Opponents of 5G start campaign to force nationwide vote

The text wants a clear separation between indoor and outdoor use of mobile telephony and internet services. Keystone / Sina Schuldt

Anti-5G groups have announced their intention to launch a popular initiative to limit radiation from mobile communications technology.  

This content was published on October 15, 2019 - 11:45

The Federal Chancellery has approved the launch of an initiative titled “For a health conscious and energy-efficient mobile communications”, according to the Federal Gazette published on Tuesday. The text of the initiative requests that the limit values set by the Ordinance on Protection against Non-Ionising Radiation should not be increased. 

The text wants a clear separation between indoor and outdoor use of mobile telephony and internet services. This means the power of the transmitters should be lowered so that electromagnetic radiation does not enter homes. Indoors, data would be transmitted by fibre-optic or coaxial cables and not by electromagnetic waves. 

Other measures include introducing zones on public transport that prohibit the use of electronic devices. Public buildings such as schools, hospitals or old-age homes should be equipped against electromagnetic radiation. Operators planning to install new antennas or increase the power of existing ones should obtain the written consent of local residents within a 400-metre radius. People particularly sensitive to electromagnetic radiation would have free access to counselling centres. 


The proponents of the initiative have until April 15, 2021 to collect the 100,000 signatures needed to force a nationwide vote.  

Despite numerous objections to 5G, mobile operators have begun to expand their network with the goal of offering complete coverage of Switzerland. However, several French-speaking cantons have taken precautionary measures. 

Geneva, Vaud and Jura have declared a moratorium pending the conclusions of a report by the Federal Office for the Environment on the issue. At the beginning of June, Fribourg decided to make the installation of antennas subject to the granting of a building permit. Neuchâtel wants to apply the precautionary principle, while Valais has refused to introduce a moratorium. 

What is 5G?

Fifth generation wireless technology offers much faster data speeds for mobile communications than previous generations: up to 10 gigabits per second, which is fast enough to download a high-definition movie in seconds, and up to 100 times faster than current 4G technology. This kind of speed offers potential for the integration of 5G with other emerging technologies, notably smart mobility, virtual reality, and digitised health and industry processes.

Data capacity rates are also greater than those for 3G or 4G networks, while consuming less energy overall and offering improved efficiency. 

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