The operator said it will hold a consultation with the residents in the city of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve to explain their plans and debunk 5G myths

A number of countries are struggling with 5G conspiracy theories that link the new mobile technology with the coronavirus outbreak. Theories range from simple but erroneous claims that 5G radiation is unsafe, all the way to bizarre, convoluted conspiracies, such as Bill Gates creating the virus and spreading it via 5G towers. Why Bill Gates has been singled out here is anyone’s guess. 
These conspiracy theories have been coming to an alarming head recently, with arson attacks on UK telecoms masts taking place across the country during the Easter break. The UK is not alone in suffering from this criminal damage, with the Netherlands reporting similar tower attacks a few days earlier.
5G has been proven safe by a large number of studies and certainly has no scientific link to the coronavirus, but that has not stopped health fears flaring up across many countries. 
In the case of the city of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium, just such health fears have led the city’s authorities to last month request that Belgian operator Proximus cease its 5G deployments.
Now, just two weeks later, Proximus has agreed to cease deployments, as well as participate in a “public information session” during which the upgrade to 5G will be explained to citizens. 
Proximus can partly afford to take things slow when it comes to 5G due to the coronavirus causing a delay in Belgium’s 5G spectrum auction, but it is also a smart approach to allaying community fears. By reaching out to the city and providing answers to their questions, the operator not only educates the local population, but could also put itself in the city’s good books – after all, its population is its customer base.
Of course, there is also the possibility that the citizens reject Proximus’ explanations and protest the upgrade altogether. The cessation of deployment could even be construed by the more susceptible members of society that there is in fact something to worry about when it comes to the new technology. 
Nonetheless, this approach of taking one’s time to explain the purpose of 5G and the science behind it appears progressive and could help to nip burgeoning conspiracy theories in the bud. Perhaps in the near future we will see other operators, willingly or otherwise, following suit.
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