Fifth-generation (5G) mobile communications antennas are starting to go up in Switzerland. Not everyone is happy about this.
In the world of mobile technology, the main challenge at the moment is 5G. The new generation of mobile data promises data rates up to 100 times faster than the current 4G and instantaneous transfer. This will enable above all the development of device connectivity – a revolution that will see for example vehicles communicating with each other in traffic.
Mobile telephone operators have begun installing new antennas to support the technology. Swisscom, one of the country’s main providers, is promising 5G in 60 cities by the end of the year and Sunrise is promising 5G in 150 municipalities by the end of March.
But 5G is divisive in Switzerland. While some people say it’s indispensable for economic development, others are afraid of the increased radiation coming from the antennas. The result is that antenna construction projects are running into petitions, political interference and opposition.
Swisscom spokesman Christian Neuhaus claims there’s no danger. “The frequencies are the same as what we’ve been using for years. They’ve been analysed in thousands of studies and not one has managed to prove scientifically that there’s a serious risk to health,” he told Swiss public television.
Michel Matter, vice-president of the Swiss Medical Association, is more cautious. He says the situation is very clear for the medical association: follow the precautionary principle. Health comes first. “Clear questions exist linked mainly to cancer of the nervous system,” he says.
So are the antennas dangerous or not? Time will tell. But for now, it’s the heated debate that’s causing hot heads.
(Translated from French by Thomas Stephens), swissinfo.ch