Fast 5G network to be rolled out across Switzerland by 2024

Fast 5G network to be rolled out across Switzerland by 2024

The Council of States, the upper house of the Swiss parliament, has approved a plan ordering the government, mobile phone and internet providers to speed up the deployment of the 5G network in Switzerland. Lawmakers now expect 5G to be available across the country by 2024.

Full 5G network in Switzerland by 2024

In a vote on June 13, lawmakers in the upper chamber approved a plan that calls on the government to take all “necessary measures and make decisions to enable the introduction of the fifth generation of the mobile communications standard (5G).” The goal now is to "set up a high-quality national 5G network at the lowest possible cost within the next five years (i.e. by 2024)” - the vote was brought before parliament in 2019, but discussions have been postponed.

Despite having one of the best phone networks in the German-speaking world, officials noted in a statement that “only Switzerland is lagging behind when it comes to modernising the network”, and that despite approving 5G licences in 2019, “the construction of the 5G network is not progressing.” Chief among their concerns is that without government backing, Swiss cantons and cities will be continually embroiled in legal fights over how 5G should expand.

Can you get 5G coverage in Switzerland?

Currently, the 5G network in Switzerland is focused around Swiss cities and along rail lines, with coverage soon dropping out once users reach more rural areas. What’s more, much of the network is currently throttled at 50 percent of potential performance and current infrastructure does not make it easy to connect houses to the network.

Under the new plans, the entire country - bar the peaks of mountains - will be able to use superfast internet on the go and at home by the end of 2024 at the latest. This will be achieved by guiding local authorities on how to expand the network to their area, and by making it easier and cheaper for network providers to invest in 5G.

5G essential for modern life, say lawmakers

In justifying the move, the Council of States argued that during the COVID pandemic, fast internet connections were essential for many to continue to work and interact socially. Officials added that alongside benefits at home, 5G also has great potential for “e-health, smart farming, virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, high-tech industrial production, drones, etc.”

In response to those who are still wary of 5G, despite a government report finding that the technology does not have an impact on health, the Council of States noted that 90 percent of the low-level radiation that we are exposed to actually comes from our mobile phones, not 5G antennas. For those worried, the body said that "this exposure can be significantly reduced by simple behaviour: for example, by using a hands-free system or by avoiding telephone calls when the reception is poor."

“The Federal Council must act if we want to reap the benefits of a rapid introduction of the 5G standard, [both] for our economy and our jobs”, the council concluded. The proposal will now go back to the lower house for approval, but with the Federal Council, National Council and Council of States all on board, there is little doubt that the proposal will be introduced into law.

Thumb image credit: / ako photography

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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