Polish cities versus 5G network tests

The government, the EU and mobile operators together with telecommunications companies want to start testing 5G networks in cities across Poland. Work on the technology to replace LTE (4G) in the future is necessary to ensure continuity of technological development. However, some residents and politicians are not optimistic about 5G.

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5G is an ultra-high-speed data transfer of more than 10 Gbps, providing more than 1,000 times the potential of radio networks than what LTE networks currently provide. A 5G network will allow data to be transmitted at speeds many times faster than today. It will provide lower latency, and could form the basis for further development of the Internet of Things in the future. The opportunities it provides have been included in the government’s Strategy for Responsible Development as a basis for building a modern Polish economy. According to the European Commission’s timetable, member countries should roll out 5G connectivity in at least one major city by 2020, and in all major transport routes and major cities by 2025.

“The targets are very ambitious, but not impossible to achieve,” – Digitalisation Minister Marek Zagórski told members of the Committee on Digitalisation, Innovation and Emerging Technologies during a presentation related to 5G implementation in Poland, reports PAP. The minister also said that the ministry is working on a draft amendment to the so-called mega-law, which is expected to eliminate most barriers to network expansion.

Opposition in Gliwice

Not all residents of Gliwice are happy with the tests planned by Orange (more about the project itself). A group “Protest against the introduction of 5G technology” has been opened on Facebook, its organizers plan to gather on Saturday, September 29, to organize a march in front of the City Hall in Gliwice, among others. “In Gliwice as the first Polish city they intend to test the dangerous 5G technology. Let’s say a loud NO! Let’s not make guinea pigs of ourselves!” – reads the description of the Facebook group.

The choice of the Upper Silesian Metropolis as the test site is related to the cooperation with Orange Polska, started in June, in the scope of building the so-called Smart City. It is not possible without a developed network supporting the Internet of Things – sensors and systems that through the exchange of information will be able to better adapt the city to the needs of its inhabitants. 5G will allow further development of IoT (Internet of Things), giving the possibility to support a larger number of such devices and will be one of the main fields of use of this technology.

5G in Krakow and Lodz

A movement opposing the increase of electromagnetic field (PEM) limits in the environment is active in Krakow, led by councillor Marta Patena, according to Rzeczpospolita.pl. The capital of Małopolska completed public consultations of the “Programme for Environmental Protection against Electromagnetic Fields for the City of Krakow for 2018-2022,” which is to be the basis for monitoring PEM levels. As reported by Rzeczpospolita, the program was criticized by, among others, the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications, as well as the Health Institute Foundation.

One of the next cities to pilot the implementation of 5G will be Łódź. In July, Ericsson and the Łódź Special Economic Zone announced works on the implementation of test 5G solutions. “Supporting entrepreneurship with a focus on 5G network-based initiatives will contribute to local business development, enable the development of innovative services in various industrial areas and accelerate the digital transformation of the city,” – Martin Mellor, head of Ericsson in Poland, said. “The philosophy of 5G deployment requires partnership – creating an ecosystem of collaborating entities, education, planning and discussion by both city authorities, residents, investors, universities and any other entities that see an opportunity to apply the technology to their business.” – Mellor added.

Government and operators on the side of 5G

“This is a social problem, a concern that citizens have,” explained the Minister of Digitalisation in an interview with PAP. He added that it is not only about health concerns, but also architectural concerns. He argued, however, that changes in this area are necessary, because without a change in standards “it will be very difficult for us not only in the context of 5G”, because the availability of mobile networks is already at an end.

“The launch of next-generation 5G networks will be of great importance not only for the functioning of the telecommunications market, but for the entire Polish economy. 5G means a faster mobile network, minimal delays, the ability to separate network layers for the specific needs of business customers. That is why we are already preparing for the implementation of this technology. We are intensively expanding the fibre-optic network, which will be the backbone necessary for good functioning of the new generation mobile network and the Internet of Things. We are also working with equipment and technology providers to be able to offer 5G-based services to Polish customers in 2020-2021,” said Jean-François Fallacher, President of Orange Polska.

According to Minister Zagorski, the cost of building a 5G network will be between PLN 10 and 20 billion using passive infrastructure that has already been built by operators.

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