Brussels risks not being the first city in Belgium to be equipped with 5G technology, Agoria, a federation of technological and allied companies, warned on Monday.
Agoria said the city’s “too strict” emission standards made it impossible to deploy 5G technology there and are compounded, moreover, by the municipal taxes on GSM antennae, which almost no longer exist elsewhere in the country. Liège or Antwerp could thus become the digital capital of Belgium, to the detriment of the capital of Europe, the federation warned.
A few days ago, the seven main telecommunications companies in Belgium and Agoria launched a call for a “New Deal” between the political authorities and the sector for the establishment of an investment-friendly regulatory framework. They had already complained of impediments to the development of a “digital Belgium”, chief among them the city’s GSM emission standards.
These standards are the strictest in the European Union and they already create problems for efficient 3G and 4G networks, according to Agoria. They also cause the Belgian capital to lag far behind other major European cities where mobile technology is concerned.
The technology companies wish to invest in and develop new products and services in Brussels and, notes the federation, a highly performing network would have a significant impact. The first regions or towns to have 5G, which is 100 times faster than 4G, would have an “enormous economic advantage,” it adds. New products or services would be developed there first. Companies attracted by the telecoms framework could develop or deploy new technologies there, such as a hospital complex that wants to do distance operations. New employment could be created, direct jobs and especially indirect ones, notes the technological federation, which quotes a figure of 3,000 jobs in the sector.
Within the framework of the development of such technology, the European Commission has asked each Member State to have a 5G flagship city by 2020. According to Agoria, the companies are ready to invest and have a net preference for the capital, but if nothing is done there, Antwerp or Liège could step in and replace Brussels. “We’re almost there,” the federation warns.