THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CN) — The Dutch government can roll out a faster telecom network nationwide after a judge in The Hague ruled against anti-5G activists on Monday.
The nonprofit organization STOP5GNL sued the Dutch government this year to try to stop the planned auction of 5G, or fifth-generation technology, frequencies to cellular phone providers. The claimed the radiation emitted by 5G towers is dangerous for people, despite a scientific consensus that the technology is safe.
“There is no reason for me to issue a precautionary ban,” said Judge H.J. Vetter, reading the verdict aloud in The Hague District Court.
In a hearing this month, the plaintiffs’ attorney Thom Beukers argued: “The rollout of 5G should be stopped until it appears that real health risks can be ruled out.” STOP5GNL asked the government to postpone the auction until after a report by The Health Council of the Netherlands, a scientific advisory body that advises the government on public health, is published in July.
“We filed this lawsuit because we believe there is insufficient research into the effect of 5G on human health,” said Pieta Janssen, chairperson of the STOP5GNL foundation, in a statement this year.
The Dutch government based its assessment on an earlier report from The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the international organization that determines the exposure limits for electromagnetic fields emitted from devices, including cellular phones. “I see no reason to doubt the independence of [The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection],” Vetter said.
In January, the National Institute for Public Health together with Telecom Agency, the government organization that regulates radio frequencies in the country, published a study that found emissions are within European safety limits, but said it plans to monitor the situation to ensure public health.
5G is replace the current 4G network and should be faster and capable of handling more devices than the older technology. The increase in bandwidth may even allow for 5G to be used in lieu of traditional internet providers. Rollouts began in 2018 in the United States and 5G has been widely available in major U.S. cities since 2019.
But there have been worldwide concerns. Protests against the technology, which promises faster download speeds, have been seen in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Australia. 80 people were arrested in April in an anti-5G, anti-vaccine, anti-Covid-19 lockdown protest in The Hague.
Brussels, Belgium banned the technology in 2019, though that has been rolled back. Switzerland halted its rollout this year but also has relaxed the restrictions and is allowing some telecom companies to upgrade.
Over the weekend, the Netherlands saw the 28th arson attack on telecom masts in the country. Three anti-5G activists have been arrested in connection with the attacks, which, since 5G is not yet available in the country, have only damaged other transmissions towers.
STOP5GNL said they are disappointed in the judge’s ruling and are considering their legal options. The auction for 5G bandwidth is set to begin in June.