Citizens blocking the 5G network, telecom providers say

Mobile communication antenna
Mobile communication antennaPhoto: igorgolovniov/DepositPhotos

Telecom providers in the Netherlands are having a hard time putting up the extra mobile masts necessary for the 5G network, they said to newspaper AD. Residents are doing all they can to block the installation of these masts due to concerns over radiation, though there is no conclusive scientific evidence that this entails health risks and the radiation seems to be below the limits set by the authorities, the newspaper reports.

The Netherlands currently counts around 18 thousand mobile antennas. That will increase by at least 10 percent in the coming years, for super fast mobile internet 5G. 

KPN alone currently has 300 applications for new masts and antennas in progress. "In many cases, this is particularly slow," CEO Joost Farweck said to AD. The company is experiencing the same opposition it did when new masts were built for the 3G network. In the auction plan for the 5G networks, the government requires a higher national coverage ratio of at least 98 percent. "We as KPN are for that, but it must be made possible for us to provide this coverage," Farweck said. 

T-Mobile and Vodafone confirmed this picture. "We see that people prefer not have antennas in their immediate environment," T-Mobile said to the newspaper.

Interest organization Monet, which maintains contact with the government on behalf of the three telecom companies, told AD that the government forces telecoms to spend billions of euros on the mobile frequencies. "It can not be the case that on the one hand we have to dig deep into the wallets and then be thwarted locally in countless places," director Rob Bongenaar said to the newspaper. Local residents are also pressuring companies into taking existing antennas off their roofs, he added. "Keeping the existing antenna park up and running is already a challenge. Let alone realizing the expansion required for 5G."

Monet and KPN call on the government to help.