The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) published a report on February 23rd, 2021, with the aim of facilitating the deployment of 5G in certain cantons and municipalities. However, the key information was not conveyed as intended. Indeed, this report indicates that the adaptive antennas used by 5G require a different method of calculating radiation than that used for conventional antennas. This information was misinterpreted and misreported by some media outlets. Additionally, anti 5G campaigners took this opportunity to make false statements, including that the European Union has much stricter regulations than Switzerland in terms of non-ionizing radiation. Given the importance of our mobile infrastructure for the future of our societies, it is necessary to clarify this issue, which has clearly been misused.

Photo by Jack Sloop on Unsplash

In fact, Swiss companies who are trying to implement 5G have run into two major issues: Firstly, the Ordinance on Protection against Non-Ionizing Radiation (NISO) has set limits on non-ionizing radiation levels in Switzerland that are 10 times stricter than the European Union. Secondly, moratoriums have been put in place in many cantons that do not allow for 5G infrastructure to be set up.

FOEN is set to solve the first issue faced by 5G proponents by publishing a report on adaptive antennas, the antennas used by 5G. The report corroborates the fact that the antennas concentrate the non-ionizing radiation in the direction of the user’s cell phone while decreasing the non-ionizing radiation exposure in different directions. The radiation coming from adaptive antennas is, therefore, measured in a different way. These antennas will allow the non-ionizing radiation limit to remain under the level that NISO has set.

Network operators such as Swisscom will still have to put new antennas in place to achieve a working 5G infrastructure. While over 90 percent of Switzerland has access to 5G it is actually just a faster form of 4G. The real 5G that is 10 times faster than 4G is only accessible in a small number of places, so there is still a lot of work to be done, but the new measurement system will increase the rollout speed.

 Opponents of 5G have largely ignored FOENs report or dismissed it as a ploy by the government to advance Swiss economic needs over the health of the Swiss population. They are unwilling to accept that 5Gs non-ionizing radiation levels have not been shown to be dangerous. Instead, they continue to use evidence like the unrecognized illness, electro-magnetic sensitivity, to support their campaign against 5G instead of listening to reason.