Active involvement of all stakeholders early on is the basis for Deutsche Telekom being able to successfully continue its network expansion. For this purpose, we actively seek dialog with stakeholders such as communities, residents and people who live near mobile base stations as well as skeptical organizations and NGOs. Their constructive criticism and comments provide us with valuable information that we take into consideration during the planning phase. That is why the principle of participation is a permanent feature in our EMF Policy.
Based on this principle of participation, we require our international subsidiaries to work closely with communities and to help them with their expertise when it comes to answering the questions of residents regarding network development and site selection for mobile base stations. We also encourage them to try to find solutions that are acceptable to all parties when looking for a site. Assigning local contacts to these projects as a liaison with those involved at the regional level facilitates this task and makes it possible to resolve conflicts or answer questions quickly and easily on the basis of expert knowledge.
Our international subsidiaries have been conducting appropriate measures to encourage participation for several years. These activities are based in particular on voluntary commitments by mobile communications providers in Germany as well as an agreement with local authorities' associations. Telekom in Germany signed both in 2001.
Together with the other mobile communications providers in Germany, Telekom Deutschland made a voluntarily commitment to the German federal government to conduct measures to gain the public's trust when expanding the mobile networks. The focus is on the following activities:
- Improving communication and involving stakeholders in site selection
- Consumer protection and information
- Providing financial backing for independent research
- Helping create an EMF database, EMF monitoring, EMF measurement programs
Under this voluntary commitment, Telekom Deutschland and its competitors announced in 2012 that they would contribute a total of EUR 600,000 to the German federal government's project for EMF risk communication over the following two years. The money will finance projects such as the Knowledge management and risk communication project, which was launched in 2012. The German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) is responsible for coordination and expert assessment. 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.
Independent auditors conduct assessments on implementation of the voluntary measures. The results of the 2011 expert report drafted by these independent auditors were published in late 2012. As in previous years, the expert report confirms that Telekom in Germany is realizing its voluntary commitments in a sustainable way. Despite the intensive expansion of the LTE network, more than two-thirds of the communities surveyed said that there were no conflicts during the period under review. However, there is room for improvement when it comes to providing information to small communities. The network operators responded to these results by announcing that they would review and amend their processes.Find out more
In December 2001, the four mobile providers in Germany voluntarily committed themselves to engage in trust-building activities when expanding their mobile networks. This voluntary commitment was confirmed and content was added in 2008 and 2012. 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 communities and get them involved in mobile network expansion.
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. The expert reports show that 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.
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 communities and the people contributes considerably to how well our technology is accepted and to easing the public's concerns. In 2012 we focused on measures to improve communication and the distribution of information in order to more effectively inform small communities that had previously complained about a lack of information on base station sites provided by network operators. Our measures included setting up mediation centers to solve conflicts that could arise during network expansion. Telekom also appoints regional contact persons for mobile communications and health to help solve conflicts on site in direct contact to community representatives.
Deutsche Telekom also promoted dialog with communities by actively participating in the LTE measurement program, which was completed in late 2012 (in collaboration with IZMF).
Together with the other German mobile network providers and the local authorities' associations (German Association of Cities, German County Association and German Association of Towns and Municipalities), Deutsche Telekom also signed the "Agreement on sharing information and community participation in mobile communications network expansion activities" as early as 2001. Its objective is to encourage cities and communities to participate in the network expansion process. Mobile communications companies and communities work together in cooperative, constructive dialog to come up with amicable solutions for new sites for mobile base stations. As the 2011 annual expert report on compliance with the voluntary commitment of mobile communications providers in Germany shows, the flow of information between communities and network providers has permanently improved thanks to the employed measures.Find out more
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 communities. 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.
Telekom participates in various dialogs at an expert level on the topic of mobile communications and health including the meetings of the Electromagnetic Fields Round Table (RTEMF). Experts on health, the environment and consumer protection as well as scientists were invited to attend the RTEMF meetings held in May and November 2012. Telekom experts also attended the meetings and discussed current safety, research and technology-related mobile communications issues as well as additional ways to get stakeholders involved. The RTEMF is a key instrument for Telekom Deutschland when it comes to open dialog with all stakeholders involved in the public EMF discussion.
In December 2012, experts from the international subsidiary, Globul, attended the annual meeting of the Bulgarian National Program Committee of the World Health Organization in Ognyanovo. In line with the meeting's topic, "Recent tendencies in legislation on EMF exposure in the work environment and in urban territories," participants discussed the need for regulation to protect people's health from electromagnetic field exposure.