Irish people are amongst the world’s top 5G sceptics, according to a new study.
Research carried out by UK-based software firm Prolifics Testing found that Ireland ranks 15th out of 155 countries in terms of sceptical online searches about 5G wireless mobile technology.
The US and UK are by far the most doubtful about 5G, with Australia and Canada coming next on the league table. Denmark and Austria are the least doubtful about the technology.
People in Ireland carry out an average of 3,370 ‘sceptical’ searches a month on 5G, using recurring questions such as, “Is 5G dangerous?” or, “Does 5G cause/spread coronavirus (Covid-19)?”.
The US topped the league table with 374,700 negative online searches a month, while the UK came next with 93,400.
Within the EU, Poles, Germans and Dutch people are the most likely to question the benefits of 5G technology, typing an average of between 16,000 and 20,000 sceptical questions a month into Google.
Italy, France Spain and Sweden also rank above Ireland in the league table, which used data collated between 19 and 22 February this year.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization have both said that, according to existing research, the radio frequencies used for 5G have no adverse health effects.
The survey comes the day after the European Investment Bank (EIB) revealed a financing gap of up to €6.6bn for EU tech start-ups working on 5G applications.
The Bank said the bloc is falling behind its competitors in the US and China because public and private investors are either afraid to or don’t know where to invest.
The EIB report said there are too many tech hubs across the bloc, with Ireland highlighted as a “medtech” and “hardware” capital in a group of 15 other hubs.
US tech companies are concentrated in San Francisco and New York, making it easier for investors to find and fund them, and scale up financing.
Geopolitical tensions have dogged 5G’s rollout across the world, with Chinese mobile giant Huawei banned from network infrastructure in the UK, US and Australia last year.
Three Ireland’s 5G launch took around a year longer than its main competitors, Eir and Vodafone, after the company made a late switch away from Huawei to Swedish provider Ericsson.