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02 August 2019

Switzerland: 5G Delayed Due to Objections and Moratoria

In Switzerland a rather rare picture: 5G antenna in Langenthal. Photo: Nicole Philipp

5G delayed due to objections and moratoria
by Simon Widmer, Tagesanzeiger.ch, 28 July 2019 - auto-translation

One in three Sunrise and Swisscom antenna construction applications has a complaint pending.

In Switzerland a rather rare picture: 5G antenna in
Langenthal. Photo: Nicole Philipp
When it comes to the introduction of the new 5G mobile communications standard, telecom providers cannot go fast enough. Sunrise and Swisscom in particular have announced ambitious expansion plans. On the company website, Swisscom promises to introduce 5G throughout Switzerland by the end of the year. Sunrise CEO Olaf Swantee also spoke of being able to offer 5G "in all regions" this year.

However, the resistance to 5G is much greater than previously known. According to the "Schutz vor Strahlung" association, 110 construction applications are pending throughout Switzerland. The number of unknown complaints is probably considerable.

A spokeswoman for Salt admits that the mobile operator will have to revise its expansion plans: "We assume that the objections will lead to delays and additional costs in the introduction of 5G. Salt did not want to provide more detailed information on the launch plan.

Swisscom has suspended its application in Baar, Zug

Sunrise and Swisscom say that there has been an appeal against every third construction application. Sunrise points out that the 5G moratoria in Geneva and Vaud will lead to delays. "In the cantons that have opted for delaying tactics with moratoria, a lag of up to 30 percent compared with the other cantons must be expected," says a spokeswoman.

Swisscom, on the other hand, is sticking to its goal of providing 90 percent of the population with 5G by the end of the year, according to a spokeswoman. However, for the first time, a current case shows that the anti-5G camp with its objections can at least delay the expansion of telecom providers.

In Baar ZG, several people have filed complaints against the conversion of a Swisscom antenna. The local authority wrote to Swisscom in response that it would probably not approve the conversion. Swisscom then suspended its application, as the telecommunications provider confirmed.

The reason for the negative decision is the so-called adaptive antennas, which are used in the 5G network. These no longer emit constantly high and continuous radiation, but focus specifically on the mobile phone as soon as it is needed. However, the cantons do not know how to measure the radiation exposure of this new type of antenna.

The municipality of Baar now wants to wait until the federal government makes specifications in this regard. The responsible Federal Office for the Environment announces on its website that it will publish corresponding guidelines "in the course of 2019". Swisscom did not want to provide any further information for the decision.

Appeals against all 5G conversions are not possible

However, in the case of antenna sites already in use, a so-called small claims procedure, in which there is no possibility for objections, is often sufficient. Only the canton of Fribourg decided a few weeks ago that all 5G conversion applications must undergo a proper construction procedure. However, this remains an exception. The telecom providers did not want to disclose on request how high the proportion of such small claims is in the 5G expansion.

Fears of 5G are also rising among the population. According to a survey conducted by the agency "Die Marktforscher" in May 2019, 44 percent of those surveyed feared that the introduction of 5G would have negative to very negative effects, compared with 22 percent a year earlier.

Sunrise boss Swantee was disturbed recently by the fact that the 5G opponents were campaigning with "false facts" in this newspaper. He called for more political support to refute fake news campaigns. In fact, Youtube and its websites contain numerous conspiracy theories that see 5G as a way of controlling human thought or enslaving humanity.

However, the anti-5G camp should not be influenced by Swantee's announcement. A media release published a few days ago by several organizations can only be understood as a declaration of war. The press release states that it wants "to ensure that all construction applications for 5G antennas are blocked with objections and challenged in court until a legal practice is established that takes account of health protection and the precautionary principle".

Article first published in the SonntagsZeitung on 28 July 2019.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator


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