Defense will miss deadline to remove eavesdropping station from Burum

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The Ministry of Defense will not be able to move the eavesdropping station in Burum, Friesland, to a secret location abroad before September 1, 2022. That station operates on the 3.5 GHz band and is one of the barriers to the adoption of 5G frequencies within that band.

The development has come out in a change published for consultation of the National Frequency Plan of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, discovered Telecompaper. The MIVD eavesdropping station could not be moved in time ‘due to the worldwide outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic and the stagnation of the availability of the necessary materials’. The deadline has now been moved to December 1, 2023. Partly due to the presence of the station, no 5G on the 3.5 GHz band may be used above the ‘Amsterdam-Zwolle line’.

Nevertheless, the delay in this move does not yet delay the introduction of the 5G channels in this band. Another obstacle to the use of these frequencies by telcos is the presence of the company Inmarsat, also in Burum. It provides the ‘112 for ships’ with its ground station and has the same deadline as the Ministry of Defense now has. By then it is planned that Inmarsat will only use 80MHz from the 3.5GHz band and leave the rest free for other parties, such as telcos, or the entire station will have moved to Greece. Tweakers explained the current state of affairs regarding 5G in the Netherlands in June.

The auction of the 3.5GHz-5G frequencies is still on scheduled for 2022but an independent advisory committee advised the cabinet to postpone the availability of these frequencies until 2023.

The eavesdropping station in Burum. Image: Wikipedia user Wutsje

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