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Catalonia now has the world's largest network for measurement of immissions from mobile telephone antennas

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Catalonia now has the world's largest network for measurement of immissions from mobile telephone antennas

· With 215 working probes in place throughout the territory the STSI’s Radio Frequency Monitoring System (RFMS) has established itself as an international example of good practice in the deployment of mobile telephone systems
· This groundbreaking Catalan project is one of the cornerstones of the Catalan Government’s innovative policy on Radio Frequency Governance and it is contributing to attainment of the main targets of the Accord for fostering mobile communication infrastructure and services in Catalonia

The Catalan Government’s Radio Frequency Monitoring System (RFMS) now has over 200 working devices in place for monitoring immissions by mobile telephone antennas throughout Catalonia, making it the largest ongoing measurement network in the world and an example to be followed in other countries, which have taken note of this groundbreaking Catalan project as a model of good practice in the deployment of telecommunication infrastructure.

The RFMS project is one of the cornerstones of what is known as Radio Frequency Governance, an innovative policy formed within the framework of the policies for generating social consensus, organising telecommunication infrastructure and monitoring of immissions, and it has become one of the core factors for co-ordination of the Catalan Government’s policies on electronic communications and the environment.

That policy was recently recognised by the European Union, which will co-finance it through a project with a budget of almost three million euros to be implemented over four years (2010-2014), aimed at improving access to wireless communication networks for the general populace and the relevant social and economic activities in particular, by fostering the orderly and sustainable deployment of those networks in a user and environmentally friendly way.

Within the framework of that project, the Catalan Government will install 100 new probes to monitor electromagnetic fields continuously, expanding the current RFMS network, which will comprise more than 300 probes located throughout Catalonia by the end of 2011. The Catalan Government will also distribute 50 portable electromagnetic field probes to 50 town councils in Catalonia so that they can respond to requests from citizens for measurements at private homes and public places, and it will publish the measurements taken using those probes on a web page that will also provide information on radio communication infrastructure in Catalonia.

Radio Frequency Governance is one of the instruments comprising the platform created recently to ensure the necessary deployment of telecommunication infrastructure and services in an environment of public trust: the Accord for Fostering Mobile Communication Infrastructure and Services in Catalonia signed recently by the Catalan Government, Localret and the telecommunication industry. That Accord was promoted by the Catalan Government through the Secretariat for Telecommunications and the Information Society of it’s Department of Government and Public Administration, working jointly with other departments of the Catalan Government, mobile telephone operators and a large number of players in the industry and local representatives.

The Accord stipulates eleven specific objectives, to be pursued through 73 lines of action that will contribute to facilitating the orderly deployment of quality infrastructure and services throughout the territory and their adaptation to current and future needs, and promotion of the telecommunications industry in Catalonia, among other factors. The first of those objectives is to ensure the existence of oversight mechanisms guaranteeing that mobile communication base stations comply with environmental law regardless of their technology and bandwidth, and to inform the public, while fostering confidence in those oversight mechanisms.

The Secretary for Telecommunications and the Information Society, Jordi Bosch, has stated his conviction that “creating an environment of confidence in telecommunication infrastructure requires this type of innovative projects, which stress the importance of transparency and information made available to everyone.” In Mr Bosch’s opinion, “People have the right to be aware of their technological environment and to know that that environment is regulated and organised in such a way as to ensure its safety and reliability.” In that connection, he points out that “This type of policy and lines of action make Catalonia an international reference point and example to be followed.”