Berlin – Together with local authorities, the federal government wants to increase citizens’ understanding of the construction of new cell towers and convince “5G skeptics”.
The Corona crisis made it clear once again how important high-performance digital infrastructures and continuous accessibility were, according to a letter from the Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer (CSU) and Minister of the Environment Svenja Schulze (SPD) to local authorities. It is available to the German press agency.
This is due to concerns in the population, for example, about radiation exposure. There are numerous citizens’ initiatives. It is also criticized that transmission towers would spoil the landscape.
In the letter from the ministers, in order to enable the current 4G mobile radio standard across the board, transmission masts would still have to be built, especially in rural Rau. The 5G mobile radio standard also requires the establishment of new, often smaller, transmission infrastructures.
The municipalities have an important task. “They have to participate in the search for a location for new mobile radio systems and ultimately have to actively support the planned transmitters on site,” says the minister’s letter to the “politically responsible” people in cities, towns and counties.
The federal government decided on a mobile communications strategy last November. Internet and cell phone reception should be fundamentally improved. There are still dead spots, especially in the countryside. An information campaign is intended to promote understanding of new radio masts – before the start, the ministers now wrote the letter to the municipalities.
The aim is to provide “transparent and neutral” information about technical properties, fields of application and possibilities of the new technology as well as social risks. “The concerns of 5G skeptics about the health effects of electromagnetic fields often go hand in hand with a general rejection of the advancing digitization process,” the letter said.
“Our common concern is to sharpen the judgment of those involved in the discussion in order to be able to better differentiate between scientifically based knowledge and mere allegations.” The Federal Government will provide comprehensive support to cities and municipalities in expanding their mobile communications, for example through a support program and support in finding a location.
5G forms the framework for applications with artificial intelligence and is the backbone of networked and automated mobility. The same legal limit values with regard to electromagnetic fields would apply to the new mobile radio standard as to the previous standards – these were based on numerous scientific studies.
“If these limit values are observed, radio systems are considered to be harmless to health according to the nationally and internationally recognized scientific knowledge,” the letter says. In practice, the limit values would generally be well undercut. The Federal Government will support research where there are still open questions. The letter refers to a collection of questions and answers on the subject of 5G.
The president of the digital association Bitkom, Achim Berg, said the new 5G standard is a paradigm shift in mobile and network technology. “We have to push ahead with the expansion as well and as quickly as possible in order to be among the pioneers internationally in the Internet of Things.” That is why his association expressly welcomes the joint campaign by the federal government and municipalities to provide information about the new technology, reduce unfounded fears and create broad acceptance for 5G expansion.