On Friday 18 September, the Wallonia Digital Council submitted its conclusions to Minister Marcourt in a report – “Digital Wallonia. Digital Plan Proposal“. It will be remembered that the Council’s task is to define specific courses of action to be undertaken in connection with digital strategy to make Wallonia one of the foremost ‘digitalised’ regions. BASE Company fully supports this initiative. One of the Council’s recommendations is to eliminate taxes on GSM pylons and antennae.
Contrary to indications clearly given to operators at the start of its term of office, the Brussels government is contemplating passing a regional tax on mobile telephone installations. If this new tax is confirmed, it will have to be regarded as a sort of tax on innovation to discourage and hinder investments in mobile technology of the future in the Capital of Europe.
At the end of October 2014, a request for annulment was submitted to the Constitutional Court by a number of
associations, including Inter-Environnement Bruxelles, against the 6V/m Order of 3 April 2014 on the radiation
produced by mobile telephone antennae in Brussels. The order was meant to amend the so-called “3V/m” Order,
so excessively strict that it made it impossible to roll out any new mobile technologies in the Belgian capital.
The Court is expected to make a decision by the end of the year. If the outcome is unfavourable, Brussels might have
to say goodbye to 4G.
The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), an independent science committee that provides opinions for the European Commission, has just published its latest opinion concerning the potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields. This committee’s main conclusions are very reassuring, as they show that according to the results of current scientific research, there are no adverse health effects if exposure remains below the levels recommended by European legislation.
This year, just days before the start of the 2014 edition of Pukkelpop Festival, a localised gust of wind caused a marquee to collapse, reviving fears from the organisers and causing them to adopt additional safety measures. One of these measures was to contact the mobile operators and ask them to beef up the capacity of their networks during the festival. Fortunately, this kind of action is already taken as a matter of course by BASE Company, and with even greater vigilance since the tragic events of 2011.
In the event of power outage, mobile networks will cease to function from one to two hours after the outage, depending on the circumstances, implying that in the affected areas, it will not be possible to communicate by phone, SMS or mobile Internet for most of the period when there is no electrical power (estimated to be three to fi ve hours). Nor will it be possible to use a landline unless you have a traditional analogue line and a phone which does not depend on electric power (it will work for another four hours on average). The fixed Internet will stop working immediately.
According to predictions from Elia, Belgium’s electricity transmission system operator, we may be facing an electricity shortage this winter. If the measures taken by the authorities are not suffi cient to ensure the balance of supply, the Minister of Economic Affairs and the Minister of Energy may ask Elia to activate the power outage plan in order to prevent a blackout. This involves cutting the electricity supply in certain defi ned zones for periods from three to five hours. The fact is that our mobile network is largely dependent on the supply of electricity.
During the course of this legislative term, BASE Company has made major investments in its mobile network, enabling it to prove that, as a challenger on the market, it could boast of being a leader not only with regard to price and service, but also in network terms. BASE Company intends to continue along this path.
Over the past 5 years there has been plenty of discussion about radiation standards, especially in Brussels. Since a decision of the Constitutional Court in January 2009 ruling that competency on the subject belongs with the regional authorities and is no longer federal, each region has adopted its own standards. While in Wallonia and Flanders the situation was rather stable and permitted the deployment of new technologies without too many difficulties, the situation was more chaotic in Brussels, which missed the 4G train. A new legislative framework, which was narrowly approved, should enter into effect in Brussels just before the elections. BASE Company hopes that it will make it possible to regain lost time – but this framework, which remains based on the short-term, will have to be re-assessed quickly once the new regional coalition has been installed, in concert with the sector.
After months of discussions, we are able to announce that a solution has been found thanks to the partnership of our parent company KPN Netherlands with Apple, and that the BASE Company’s 4G network will finally be available to holders of these compatible iPhones from the 2nd of May onwards. In fact, Base Company is … Continued