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Nepali telecom regulator to Study Radiation Effect from Cell Towers
Nepal Created: 4 Jan 2022
NTA is set to study the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) effect of cell towers on human beings and their occupation. For this, the telecom regulator NTA has released a notice seeking interested consultants/firms to submit their Expression of Interest for the study.

The interested consultant/firms shall submit their application online through the e-GP system before 12:00 of 13-01-2022.

The radiation is real. It is everywhere around us. We have routers, laptops, mobile phones, and all those gadgets which work wirelessly and emit a varying amount of radiation. It’s safe to say that we are exposed to radiation everywhere round the clock. However, the manufacturers of such gadgets claim the device release a nominal amount of radiation and hence no harm to health. But many agree to disagree.

In fact, one of the concerns around us is from cell towers. The belief is widespread that cell towers emit large amounts of radiation which pose a fatal threat to us. Due to this, many house owners don’t allow operators to erect cell towers on their property. This has directly affected operators as they find it derails their service expansion and upgrades. Moreover, the imminent arrival of 5G at the expense of NTC has alarmed many environmentalists about its threats from high-frequency as around the world.

This is why NTA had included the plan in its FY 078/79 approved budget and program. Now, the telecom regulator has invited interested firms to submit their Expression of Interest (EoI) to study the effect of cell towers in two packages.

NTA’s Study of Radiation Effect in Two Packages

Among the applicants, NTA will select two companies for the study. These companies will be assigned the task in two provinces.

The regulator has divided this study into two packages. The first package will include the study of cell towers in Province 1 and Province 2. There. the companies will study at least 600 cell towers across the two provinces.

Meanwhile, the second package will include the base stations study in Karnali Province and Far-Western Province. Across these regions, the companies at work will study around 400 mobile towers to see if the radiation from them is affecting human health.

Radiation Study projects Areas of Study Number of Cell Towers
The First Package Province 1 & 2 600
The Second Package Karnali & Far-Western Province 400

The purpose of the study is to analyze the possible effects of radiation from cell towers on human health. If the study finds negative results, it will nullify public concerns that will assure them of their safety from the base stations and also raise awareness. Moreover, the study will give relief to the operators as they seek to expand their service coverage and upgrades around the country.

NTA’s EMR (Electromagnetic Radiation) Measurement Criteria

NTA has set a range of criteria in its scope of study for the chosen consulting firm. Below are some key requirements of the consulting firm as demanded by NTA.

The consulting firm shall obtain prior approval from the NTA management in case of the variation of the number of sites in the study in urban, suburban, and rural areas from the ones mentioned above.

NTA also says the EMR measurement shall revolve in the vicinity of schools, and hospitals to confirm their safety for the locals.

Besides, the consultant shall measure the EMR around cell towers originating from different frequency bands. These include 900/1800/2100/2300/2500 MHz for different cellular telecom technologies.

The data in different locations must be measured in relation to the standards NTA has set. The consultant must also confirm if the cell tower has adhered to the recommended specifications.

NTA says the firm shall also “recommend the further action to be taken by NTA to enforce the bylaw provisions relating to the protection of General public and occupations caused from the radio frequency in the mobile towers.”

Likewise, the regulator also mandates that the company shall measure the electromagnetic radiation using standard tools to derive accurate data.
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Source: Nepali Telecom Regulator, Dinesh, 04 Jan 2022

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