10:35 GMT27 January 2021
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    The Ofcom report comes amid a string of attacks on British 5G base stations due to conspiracy theories being published on social media amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

    159 5G operator masts were attacked by Brits in 2020 over COVID-19 conspiracy theories, leading to roughly 170,000 hours of network downtime, UK telecoms regulator Ofcom wrote in a report this week.

    Ofcom's Connected Nations report found that vandals in the UK had launched an unprecedented number of attacks on British 5G infrastructure due to the unproven conspiracy theories.

    “Over this year, a number of unsubstantiated claims have circulated, often through social media. Prior to this, there were also false claims that the Electromagnetic Field (EMF) emissions of 5G base stations posed an increased risk to people’s health,” the report read.

    But the report added that Britain's mobile networks had remained operational during the pandemic despite the attacks.

    The news comes after Ofcom published findings on its electromagnetic field (EMF) measurements from 10 cities in the UK, which found 5G base stations were "small fractions of the levels identified in the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines", with the highest levels totally roughly 1.5 percent of those for guidelines.

    Despite this, 5G base station coverage had expanded tenfold across the UK, or roughly 3,000 units, the report revealed. 87 percent, 7 percent and 3 percent were in England, Scotland and both Wales and Northern Ireland, respectively.

    The news comes after US tech giant Google began cracking down on adverts with "misleading health claims" linked to COVID-19 and 5G conspiracies in April, with such content being flagged under the firm's sensitive events policy from January.

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    Tags:
    Google, Ofcom, vandalism, conspiracy theory, mobile Internet, 5G network, 5g mobile internet, 5G
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