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15/06/2006 - WiMax triggers emergency hospital calls

The small Swedish town of Götene received an interesting surprise when activating their new WiMax system. Within hours of being activated the local hospital emergency services were receiving several calls from residents complaining of a number of symptoms, ranging from difficulty breathing, blurry vision and headaches to heart arrhythmia.

[Please read this important update from Omega News from some of those affected in Sweden]

Powerwatch CommentsThere will of course be the skeptics who claim this to be nothing other than mass hysteria, but unless the information provided is false (which of course is possible), then a few hours is extremely short for there to be any general knowledge that the WiMax had indeed been turned on. Either this is a case of the general public conspiring together to prove a point, or this points to a genuine health effect, which just happens to coincide with other health effects also attributed to low power microwave radiation exposure.

The jury is of course still out, but as far as anecdotal evidence stands this one appears to be fairly strong.

[Link to Inquirer Article]

Also in the news

How Safe Is Your Wireless-Networked Laptop

Recently a writer for the Mac related website wrote an extremely balanced and pragmatic article on the subject of the comparative merits and possible problems with Wireless Networks. The following is an excerpt from the summary of the article:

Until there is a lot more research available on this issue from disinterested third parties, my own personal policy of "prudent avoidance" will include prudently avoiding wireless LANs, the same as I don't use cellular and avoid cordless phones. Happily, in my case that has not been difficult so far, but I'm concerned that it may become more so as wireless technology becomes more intricately integrated into laptop computers for instance. For many others who will be exposed in work or educational settings, prudent avoidance will be virtually impossible. My kids are grown, but if they were still of school age, I would not want them sitting in classrooms full of wireless enables computers every day.

As I implied at the beginning of this article, I expect that some people who read it will be annoyed that I brought the topic up. There is widespread and understandable enthusiasm for the convenience of wireless technology. It could be that I and others are being hyper-cautious about this, and if it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt that exposure to low-level radio emissions is safe, I'm willing to listen. However, I want to hear it from sources other than those financed by industry or politically-sensitive government regulatory agencies, or from techno-enthusiast cheerleaders.

[Link to Powerbookcentral in full]

Changing the face of wireless

This is an interesting article from BBC News highlighting the explosion of WiFi and the various existing specifications for wireless communications, and explains the need and subsequent supply of the new WiMax standard and its expected performance.

[Link to BBC Article]

Orange branches out from mobiles

Orange are now branching out into a quadruple mobile, landline, TV and internet service designed to make life less complex for those that use such services with individual companies. This follows NTL who, having bought out Virgin Mobile, were the first UK company to provide a four-way offer of Cable TV, internet access, fixed line telephony and mobile phone services in May.

Powerwatch CommentsThis appears to be the beginning of a steady movement to combine all communication channels into single packages with one company, in much the similar way to how Gas and Electricity are in most homes in the UK now. This makes a lot of sense from both the consumers point of view and a corporate point of view, and is also a useful backup should a problem ever be accepted with mobile phone usage.

[Link to BBC Article]

Wireless boost for British Cities

BT has signed deals with 12 councils to fit wi-fi antenna to street furniture to create broad zones where people can get untethered access to the net. The first trials of the wi-fi zones are complete and BT aims to have the first six in use by early 2007.

[Link to BBC Article]