2022: the year of the mobile federal reports
We all know the fairy tales and myths surrounding mobile communications and how unsettling they are for many people. Once in the world, they remain. A fact-based discussion based on systematic surveys and measurements is all the more important. The federal government and its offices published comprehensive reports on 5G and mobile communications in 2022.
2022 was the year of reporting on mobile communications and radiation exposure. The responsible federal offices have published three reports with important findings, which we will discuss in more detail in this article. The technical development of mobile communications is going exactly where mobile communications critics have been demanding for almost 30 years: as little radiation as possible, as much as necessary.
1. “Sustainable Mobile Network”
The first report published by the Federal Council relates to the Häberli-Koller postulate (19.4043)(opens in new tab)Proposed in 2019 by the Thurgau representative Brigitte Häberli-Koller. Among other things, it obliges the Federal Council to examine how “radiation protection” can be optimally achieved and at the same time ensure the introduction of the current generation of mobile phones.
According to the report, 5G networks have “clear advantages” in terms of performance and “radiation exposure” over the older standards. The report shows that deploying 5G networks with adaptive antennas and high antenna density would generate the lowest radiation exposure. The report thus establishes what has been explained several times in the various blog posts: the antenna belongs in the village – and in the middle of the village – if you want to reduce radiation exposure.
2. Non-ionizing Radiation Surveillance Report
The second FOEN report deals with the systematic monitoring of mobile phone emissions. Rather than focusing on theory, the report looks at actual measurements that show which claims are true and which aren’t. Researchers evaluated 15 million measuring points. Measurements were taken at 70 locations in Switzerland, divided into nine different “micro-environments” from very rural to very urban.
The experts carried out measurements along routes and at defined points and came to the conclusion that the values were well below the limit values. The authors write on page 53: “The (…) measured field strengths reached a maximum of 15% of the exposure limit value in publicly accessible areas, while in most cases they were in the low single-digit percentage range. In the private dwellings measured to date (which are generally subject to a system limit value that is 10 times stricter), the maximum utilization of the exposure limit value was less than 4%.”
Data on homes is still limited in the first report, which critics can use to their advantage. However, the report also shows something else: Due to the multiple safety distances of today’s processes, the radio signals are greatly overestimated when the values are calculated and the limit values are far from being reached in reality.
This large discrepancy has consequences: With increasing customer demand, more antennas are needed because the existing ones have to work with the handbrake on. With a realistic implementation of the Ordinance on Protection from Non-Ionizing Radiation (ONIR), an increase in the number of antennas could be partially avoided. Critical readers note that Switzerland takes a decidedly one-sided view of risk – and they are not wrong.
3. Electric field strengths in the effective range of mobile phone antennas
The third report, prepared by OFCOM, examines adaptive antennas in detail. Despite the somewhat unwieldy title, this report contains a very concrete finding. The report shows that the much-criticized adaptive antennas – often described pathetically – reduce radio signals. The explanation is clear: “With adaptive antennas, on the other hand, the radio signals can only be measured when the data-requesting handsets are in the vicinity of the measurement location. Conventional antennas.” Consider that the previous conventional antennas constantly broadcast in all directions. In other words, the previous antennas are like concert speakers that play music for everyone, while the new antennas work like headphones, you only hear the music when you want to listen.
Finally, the three federal offices FOEN, OFCOM and BAG have also launched a joint information platform: www.5g-info.ch(opens in new tab). The Federal Government is thus answering questions about mobile communications related to technology, radiation exposure and health, etc.
The government reports have provided clarity, with measurements showing the facts in black and white. The developments continue. The technology is improving. Immissions from electromagnetic radiation are still very low, although we all use 200 times more data today than we did 10 years ago. 5G meets many of the demands made by cellphone critics. Adaptive antennas reduce immissions for non-users. Anyone who has concerns should support the expansion of the next generation. Blocking antenna projects in villages achieves exactly the opposite of what is normally intended: more radiation for users, not less.
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