EMF, Radiofrequencies, Spectrum & Radiation
According to the World Health Organization (the WHO), electromagnetic fields (EMF) are present everywhere in our environment, but are typically invisible to the human eye. There are natural and man-made sources of EMF, such as ultra-violet rays that are naturally generated by the sun and medical x-ray technology, which is a man-made source. Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) on the Electromagnetic Spectrum are categorised as Ionizing and Non-Ionizing Radiation. To find out more, click here.
All wireless technologies use radiofrequencies to communicate with other devices, like TVs, radios, WiFi and mobile phones. Radiofrequencies, also referred to as radio waves, are measured by wavelength and frequency and are carried on the Radio Spectrum, which is part of the wider Electromagnetic Spectrum.
Radio Spectrum is part of the wider Electromagnetic Spectrum and Radio Spectrum is classed as Non-Ionizing Radiation.
Radio Spectrum, also referred to as radio waves, ranges in frequency from 3kHz (Kilo Hertz) on the low end to 300 GHz (Giga Hertz). Radio Spectrum is allocated and managed by local and international agencies, like the US Federal Communications Commission, to help avoid interference between the wireless services that are carried on these various radio frequencies.
Ofcom, the regulator of the UK’s electronic communications sector, states it is important to note that humans cannot feel or see EMF in the Radio Spectrum, but any device that communicates wirelessly needs some form of spectrum. There is a limited amount of Spectrum available on Earth and different parts are allocated for specific uses. For example, Radio Spectrum used to connect your computer to the internet using WiFi is different from what is used for a mobile telephone.
Radiation exists all around us and comes from both natural sources, like the sun, as well as man-made sources. Radiation is energy that comes from a source and travels through space at the speed of light. This energy has an electric field and a magnetic field associated with it. The energy has wave-like properties and is also referred to as radiation electromagnetic waves (or radio waves).
Radiation from the Electromagnetic Spectrum is split between Ionizing and Non-Ionizing. The dividing line between Ionizing and Non-Ionizing Radiation occurs in the ultraviolet part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Radiation in the ultraviolet band and at lower energies (to the left of ultraviolet) is called Non-Ionizing Radiation, while at the higher energies to the right of the ultraviolet band is called Ionizing Radiation. To find out more, click here.
Ionizing Radiation is “a form of energy that acts by removing electrons from atoms and molecules of materials that include air, water, and living tissue.” Ionizing Radiation, like gamma rays and x-rays, is produced from shorter radio waves with higher energy frequencies.
Non-Ionizing Radiation, is “a form of radiation with less energy than Ionizing Radiation. Unlike Ionizing Radiation, Non-Ionizing Radiation does not remove electrons from atoms or molecules of materials that include air, water and living tissue.” Non-Ionizing Radiation differs from Ionizing Radiation in the way it acts on materials like air, water and living tissue.
Non-Ionizing Radiation travels on longer electromagnetic waves with lower energy frequencies. Examples of technologies that emit Non-Ionizing Radiation include, but are not limited to, computers and mobile phones. Towards the middle of the Electromagnetic Spectrum is visible light from the sun, which is categorised as Non-Ionizing Radiation and travels on medium sized wave lengths.
Click here to reference a graphic chart that shows the ranges of Radiation from the Electromagnetic Spectrum, which includes the Radio Spectrum.
Guielines for EMF and Radiation exposure vary in different jurisdictions around the world. One of the most common references is the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines for Limiting Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (EMF – 100 kHz to 300 GHz), which is recognised by the World Health Organization (the WHO). Additional information on exposure to electromagnetic fields is available from Ofcom, the electronic communications regulator for the UK, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How to Submit a Dispute
The RA will intervene in unresolved disputes between consumers and their regulated service providers only after the consumer has made all reasonable attempts to resolve the dispute directly with their service provider. Disputes involving the Electronic Communications sector can include, but may not be limited to, fixed and mobile telephone services; internet access; internet service providers (ISP); and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). For the Electricity sector, disputes can include, but may not be limited to, outages; surges; and property damage. For both sectors, dispute categories include matters related to: unclear or incorrect billing; customer service; unclear marketing or false advertising; rates and rate increases; technical service issues; and other.
The first step is to contact your service provider. Before the RA can consider a dispute, the service provider must be given a reasonable amount of time, as per their Service Level Agreement (SLA), to resolve the dispute.
Integrated Resource Plan (IRP)
Bermuda’s first energy plan, also referred to as the IRP (Integrated Resource Plan), is a forecast of the island’s long-term electricity needs for the next 25 years. With a primary focus on renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy and biomass technology, the IRP will help to stabilize the cost of fossil fuels and inflation, provide opportunities for jobs and training to support the renewable infrastructure, and deliver safe and reliable energy for our children and future generations. Because of this, the IRP will periodically be updated through review processes and will take future renewable technologies into consideration as they are developed. Visit the IRP page on the RA’s website for additional details.
Typically, renewable energy uses energy sources that are continually replenished by nature e.g.: the sun, wind, water, the earth’s heat and plants. Renewable energy technologies turn these fuels into usable forms of energy. Bermuda’s first IRP will focus on solar, wind and biomass as sources of renewable energy.
STABILIZED ENERGY PRICES: Renewable energy sources will provide a more stable cost for energy than with the current scenario, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: As more renewable energy sources are developed for the island, job opportunities will be created for Bermudians to support the infrastructure through the construction, operation and maintenance of renewable energy facilities. Training for specialized jobs will also be supported through the government and Work Force Development.
