Switzerland, one of the world’s leaders in the rollout of 5G mobile technology, has placed an indefinite moratorium on the use of its new network because of health concerns.
The move comes as countries elsewhere around Europe race to upgrade their networks to 5G standards amid a furious rearguard diplomatic campaign by the US to stop them using Chinese technology provided by Huawei. Washington says the company, which is fundamental to most European networks’ upgrade plans, presents a grave security risk.
Switzerland is relatively advanced in Europe in adopting 5G. The wealthy alpine country has built more than 2,000 antennas to upgrade its network in the last year alone, and its telecoms providers have been promising their customers’ imminent 5G coverage for most of the past year.
However, a letter sent by the Swiss environment agency, Bafu, to the country’s cantonal governments at the end of January, has now in effect called time on the use of all new 5G towers, officials who have seen the letter told the Financial Times.
The agency is responsible for providing the cantons with safety criteria against which telecoms operators’ radiation emissions can be judged. Under Switzerland’s highly federalised structure, telecoms infrastructure is monitored for compliance and licensed by cantonal authorities, but Bern is responsible for setting the framework.
Bafu has said it cannot yet provide universal criteria without further testing of the impact of 5G radiation.
This seems to have been refuted here though:
Switzerland denies halting 5G rollouts
13 FEB 2020
Environmental officials in Switzerland told Mobile World Live ( MWL ) reports of a blanket ban on future 5G infrastructure deployments in the country due to health concerns were not accurate, with local authorities instead tasked with ruling on the siting of the kit.
Responding to a report by Financial Times ( FT ), a representative of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) admitted it had recently written to the nation’s 26 regional authorities, known as cantons, regarding the placement of 5G equipment. However, the representative said an FT assertion the communication called on cantons to put planning permission for next-generation equipment on ice was “misleading”.
“The Federal Office for the Environment’s (FOEN) letter to the cantons does not contain any recommendation to stop the permitting of 5G base stations” the representative told MWL , adding: “Rather, it sets out how the cantons can proceed with the permitting of 5G and adaptive antennas until FOEN’s enforcement aid on adaptive antennas is available.”
However, the FOEN representative noted “some cantons and municipalities” had imposed moratoria on 5G planning permission, but added these do “not affect Switzerland in general”.