Opponents of a rollout of a new 5G network have damaged several cellular towers in the Netherlands in the past one week, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Saturday.
The paper said there have been 4 such incidents in the past week, and cited the director of an industry group that oversees placement of cell towers in the country, The Monet Foundation.
The Telegraaf reported that arsonists had left an anti-5G slogan spray-painted at the scene of one attack.
A range of groups in the Netherlands have been opposed to the advent of 5G, mostly over concerns that radiowaves could damage human health. Others fear the technology could infringe privacy.
The Dutch government’s Security and Counter-Terrorism (NCTV) said it registered “various incidents” around broadcasting masts in the past week, including arson and sabotage, and that opposition to the 5G rollout is a possible cause.
“This is a concerning development,” it said in a statement on its website. “Disruption of broadcasting masts can have consequences for the coverage of the telecommunications network and reachability of emergency services.”
UK faces crisis
Some people have already damaged 5G towers in select parts of the United Kingdom fearing that 5G causes coronavirus epidemic.
British ministers last week dismissed a theory that linked 5G masts to the spread of the novel coronavirus as dangerous “fake news” and completely false.
Major telecommunications providers such as KPN, VodafoneZiggo, and T-Mobile are in a 5G testing phase and have not yet begun any nationwide rollout of 5G pending a 5G spectrum auction due to conclude in June 2020.
The Netherlands aims to rake in at least 900 million euros or $992 million from its first auction of bandwidth for 5G networks, Reuters reported earlier.
Dutch Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer earlier said in a statement the government’s first auction of the 700, 1400, and 2100 Mhz airwave ranges would take place by June 30.
The government will delay the auction of the 3.5 GHz range — commonly associated with 5G — as the Dutch government moves a ground satellite system that would interfere with it to a new location. The auction of the 3.5 GHz spectrum is expected in early 2022.