Reasons to oppose legislation that could reduce access to the copper landline phone system

Ongoing access to a safe copper landline phone and safe wired internet (using the copper landline system) in NZ is currently threatened by new legislation.  (Please see this LINK for details,)

There is now an extension period for submissions are due on the bill until March 30 2018 for Grey Power members.  (Please see this ttp:// for details including information on how to make a submission – it can take as little as five minutes.)

There are many reasons to oppose any legislation that could reduce New Zealander’s access to the safe home phone and internet services provided via the copper landline phone system.  These are listed below.


Maintaining New Zealanders’ access to copper based phone lines is important for two main reasons:


  • Public Health

  • Equity and Fairness


These are detailed below:


  • Public health


The copper based landline phone infrastructure allows almost everyone in New Zealand to have access to a safe home phone that will work even in a power outage.

The copper based infrastructure allows most people in New Zealand to choose to have an inexpensive corded phone.

Such a phone does not expose the user to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the microwave range as do cellular phones (or any other sort of wireless phone.)

Access to a safe corded phone is important because use of any type of wireless phone (such as cordless home phone or cellular phone) is associated with increased risk of brain tumours, particularly if wireless phone use begins prior to the age of 20. (

RFR microwave radiation has been classified by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a possible carcinogen (Class 2B) on the basis of increased brain tumour rates in longer term users of wireless phones.

(Babies and children absorb more of the RFR microwave radiation into their brains compared to adults as their skulls are smaller and the bones of their skulls thinner.)


The benefits of a safe corded home phone are many and include the following:


  • Allowing people to call emergency services if needed. (Cellular phone services cannot be relied upon in a power blackout as the local cellular infrastructure may lose its power source.)


  • Allowing people who are home bound due to illness or disability to maintain more frequent contact with friends and relatives thus reducing the social isolation that helps to cause many health issues, including depression.



  • A corded landline phone may be safely used by almost everyone including most individuals who are electrosensitive who cannot tolerate the microwave radiation from cordless or cellular phones. (Some people who are electrosensitive may not be able to tolerate electromagnetic fields produced by computers or computer screens so having a safe corded phone is particularly important to the community of people who are electrosensitive.)



Such an inexpensive safe hardwired system provide a safe alternative to wireless based internet options such as wi-fi or cellular phone based systems as the wireless systems expose the user, other household members and neighbours to RFR microwave radiation that has been classified as a possible human carcinogen. (


Accessing the internet via a hardwired computer (rather than a cellular phone) is better for people who have visual impairments as the larger screen size of the computer allows people to increase the font size to help to compensate for low vision.



  • Equity and Fairness



Much of New Zealand’s telephone infrastructure was installed at taxpayers’ expense beginning with the formation of The New Zealand Post and Telegraph Department in the 19 century.  The New Zealand Post Office was responsible for phone lines until telecommunications services were privatised in NZ in 1987.



  • A copper based corded landline phone is the safest type of phone (because this type of phone does not emit potentially carcinogenic RFR microwave radiation as do cordless or mobile phones).


It would be unfair to deny people who live in areas where fibre optic cabling has been laid to be deprived of the opportunity to continue to use safe copper based corded landline phones give that they are a proven and safe technology.


VOIP phones with corded headset could be considered to be an alternative to corded landline phones and VOIP phones will work with a fibre basd system,  They may be an acceptable option for some people. However the VOIP option can have lower voice quality and they may not good for hearing impaired or for people who have to talk on the phone in a language that is not their mother tongue.


Corded VOIP phones are also considerably more expensive (at least four times the price) than corded home phones and unlike traditional corded home phones, VOIP phones are dependent on electricity so will not work in a power blackout (unless the fibre system has a special component to to provide backup power in an emergency.


VOIP phones contain a lot more electronics than a basic corded home phone and may not be a usable option for people who are electrosensitive.


  • Homes and businesses that have a copper based landline infrastructure can use that copper landline to access inexpensive safe hardwired internet services.


It is unfair to expect people for whom copper phone line based internet works well for their home or business needs to have to pay extra cost to have fibre optic cabling installed in their home or business (as would be the case if a reliable copper landline service were no longer available in their area.)

(This link shows how easy and inexpensive it is to set up a safe hardwired internet system in a house or other property with copper phone line access:


  • Making any changes to telecommunications regulations that would be likely to increase the cost of and/or reduce access to safe copper based landline corded phones and safe copper phone line based internet could increase people’s use of wireless phones and wireless internet access devices.  if this were to happem it would likely to increase the numbers of people who are suffering from a diverse range of illnesses caused (at least in part) by exposure to RFR microwave radiation.


These health problems can include brain tumours, salivary gland cancers and other cancers at sites of the body exposed to high levels of RFR microwave radiation.  Other problems that have been linked to exposure to RFR microwave radiation include autism and other developmental problems and dementia.


Making any decisions about telecommunications infrastructure that could increase the numbers of people who become ill as a result of exposure to RFR microwave radiation (because they assume that the technology would not be on the market if it were not safe and they are unaware of the health risks of their devices) is not fair to the potential victims of this technology.  It is not fair to their families.


Neither it is not fair to the taxpayers who have to fund the public health system. It is also unfair to people who require treatment for any other conditions as they may face longer waiting lists.


NB: It is unclear if private insurance cover for conditions caused by RFR microwave radiation will continue as a policy from Lloyds of London indicates the company may no longer be prepared to cover these types of injuries.  (See:


Given that learning and behaviour issues can be at least in part caused or exacerbated by exposure to RFR microwave radiation (see: and, any decision that increases exposure to this type of radiation is likely to increase the numbers of children who have these conditions.  In turn, this is likely to mean that more children will require extra support within the education system.


This is not fair to teachers (because resources within the education system are already constrained so teachers often have to manage challenging children without support from teacher aides). [Personal communications] Neither is it fair to taxpayers who fund the public education system, nor the parents of children who are adversely affected who may have to pay for extra educational help themselves.



  • Any change to telecommunications policy that increases people’s use of cellular phones (for example because they no longer have access to a safe copper based landline corded phone) would increase the number of cellular phone infrastructure sites and the negative health and other impacts of these sites.  


Research has shown increased cancer risk in people who live closer to cellular phone infrastructure, so regulations that are likely to increase cellular phone use are unfair to people who could develop cancer as a result of new infrastructure being installed in their area. (


Property values close to cellular phone infrastructure sites may be adversely affected so any policy that causes proliferation of these sites is not fair to property owners.

Thank you for reading this post!  Now, please help share this information with others.

Please share this post widely such as through social media and with friends and family and ask others to make a submission.

A guide to making a submission may be found at the link below:

Save NZ’s landline phones – action needed NOW

Please also share the links below so that people understand the reasons why maintaining the copper based landline phone system is important:


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