5G is coming soon in France and the subject has been unleashing passions for a long time.
There are the supporters, there are the opponents: a lot of opinions are being given at the moment.
How to navigate?
Europe 1 answers three questions in order to better understand the challenges of the debate.
That's it, 5G is coming to France.
The auction for the allocation of the first frequencies must be held at the end of September, paving the way for the first commercial offers by the end of 2020. And the subject is already a source of countless tensions.
In a column published on Sunday in the
70 elected officials from the left and environmentalists, for example, ask for a moratorium, the time to perfect scientific studies on the subject.
"It is quite normal to ask questions and we are here to try to provide answers", retorted the Minister of Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili, Wednesday on Europe 1, while President Emmanuel Macron has brushed aside the idea of a possible moratorium.
"The moratorium has an interest from the moment we do not have the data. And precisely we have a report that came out yesterday (Tuesday) which gives us data and which tells us that on the tapes that will be occupied by 'by the end of the year there is basically no risk if we meet the standards, "the minister continued.
How to navigate in the face of these contradictory propositions?
Europe 1 helps you see more clearly, through three questions.
What is 5G?
It is the next generation of mobile communications networks.
It's not a revolution but, to put it simply, it's a "4G ++": with 5G, we will have a speed ten times more powerful than in 4G.
Instead of waiting an hour to download a movie in HD for example, it will only take a few minutes.
To deploy 5G, new, more powerful and more precise antennas will have to be installed.
And to benefit from it, you will also need a suitable phone, capable of absorbing large flows of data.
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Do we really need 5G to stay competitive?
Emmanuel Macron's argument is that without 5G, we remain at “the oil lamp”, like “Amish”, he said.
There is clearly an industrial stake.
Automated factories, autonomous cars, telemedicine… All of this is the future.
And it will not work without 5G, especially since 4G networks will saturate within two years, according to various estimates.
And for good reason: data traffic has increased tenfold over the past five years.
On this subject, France is late.
While we are still in the experimentation stage, in South Korea, the United States, China, and even twelve countries in Europe, 5G is already a reality for millions of people.
At Bercy, the slogan is clear: "We stop procrastinating and we go for it".
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5G: "there is no health risk if we respect the standards", assures Barbara Pompili
For the general public, however, this will not be felt right away: by the time everything is put in place, we will not see the effects for one to two years.
What about health?
Is there a risk to our health from 5G waves?
This is THE sensitive point of the debate.
Today, in 4G, the median level of exposure to waves in France is 150 times lower than the ceiling set by law.
But opponents fear it will increase with 5G.
The report submitted to the government on Tuesday marks a first milestone.
Based on studies conducted in countries that have already taken the leap, he concludes that exposure to 5G waves does not present a health risk.
No reason to worry, at least for the time being.
Because at the beginning, 5G will go through frequencies already used by television or wifi.
They are well known and no health incidents have ever been reported.
But, from 2024, 5G will move to higher frequencies.
And there, the report recognizes it: there is a lack of scientific data.
Additional studies, in particular from the Health Security Agency, are underway on this subject.
But the conclusions will not be released for several months.
And the government does not want to wait that long.
"There is no question of establishing a moratorium", they say to Bercy.
"We're already far enough behind."
The ultimate source of concern, and not the least: the impact of 5G on the environment.
"The deployment in France of 5G will lead to a 'rebound effect' by the increase in data consumption and telecommunications use, synonymous with very high energy consumption by the demand on antennas and servers", can we read in the tribune published the
Journal du Dimanche
For the signatories, including Pierre Hurmic, the mayor of Bordeaux, Éric Piolle, the mayor of Grenoble, or even Michèle Rubirola, the mayor of Marseille, the deployment of 5G will "exponentially accelerate the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources, pollution due to the extraction of rare metals, and the generation of a quantity of waste that is not or little recyclable ".
The report submitted to the government on Tuesday does not even address this issue, as no real study has yet been carried out on the subject.
It will have to be completed in the future, the subject promising to stir up debates for many years to come.