation from the home’s smart meter can couple onto household wiring.  This effect can be a particular problem in homes with older, compromised wiring as higher frequencies equate to more heat and can lead to burnt out appliances, as well as fires in the home down-the-track.

A number of people are sensitive to high frequency harmonics, experiencing symptoms resembling radio wave sickness when exposed to them, ranging from headaches, palpitations, asthma, deteriorating vision, and digestive problems through to high blood sugar levels and multiple sclerosis (Havas 2006).

In an article published in Paleo Magazine, October/November 2017, Alison Main writes why you can’t be healthy in a home exposed to dirty electricity:

“Electricity can indeed by a marvelous thing.  But when our electrical current isn’t smooth, this can lead to a variety of health problems, including headaches, neurological disturbances, fatigue, depression, skin irritation, autoimmune disease, and cancer.

It’s called Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) by most engineers, “harmonics” and “harmonic distortion” by other electrical professionals, and “high-frequency voltage transients” by some EMF experts – or in layman’s terms, “dirty electricity.”  Semantics aside, what we’re really talking about are frequencies other than our utility’s smooth and clean 60 hertz [50 hertz in Australia] sine wave of Alternating Current (AC)…

A big environmental pollutant and suspected carcinogen, these harmonics are particularly dangerous because they accumulate and strengthen, and their frequency can sometimes reach into the radiofrequency range.  Not to mention, they travel along home and utility wiring, so you may be feeling sick in your home because of your neighbor’s choice in energy-saving light bulbs…


You might now be wondering whether your new furnace has thrown you down an EMF rabbit hole.  Since you can’t see these frequencies with the naked eye, how do you know if you’ve got a problem?

Start by looking for the common sources of harmonics in your home. These include most modern appliances and electronics, compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs), some LED lighting, dimmer switches, variable-speed motors (used in most furnaces and HVAC systems), blenders and mixers, routers and modems, solar-energy systems, and anything with a switch-mode power supply…”

Alison Main

Extracted from

*The switch-mode power supply converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) within the smart meter in order to power the meter; this is not a seamless transition and can result in increased high frequency transients and harmonics (‘dirty electricity’) radiating from all wiring within the home.  It explains why merely disabling the remote microwave transmissions in smart meters doesn’t go far enough.  See Dirty Electricity: It’s Not Just Wireless That’s Causing Health Problems for more information on dirty electricity and radio-off meters.

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Smart meters causing tidal wave of mysterious illnesses that strike people in their own homes

In recent years there have been increasing reports that “Smart Meters” – the digitized electric meters that are designed to send usage figures to power companies wirelessly – are causing a range of health issues among a growing portion of the population where such devices are in use.

In fact, notes the EMF Safety Network, a growing number of people from around the world are beginning to report health problems they believe are related to an increased amount of wireless radiation from various devices, including smart meters.

“Utilities claim smart meters are safe, and compare them to cell phones. However, cell phones, cell towers, wi-fi and other wireless devices can also affect your health,” the organization states on its website. “Reducing your EMF exposure can benefit your overall health and wellness.”

The group also notes that the World Health Organization has classified radiation as a 2B carcinogen, and based that declaration on studies that have linked cell phone radiation to brain tumors.

As noted by, here is how the devices work:

“Smart meters talk to their central systems using RF transmissions, based on a cell phone, pager, satellite, radio, power line (PLC), Wi-Fi or Internet (TCP/IP) communication method. Internet and cell phone applications have become the preferred options because of their flexibility and ease of deployment.” notes further that smart meters are typically installed outside homes and places of business to measure electricity, water and gas usage. How much RF energy people are exposed to depends on how far they are from the antenna that transmits the signal.

The power and frequency of the RF signal emitted from smart meters are similar to those of a typical cellular phone, cordless phone or residential Wi-Fi router. notes that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) named RF radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on findings of at least one study that examined a link between it and a particular type of brain tumor.

