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'Overly strict' rules could halt 5G internet in Brussels
The next generation of ultra-fast mobile internet is set to be deployed in Belgium in 2020 - but Brussels could lag behind other cities in its rollout, telecoms operators have warned.
The 5G technology will offer speeds up to 10 times faster than the current 4G, opening up new possibilities for connected devices, including driverless cars.
The European Commission has asked each member state to pick a pilot city for the launch of 5G. But telecoms federation Agoria has warned that Brussels may not be picked because of "overly strict" emission standards in the city and high municipal taxes on antennas.
Agoria argues that the current rules are putting the brakes on digital progress in Brussels and has called on the federal government to discuss a new regulatory framework with operators. If no changes are made, Antwerp or Liège - where the regulations are less strict - could be the first in Belgium to enjoy 5G.
Telecoms minister Alexander De Croo said: "Brussels cannot miss this opportunity and must be one of the first cities in Europe equipped with 5G.
"The development of 4G in the capital has also been problematic - Brussels was one of the last cities in Europe to use it. We cannot allow that to happen a second time, because it would have significant economic consequences."