The Belgian Institute of Postal and Telecommunications Sevices (“IBPT”) believes in a study, published on Monday, that radiation standards in force in Brussels should be adapted to enable 5G deployment in the capital. The findings form part of a technical study around the impact of these standards on the implementation of such a technology. It cautions, “Without relaxing the Brussels radiation standards, no new radio frequency can now be brought into service.”
The study was produced at the request of the Minister for Telecommunications, Alexander De Croo (of the Flemish Liberal-Conservative Liberal Open Vld party) and the Brussels Minister for the Environment, Céline Fremault (Christian democratic French–speaking Humanist Democratic Centre). The telecoms regulator has limited its technical expertise in this project to determining the conditions necessary as regards light radiation standards for the desired development of 5G, the fifth generation mobile network. The regulator has not looked into environmental or public health issues.
Modified in 2014, the radiation standards in the capital all the same deployed 4G “in more or less acceptable conditions.” The IBPT warns, “However mobile networks (2G, 3G and 4G) are already clearly saturated within the framework of the current standard of 6 V/m [Volts per meter].”
Concerning future mobile networks, in this case 4.5G and 5G, Brussels is so strict in its interpretation that this has the effect of reducing the flexibility for network deployment, especially in terms of optimal site location. The IBPT analyses that this also has an impact on coverage, through the restrictions to signals emitted through the antennae, and therefore on the service quality provided to users.
The Institute advises strongly against a cumulative limit below 14.5 V/m in Brussels for a frequency of 900 MHz, “taking account of the expected increase in data traffic and the desired deployment of 5G.” It therefore proposes the adoption of the higher standard of 14.5 V/m, with the capacity to go up to 41.5 V/m.