Friday, 10 April 2020

Switzerland pauses 5G over health fears

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Thursday 13 February 20

As a leader in the rollout of 5G, the decision to put the brakes on 5G is a strange one

Countries throughout Europe are racing to deploy 5G networks and, until now, Switzerland has been one of the front runners.    Having already built 2,000 antennas to upgrade its network last year alone, 5G appeared imminent for the landlocked nation.    But a letter from the Swiss environmental agency…

Countries throughout Europe are racing to deploy 5G networks and, until now, Switzerland has been one of the front runners. 
 
Having already built 2,000 antennas to upgrade its network last year alone, 5G appeared imminent for the landlocked nation. 
 
But a letter from the Swiss environmental agency, Bafu, to local governments has put a stop to the use of all new 5G towers. 
 
Bafu, which is in charge of the safety criteria surrounding telecoms operators’ radiation emissions, has said that it needs more time to fully get to grips with the health impact of 5G radiation. 
 
“Bafu will examine exposure through adaptive [5G] antennas in depth, if possible in real-world operational conditions. This work will take some time,” said the letter from Bafu, noting that there was not currently an international standard for recommendations. 
 
Without Bafu’s criteria, operators are going to be limited to existing guidelines on radiation exposure, precluding the use of 5G in most cases.
 
While no specific standards appear to exist as such, the health risks posed by 5G radiation has been studied in depth, with no evidence of any adverse effects. 
 
Swisscom, the country’s largest operator, said that while it understands the fears that are “often expressed around new technologies”, there is in “no evidence that antenna radiation within the limit values adversely affects human health”.
 
It also lamented the fact that Switzerland’s regulations were “10-times stricter than those recommended by the World Health Organization in places where people stay for longer periods of time”.
 
As neighbouring countries vie for 5G dominance, it seems a strange decision to intentionally slow the rollout in Switzerland. However, the government has been under pressure from various anti-5G groups, seeing protests against the technology in a handful of major cities including Bern, Zurich, and Geneva.
 
Swisscom, for their part, will continue to build out their 5G infrastructure, even if they cannot operate it at full capacity immediately. 
 
 
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