Mobile Phones, Antennae and Health
We want our products and services to be safe and our customers to use their mobile phones and wireless devices without worry. VodafoneZiggo understands concerns among a small group of people surrounding the health effects of electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones, Wi-Fi and antennas. We operate within exposure limits for electromagnetic fields and cooperate with a number of different organisations on education about the matter, including ministries, municipalities, and public health organisations.
Examples of equipment that uses radio waves
VodafoneZiggo supports independent scientific research into the possible effects of electromagnetic radiation. For this reason, we make data available for research into its possible long-term effects. The international COSMOS research project is being conducted over a period of 30 years. In the Netherlands, the research is being carried out by the University of Utrecht. A sample of random measurements made by the government show that radiation from our networks and equipment is well below the permitted international norms (for more information, see the central government website antennebureau.nl).
Cooperation and Information
VodafoneZiggo cooperates with parties such as Kennisplatform EMV (Knowledge Platform), GGD (Regional Health Service), Antennebureau (Antenna Agency), Agentschap Telecom (Telecoms Agency), municipalities and governments to inform the public about mobile phones, antennae and health aspects. Together with other telecoms providers, we inform the public about electromagnetic radiation and related subjects through the trade association Monet. Monet has developed guidelines and methods in order to establish that our base stations comply with the exposure limits.
In October 2019, The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Climate (EKZ) organised seven round-table conferences on the subject of 5G. More than 200 municipal civil servants took part alongside representatives of Monet (on behalf of the mobile operators), NLconnect (on behalf of the terrestrial operators), individual operators (including VodafoneZiggo), GGD, Kennisplatform EMV, Antennebureau, Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten, the provinces and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK). Participants discussed with municipalities how they intend to create the new digital infrastructure in the Netherlands, how they are preparing for it and the opportunities it will bring. Indeed, the municipalities play an important role in the creation of the 5G infrastructure. They create local policy relating to the installation of antennae and laying of cables, whereby they take into account the concerns of some citizens surrounding the increase in the number of antennae and the effects of the radiation from antennae. The discussions have led among other things to more than 40 requests from municipalities for further discussion with telecoms providers about the installation of antennae. Further round-table conferences are on the agenda for 2020. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is informing Dutch municipalities and encouraging them to prepare for the digital future. Please find more information at overalsnelinternet.nl.
We aim to create a high-quality network with nationwide coverage, so that everyone is easily reachable everywhere. In building and maintaining this network, we try to minimise any inconvenience to local residents. Cooperation with other parties is key to these efforts. In 2002, the telecoms sector entered into an Antennae Covenant (Antenneconvenant) with the government. It stipulates the conditions for the installation of antennae systems for mobile communications of up to five metres in height. One of the most important conditions is that operators remain within the exposure limits set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Together with other providers, we are united in Monet. This organisation coordinates the installation of antennae with the authorities and - together with us - engages with communities if there is unease about the installation of masts.
The power of radio waves from mobile phones is very small (maximum 0.1 to 2 watts). According to the World Health Organization of the United Nations, there is no scientific evidence that shows that the use of mobile phones is harmful.
With the introduction of the 5G network, health issues are receiving our full attention. During our experiments with 5G, Agentschap Telecom (telecoms regulatory body and part of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations) and TU Eindhoven look over our shoulder and perform independent research into radiation. Measurements by the Agentschap Telecom show that the radiation from 5G has the same values as 3G and 4G and therefore falls well within the international limits.