In Vienna they waltz, they mourn the Empress Sissy and, as older music lovers know: “Wien, nur du allein!” [Vienna, you alone] (composer Rudolf Sieczyński).
But enough of the boring clichés and sentimentalities: Vienna is the best city in the world to live in - and for the eighth time in a row! However, the history of the Austrian capital plays a fairly minor role in this rating. It is the present day that counts more. What does the city offer in terms of culture, jobs, recreational opportunities, infrastructure? All top-notch – and the city’s social democratic government with green and civic participation wants it to stay that way.
First and foremost, the metropolis, which has almost 2 million inhabitants, is to have 5G, the latest mobile phone standard. The city is supporting mobile operators in the construction of 5G masts from a EUR 20 million fund. “It’s all about being at the top in both analogue and digital terms,” explains the city councillor responsible, Peter Hanke (SPÖ), and he also makes it clear that speed is of the essence: Since the goal is to put 5G into operation on 246 masts as soon as possible, the offer from the city on the beautiful blue Danube ends on 30 June 2022.
Imagine something like this in Switzerland! For example in Zurich, number 2 in the worldwide city ranking, or Basel (10th place) or Geneva (8th place). There would be such a hue and cry. The city governments would fear for their re-election, there would be outrage. The result of this is that many executives and legislators in Switzerland are more creative in preventing 5G than in promoting it.
What separates us from our eastern neighbours – apart from the Arlberg? In Austria, too, mobile communications and the environment have been discussed since the times of 2G. What the example of Vienna shows us, however, is that those who bear responsibility have the courage to make a commitment to technical progress based on robust data. 5G will be a technical advance, not unlike the next operating system on your PC. And the scientific evidence is robust. It states that there are always studies showing effects – but that the majority of the research, however, did not reveal any negative effects, and certainly could not replicate and explain their cause. That being the case, courage can also be called reason or pragmatism.
One question remains: why 5G? City councillor Peter Hanke talks about education, traffic safety and health. But the city has also put its money where its mouth is and even before the EUR 20 million award was granted, it held a competition for smart 5G applications. The results are briefly listed below.
In short, Vienna is the best city in the world to live in and sees the new 5G mobile phone standard as a factor in remaining so.
Mobile communications and the environment
Alte Tiefenaustrasse 6
Postfach, CH-3050 Bern