CLEANER ENERGY: High renewables are more environmentally friendly, with zero emissions from wind and solar.
RELIABLE AND SECURE ENERGY: The IRP will deliver clean, continual sources of diverse energy.
REDUCED CARBON FOOTPRINT: Reducing Bermuda’s dependence on fossil fuels for energy production will help to protect and preserve the environment.
UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC: Large scale energy generation through the use of commercial grade solar panels.
DISTRIBUTED GENERATION: The use of small-scale solar panels, often used on residential homes, to generate energy close to the end user power sites; this energy can also be transmitted from private sources to BELCO’s grid, which can then be redistributed across the entire island.
WIND POWER: The use of air flow through wind turbines to turn generators that produce energy.
BIOMASS GENERATION: Fuel that is developed from organic materials such as forest debris, animal manure and certain types of waste residues, and is used to produce energy.
Local Number Portability
Porting cellphone numbers has been available since March 3rd, 2014. Porting fixed line numbers has been available since April 7th, 2014.
First contact the provider you wish to move to. Review their services, rates and contract terms, including any minimum term requirements. Your new provider will check whether your existing number is eligible to be ported. You will sign a Porting Request Form to appoint the new provider as your agent, to close your account with the previous provider. This form contains important information about the porting (see below). When you port a fixed line number you must indicate whether you want the internet services associated with that number to be continued or cancelled. You are required to select features and services with your new provider. NOTE: Features and services of your old account are NOT transferred. Once the porting is completed, you will be informed. The previous provider service will be deactivated.
Keep your service active – do not cancel the current service before switching. The number must be active to be ported. Pay your accounts on time. Accounts that are in arrears will not be ported. This does not apply to pre-pay accounts. Read your existing contract carefully to learn about any early termination fees or other contractual requirements such as termination notice. You will need your account number for this. You will be asked to present photo ID and a current bill to the new service provider. Clear your messages before porting. Messages stored by the previous provider will be lost on porting. Provide an alternative contact number so you can be contacted during the porting process if necessary. Back up the contacts stored on your SIM before beginning the porting process.
Only the account holder can authorize porting. For prepaid mobile services, unused prepaid balances will be lost on porting. For fixed and post-paid mobile services, the balance of the previous account including any early termination charges must be paid to the previous service provider. Voicemail messages and undelivered text messages with the previous service provider will be lost upon porting. It may no longer be possible to use the MMS service. Ask your service provider before porting. If your mobile device is locked to the previous service provider network it will need to be unlocked.
Porting requests usually occur within one business day. You can discuss the timing with the new service provider. Up to five (5) working days may be needed if a new landline is to be installed.
All local mobile phone numbers can be ported. Not all fixed service providers have elected to support porting in and out. This facility has been required by the RA and applied to switching from: BTC, Digicel, FKBNet, LinkBermuda, Logic, OneCommunications and Telecommunication Networks.
Managing Roaming Data on Your Mobile Devices
It is important to note that your mobile device may use both voice and data technology. Significant charges can result when data is used while roaming, (e. g. sending and receiving emails, using the web and apps). Monitor your data usage and check with your service provider about data roaming charges before you travel.
Visit the RA’s Data Roaming page for helpful tips on how to avoid roaming charges while traveling overseas. it is easy to turn off data when roaming. Follow the simple steps provided in your mobile device user guide and contact your service provider for further assistance. Use free public Wi-Fi wherever available and set your device to airplane mode, which turns off all roaming networks and will prevent roaming charges.
Visit the RA’s Data Roaming page for helpful tips on how to avoid roaming charges while traveling overseas. It is easy to turn off data when roaming. Follow the simple steps provided in your mobile device user guide and contact your service provider for further assistance. Use free public Wi-Fi wherever available and you can also set your device to airplane mode, which turns off all roaming networks and will prevent roaming charges.
Public Consultations are published on the RA’s website and invite responses from sectoral providers, consumers and all interested parties. Responses submitted by the published deadline are reviewed, considered and posted on the RA’s website.
An Open Public Consultation is one that is currently available for public feedback, meaning it is open for comment until the published deadline date. Once the end date for public comment has passed, the Public Consultation will be moved to the Active category. Active Consultations are in process, but no longer open for public feedback. When the Public Consultation process is complete and Administrative Determinations have been made, then the Consultation is considered to be Closed. Click here to view all Public Consultations.
The RA welcomes your opinion and all opinions on Public Consultations should be submitted as a formal response. Please refer to the information noted above in “How do I submit a response” for additional details.
Comments are published on the RA’s website unless declared confidential. Confidential material should be separated to a clearly marked annex. An explanation should be provided in writing with a reason why the information is confidential. The names of private individual respondents to the consultation will not be made public.
After reviewing and considering responses to a Public Consultation, the RA makes a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners (the Board). The Board makes a General Determination (GD), which is gazetted in the local newspaper and published under Administrative Determinations on the RA’s website. Sectoral providers are issued a deadline to implement the new regulations.
Decisions are published on the RA’s website. Refer to Electricity Administrative Determinations and Electronic Communications Administrative Determinations.
Unlocking a Cellphone or Mobile Device
or why additional time is needed.
Yes. There will be no need to unlock your phone again if you change SIM cards. Unlocked devices may still show the name of the previous service provider. The logo or splash screen is programmed to the device and does not indicate the current service provider. Unlocking the device does not change the splash screen.
Looking for More Information?
If you are in need of further information that you can’t find in our FAQ’s, please get in touch.