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Health fears Swiss cantons lack clout to ban 5G mobile network

Workers on an antenna

Critics warn that the the imminent arrival of 5G poses health risks to the population.

(© Keystone / Peter Klaunzer)

Swiss cantons do not have the legal authority to unilaterally impose moratoriums on the installation of the 5G (fifth generation) mobile communications network, the Federal Office of Communications (Ofcom) has stated.

The cantons of Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel and Vaud are reported to have declared or to be considering a moratorium on 5G antennas. The issue is also reportedly on the agenda in Bern, St Gallen and Schwyz.

But an Ofcomexternal link spokesperson told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper on Sunday that the federal authorities alone are responsible for determining the health risks to the public. “There is therefore no option for cantonal or communal regulations to protect people from mobile phone system radiation. The enactment of such regulations would be contrary to the law.”

A lawyer told the newspaper that local authorities only have powers to prevent the erection of individual masts if they fall foul of planning regulations.

The Swiss government sold 5G licences to mobile phone providers for a total of CHF380 million ($373 million). Last month, state-owned telecoms company Swisscom went live with its 5G network. Swisscom CEO Urs Schaeppi has criticised the proposed moratoriums as being in violation of federal law.

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