The basis for successful network expansion is active participation of everyone involved right from the start. This is made possible by initiating dialog with stakeholders such as municipalities, residents and people who live near mobile base stations as well as skeptical organizations and NGOs. That is why we incorporated the idea of participation in the EMF Policy. We developed three essential recommendations that are based on this principle.
- We require our mobile subsidiaries to work closely with municipalities and to support them with their expertise when it comes to answering the questions of residents regarding network development and site selection for mobile base stations.
- Conflicts arising in connection with site selection should be resolved by finding solutions that are acceptable to all parties. Assigning local contacts as a liaison with those involved at the regional level makes it possible to resolve conflicts or answer questions quickly, easily and competently.
- We try to keep interference with the landscape and cityscape to a minimum. We also try to prevent mobile communications masts from becoming eyesores when selecting locations.
Our mobile subsidiaries have been conducting appropriate measures to encourage participation for several years. In Germany, for example, our approach is based in particular on the voluntary commitment by mobile network operators as well as on the agreement with the national associations of local authorities. Telekom Deutschland signed both in 2001.
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the voluntary commitment of mobile communications providers in Germany in late 2011, Telekom Deutschland and the other German mobile providers informed the German federal government that they would continue to honor their voluntary commitment.
In December 2001, the four mobile providers in Germany voluntarily committed themselves to engage in trust-building activities when expanding their mobile networks. The main objectives of the agreement include improving transparency during network expansion, providing more information to consumers and sponsoring independent research. One specific example of how the agreement is being implemented is that we provide information to cities and municipalities and get them involved in mobile network expansion. The implementation of this voluntary commitment has laid the foundation for Deutsche Telekom's current network expansion plans including the roll-out of a state-of-the-art broadband network.
The network providers also announced that they would support the German Federal Ministry of the Environment's plans regarding risk communication in the next two years with a total of EUR 600,000. The goal is to provide people with even more comprehensive, targeted information about the possible impact of mobile communications technology on humans and the environment.
Implementation of the voluntary commitment contributed considerably to minimizing conflicts regarding sites for mobile base stations and to improving people's acceptance of mobile communications. This is confirmed by independent expert reports. An integral part of this voluntary commitment is having the measures regularly reviewed by a consortium of experts comprised of representatives of Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik (DIFU), the German institute for urban affairs, and the German consumer organization Verbraucherzentrale Nordrhein-Westfalen. Every two years, the results of the review are summarized in an independent expert report that is submitted to the German federal government. Results of the 2011 expert report will be published in the second quarter 2012.
The continued positive feedback from the ministries involved and the Chancellor's office regarding successful implementation of the voluntary commitment encourages us to continue to promote a responsible approach to the topic of mobile communications and health.Find out more
The voluntary commitment of mobile network operators in Germany is an excellent example of how effective dialog and participation can be. In 2001 Telekom Deutschland teamed up with the other German network providers to submit a voluntary commitment to the German federal government. This commitment involves "measures to improve safety and consumer, environment and health protection and to provide information and conduct trust-building activities when expanding mobile communications networks."
The objective of the agreement is to improve consumer protection and health safety when expanding mobile networks in Germany. Network providers have been conducting a series of measures and activities to achieve this goal since 2001. Mobile providers in Germany once again reinforced their voluntary commitment in 2008 and announced additional measures. By reaffirming its voluntary commitment in 2008, Telekom Deutschland once again expressed its willingness to engage in dialog with municipalities and residents. That also includes continuing to comply with the mobile communications agreement concluded with national associations of local authorities.
This agreement ("Agreement on sharing information and municipality participation in mobile communications network expansion activities") was also signed in 2001 by all mobile network providers in Germany and the national associations of local authorities - the German Association of Cities, the German Association of District Councils, and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities. Its objective is to involve cities and municipalities in the network expansion process. Mobile communications companies and municipalities work together in cooperative, constructive dialog to come up with amicable solutions for new sites for mobile base stations. In this way, we have been able to permanently improve the flow of information between municipalities and network providers.
Other components of the voluntary commitment are to improve consumer information, particularly on the use of cell phones, and to sponsor independent research on mobile communications conducted by the German federal government.
When introducing new technology, it is important to inform residents about the technology being used at an early stage. Our experience with setting up networks shows that engaging in dialog directly with municipalities and the people contributes considerably to how well our technology is accepted and to easing the public's concerns.
During expansion of the LTE network infrastructure in Germany, Telekom Deutschland implemented a dialog with municipalities and residents in 2011 to address critical questions asked by local decision-makers, give them the opportunity to participate and work together with them to develop solutions.
Residents can address any questions they may have to local contacts that are familiar with local conditions and are involved in continuous dialog with residents and municipalities. People with questions on mobile communications and health can also call our expert hotline (0800-0852606) or send an e-mail to Telekom's e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of LTE expansion in Austria, T-Mobile Austria hosted informative events in all federal states for representatives of state and local authorities from May to October 2011. The representatives had the opportunity to learn extensively about LTE technology and safety-related aspects. T-Mobile Austria was also able to bring renowned mobile communications and health experts from the University of Innsbruck on board.
Alongside the current network expansion in Montenegro, Crnogorski Telekom also initiated dialog with municipalities during the reporting period, helping make public discussion of the topic more factual.
Representatives of the Bulgarian mobile communications subsidiary Globul actively participated in the 6th international CEMA (Communication, Electromagnetics and Medical Applications) held in the country's capital of Sofia in October 2011. The CEMA is one of the most important conferences in the Balkans on the fields of engineering sciences and medicine. Under the headline EMF Exposure and Mobile Telephony, Globul discussed the problems involved in addressing the public debate about mobile communications and health and presented its strategy for handling the topic responsibly.
In Germany, the third meeting of the Electromagnetic Fields Round Table (RTEMF) was held in November 2011. Experts on health, the environment and consumer protection as well as scientists were invited to attend. An EMF expert from Telekom Deutschland also attended the meeting and discussed current safety, research and technology-related mobile communications issues.Find out more
The Electromagnetic Fields Round Table (RTEMF) is a key instrument for Telekom Deutschland when it comes to open dialog with all stakeholders involved in the public EMF discussion. The original round table was initiated as part of the German Mobile Communications Research Program (DMF). Since 2010 it has been held under the name "Electromagnetic Fields Round Table" (RTEMF).
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