Initiative aims to overcome Swiss public’s 5G technology misconceptions

5G cables being fixed Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

Supporters of 5G mobile technology in Switzerland have launched a new website to engage in discussions with the general public about any technical, scientific and health concerns.

This content was published on July 10, 2020 - 13:14
Keystone-SDA/swissinfo.ch/sb

Around 45 figures from Swiss society, science, business and politics, as well as 19 associations, have joined forces to launch the “CHANCE5G” online platform on Friday. The initiative is financed by the Swiss Telecommunications Association (asut) and its members, which include telecom firms Sunrise, Swisscom, Cellnex, as well as Ericsson and Huawei

The organisers of the “CHANCE5G” platform claim that the development of 5G is being held back, both politically and within society, due to false conclusions and a lack of knowledge about the technology. It wants to improve dialogue around 5G and demonstrate the advantages of the technology via specific applications

In Switzerland, telecoms operators are already rolling out the new high-speed mobile technology. Sunrise claims to have the largest network in Switzerland, with more than 300 municipalities and 80% of the population covered. Swisscom, for its part, announced in December 2019 that it would cover 90% of the population via 5G technology

5G resistance

However, there has been certain resistance to 5G, especially in some French-speaking regions.

In January, 2,000 people turned out across the country to protest against the spread of 5G. The protests were part of an international campaign called by Stop5Ginternational.org, which wants people to “rise up against the threat of 5G wireless technology to public health, the environment, and to our privacy”. Similar demonstrations have taken place in some 30 countries.

According to the protesters, numerous scientists have warned of health, environmental, security and other risks attached to the introduction of 5G

The federal government has not yet issued guidelines on 5G and an expert report it commissioned last year proved inconclusive

In the face of public pressure, some western Swiss cantons such as Vaud, Geneva and Jura, have introduced a moratorium on the construction of new 5G antennae. Fribourg and Neuchâtel say the installation of 5G antennae is subject to the awarding of a building permit. Opponents of the technology are also pushing for a nationwide vote on the issue.

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