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Roll-out of 5G should be debated by States say deputies

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The roll-out of next-generation mobile technology 5G should be debated in the States, a group of deputies will argue.

Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez will lead a requete signed by six others in an attempt to force a report on the issue.

She said the motion was neutral on the policy and regulatory approach governing the transformative technology but believed it should be democratically debated.

‘It is simply a matter of good governance: the States should have an opportunity to participate in an informed debate and to make informed decisions on a key issue like this. Without a debate, we risk sleepwalking into a policy-by-default situation.’

She said that the technology would become critical infrastructure and would become essential to the smooth functioning of Guernsey and was therefore surprised that a telecoms policy has never been agreed or endorsed by the states.

Lindsay De Sausmarez. (26945960)

'5G – the full roll out of which is expected within the next few years – will be a major development, and it will also be quite different to previous generations of telecoms technology. The States should be making conscious decisions about the policy and regulatory framework, rather than waving significant changes in through the back door without proper scrutiny.'

According to the requete, the Economic Development Committee had promised to submit a Policy Letter to the States for discussion last year but made a U-turn in October because the move towards an incremental the 5G roll-out meant it would not be practical to seek a single licence for initial 5G deployments.

The petitioning deputies noted that Economic Development did not publicly communicate this decision despite the community’s widespread interest in the roll-out, which included wide-ranging concerns including security, health and safety, planning requirements, network speed, and commitment on deployment timescale and Bailiwick coverage.

They want a report produced for debate by the end of this term or failing that by the end of 2020.

Deputies Laurie Queripel, Victoria Oliver, Jennifer Merrett, Matt Fallaize, Emilie McSwiggan and Shane Langlois also signed the requete.

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