France “will adopt 5G” as “country of innovation”

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President made the comments in a speech to a hundred “French Tech” entrepreneurs at an event at the Elysee Palace this week, a day after 70 deputies and environmental activists called for a moratorium on 5G until the summer At least 2021.5G is a new generation of wireless technology, which aims to deliver ultra-fast mobile internet and connectivity speeds.

In addition to offering more convenience to users, it is hoped that the improvement in speed will allow the development of technologies such as telemedicine, remote operations, speed up communications between emergency services, improve transport links. and postal services, will reduce unnecessary travel. , simplify manufacturing, facilitate remote working for people and other benefits for society.

5G reviews

Critics say 5G is being deployed seemingly without concern for the possible negative environmental and health impacts it could cause, and without any democratic discussion about its introduction in France.

And some have said that its frequencies could be linked to health issues such as cancer.

In an open letter to the newspaper Sunday Newspaper (JDD), more than 70 signatories wrote: “We propose an immediate moratorium on the deployment of 5G at least until the summer of 2021 …[pending a] decentralized democratic debate on 5G and digital uses …[and that] priority be given to reduction [existing] digital divide, by the development of fiber in rural areas and by the finalization of the deployment of 4G. ”

Read more: 4G coverage of French municipalities without delayed reception

This opposition to 5G also comes after the adoption by some deputies of a motion to propose “a moratorium on 5G”, because this would generate “a strong inflation of electricity consumption” and allow “the collection of personal data. “.

The technology has also been at the center of several discredited conspiracy theories, including one that linked it to the spread of Covid-19.

Read more: Dozens of 5G antennas vandalized in France during the lockdown

Report finds no impact on human health

However, from a report on the “technical and health aspects” of 5G, France concluded that 5G frequencies have no impact on health, if they are used within the legal limits set by French regulations. and European.

The report was an analysis of existing studies on the issue, and compiled by social, economic and environmental agencies The Environment and Sustainable Development Council, the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs, the General Finance Inspectorate, and the General Council of the Economy.

The report concludes: “Opinion is divided among health agencies that no study has conclusively shown that [5G] could cause cancer. ”

Further study of the issue by several national agencies, including frequency monitoring the National Frequencies Agency (ANFR) found that the levels recorded for 5G were 50 to 1,000 times lower than the limits currently recommended to protect human health.

Other reports from the telecoms, ecology and health agencies Arcep and the Ecological Transition Agency (Ademe) and National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (Anses) are expected by March 2021.

‘The land of light and innovation’

President Macron dismissed the criticism this week and said: “Yes, France will adopt 5G. France is the country of Light, the country of innovation. We will shy away from any misconceptions. ”

He joked that it seemed some critics would prefer the country to follow “an Amish pattern” and “go back to the days of oil lamps.”

Mr Macron said: “I hear many voices telling us why we should face the complexity of modern problems by returning to [the days of] oil lamps! I don’t think the Amish model will allow us to overcome the challenges of modern ecology.

The “Amish model” is a reference to the American religious community that lives largely in 18th century style, without modern technology.

‘Amish’ response

Environmental groups and opposition MPs responded to the barbed wire comments with wry humor, Insoumis MP Manuel Bompard tweeting: [Mr Macron] doesn’t seem to have lights on on every floor. ”

The environmental activist group Friends of the Earth responded by renaming their Twitter handle to “Earth Amish” and called for a protest outside the Elysee Palace using oil lamps, using the hashtag #JeSuisAmish (i am Amish).

Still, in a subsequent tweet, Mr Macron added: ‘I told the people in the digital industry who were with me today, and I want to tell everyone: wait, we’ll never let you discourage you.

5G – at the lower frequency of 3.5 GHz – is expected to start rolling out in France by the end of September, but in July the Minister of the Economy warned that the country already had “12 to 18 months of behind its main neighbors’ on technology.

Other frequencies, including 26 GHz, will be deployed in the future, and further studies are expected to be completed to investigate its potential impact on health and the environment.

(Menu: Le Figaro)

“No dependence on a non-European power”

The president added that France’s support for 5G was also a way to ensure that the country never had to rely on energy or technology from other non-European countries.

He also reminded participants that the post-Covid government’s “recovery plan” would devote € 7 billion to the digital technology sector.

He said: “On 5G and many other issues, we should not depend on any non-European power. We must reopen the battle on the Cloud. ”

Read more: France announces € 100 billion plan to revive the economy

Events in the time of Covid

Mr Macron was relaxed at the event, wearing a suit without a tie, and said he was very happy to welcome individuals from French start-ups and tech companies to the Elysee Palace , during her first public event since giving birth.

He said: “We are showing that we can continue to organize events during the Covid era….[even though] we will have to live with the virus, probably for weeks or even years. “

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