In addition, the EMF Safety Network has identified the following symptoms as possibly linked to RF radiation, based on a survey the group did in 2011:

–Sleep problems (insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, night waking, nightmares)

–Stress, agitation, anxiety, irritability

–Headaches, sharp pain or pressure in the head

–Ringing in the ears, ear pain, high pitched ringing

–Concentration, memory or learning problems

–Fatigue, muscle or physical weakness

–Disorientation, dizziness, or balance problems

–Eye problems, including eye pain, pressure in the eyes

–Cardiac symptoms, heart palpitations, heart arrhythmias, chest pain

–Leg cramps, or neuropathy

–Arthritis, body pain, sharp, stabbing pains

–Nausea, flu-like symptoms

–Sinus problems, nose bleeds

–Respiratory problems, cough, asthma

–Skin rashes, facial flushing

–Urinary problems

–Endocrine disorders, thyroid problems, diabetes

–High blood pressure

–Changes in menstrual cycle

–Hyperactivity or changes in children’s behavior


–Recurrence of cancer

Abridged from an article by Erin Elizabeth, HNN

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Wireless-Wise Families: What every parent needs to know about wireless technologies

We love them, we depend on them, we fill our homes with them.  We put them next to our sleeping babies and give them to our toddlers and children to play with.  We use them for work, for entertainment, and for conducting our relationships.  But how much do you know about mobile phones and other wireless devices and the radiation they emit?

Did you know, for example, that your use of wireless devices can affect your children, your unborn children, and even your chances of conceiving?  That wireless radiation has been shown to affect performance, mental health, relationships, and sleep?  Or that many world authorities recommend reducing exposure to this radiation?

‘Smart’ families are exposed to wireless radiation from ‘smart’ devices.  ‘Wise’ families make informed decisions about using wireless technologies safely.  This book, by Australian consumer advocate and educator Lyn McLean, shows you in simple, practical terms what you need know to live wisely in our ever more connected world.

Wireless-Wise Families is a refreshingly easy and enjoyable read and a valuable resource for parents.

First published in 2017 by Scribe Publications, Melbourne.
Available from all good booksellers

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Smart meter radiation and health – why are we neglecting non-toxic alternatives?

With growing evidence of harm to physical and mental health caused by continuous pulsed electro-magnetic radiation from ‘smart’ electricity meters, Lynne Wycherley asks: have we underestimated risks to heart function and the nervous system? And of interference with embedded medical devices, such as cardiac pacemakers?

It’s time to switch to over-wire or fibre communications to bring the ‘smart green grid’ of the future to electrosmog-free reality.

See full article in the Ecologist

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Pulsed microwaves drive wildlife from NSW World Heritage Park

A meticulous report prepared by Australian botanist Mark Broomhall to UNESCO documents the exodus of species from the Mount Nardi area of the Nightcap National Park World Heritage Site.

Species disappearance over a 15-year period (2000-2015) corresponds with an increasing amount of electromagnetic radiation from the Mount Nardi telecommunications tower complex.

The addition of a further 150 pay television channels and enhanced 3G technology to the tower in 2009 resulted in the exodus of 27 bird species from Mount Nardi while simultaneously, insect volumes and species variety dropped dramatically.  The construction of a new tower in late 2012 and early 2013, which deployed 4G technology, caused the rapid exodus of a further 49 bird species.

Broomhall estimates that “from 70 to 90% of the wildlife has become rare or has disappeared from the Nightcap National Park within a 2-3 km radius of the Mt. Nardi tower complex”.  His data also reveals that:

3 bat species once common have become rare or gone
11 threatened and endangered bird species are gone
11 migratory bird species are gone
86 bird species are demonstrating unnatural behaviours
66 once common bird species are now rare or gone

Broomhall states in his report that “it is evident that pulsed microwaves are particularly toxic”.  He says that this matter “should be considered a National Emergency”.

In the light of these chilling findings, SSMA asks, are there any organisations in Australia prepared to take ownership of this issue?  Or are we all going to sit back and allow the reckless proliferation of manmade electromagnetic frequencies to destroy the genetic heart of our ancient Gondwanaland rainforest?

To read the full report, go to Report for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.


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