A number of residents who live on Flynn Street, Port Macquarie, have raised concerns about plans to install three 5G cell antennas outside their homes.
It's one of four sites earmarked by Telstra.
Each installation, like the one planned for 46 Flynn Street, has three small cell antennas with an approximate height of 7.3 metres, mounted on top of the existing power pole.
Telstra has confirmed if the installation is to go ahead, it will be the first 5G small cell in the area. There is an existing 4G small cell site at the Charles Sturt University campus.
A flyer detailing the proposal by was sent to residents and a poster calling for community feedback was taped to the existing power pole - as is a regulatory requirement.
Submissions closed on Monday (May 9).
Community consultation has also been undertaken for proposed 5G small antenna installations at 48 Widderson Street, 172 River Park Road and 54 Table Street.
Flynn Street resident Jennie Mason said she is concerned about the proposed installation.
"It does worry me about the electromagnetic energy (EME). I lived in a small country town and - it was never proven - but, there was a big Telstra tower there and... a three kilometre to five kilometre radius around it where people developed cancer," she said.
"A lot of those people thought it was because of the tower."
Ms Mason didn't make an individual submission but added her name to a list opposing the installation. She estimated there were between 10 and 12 residents' on the list.
"It's really hard when you're up against a huge corporation. I'm not pleased with it being there."
Another concerned resident opposing the proposed installation, taped their own sign to the pole. It reads, "No 5G here".
Telstra regional general manager Michael Marom said the proposed 5G small cell antenna installation is to help improve mobile coverage in the area.
"Port Macquarie locals have been benefitting from the faster speeds and higher capacity that Telstra 5G delivers since 2019, with the majority of the rollout completed in 2020," he said.
"A small cell is now planned for Flynn Street to provide better depth of coverage and capacity in the area."
Mr Marom also said Telstra is taking into account residents' concerns.
"At Telstra we take our responsibilities regarding the health and safety of our customers and the community very seriously," he said.
"We also acknowledge that some people are genuinely concerned about the possible health effects from EME and we're committed to addressing those concerns responsibly."
According to the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and communications the level of EME emitted from telecommunications equipment, including from 5G small cells, is related to its power output.
"5G networks are designed to be more efficient and use less power than current networks for similar services," the department states on its website.
"Our experience with the introduction of previous wireless technologies (3G and 4G) is that even with an increasing amount of telecommunications equipment being installed to support 5G networks, we can expect overall exposure levels to remain constant and at a small fraction of the exposure limits set out in the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) Standard."
To find out more information about health concerns regarding 5G small cells, visit the government's website here.
Mr Marom said Telstra relies on advice by experts when it comes to EME levels.
"We rely on scientific advice, not only from our own local experts, but also from international researchers at places such as the World Health Organisation," he said.
"5G is similar to both 4G and 3G when it comes to EME levels and both these technologies have been in operation across Australia for many years."
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