Bea Schoch is electrosensitive and cannot sleep near mobile phones and Wi-Fi. Now a committee wants to build an antenna for faster Internet near her place of residence. Bea Schoch is desperate.
Bea Schoch’s house stands alone in the midst of meadows on the Wädenswiler mountain. Bea Schoch feels quite alone at the moment. In the immediate vicinity of her place of residence, at the Schulhaus Langrüti, a committee wants to set up a mobile phone antenna near the well-known songwriter Andrew Bond. This is to create long-range Wi-Fi and accelerate the slow Internet connection of 5 Megabites per second on the Wädenswiler mountain. The Committee has been fighting for fast Internet for five years.
Long history of suffering
Bea Schoch does not want an antenna. At the entrance of the house on Schönenbergstrasse, which Bea Schoch rents with a colleague, is a sign: “Dear guests, please place phone in flight mode or turn it off in the house. Thank you very much!”
Bea Schoch cannot tolerate electromagnetic fields of high-frequency radiation, such as mobile phones or Wu-Fi. She is among the 5 percent of the Swiss population who consider themselves to be electrosensitive. She discovered her hypersensitivity in 2001 when she installed a cordless telephone in her apartment in Hangenmoos. “I felt okay when I turned it off.” In 2003, a mobile phone antenna was installed near her place of residence, and Bea Schoch moved to the Speerstrasse. She did not find peace there: in the Baumgarten neighborhood, Sunrise built a UMTS antenna at the end of 2010, despite resistance by an association. Bea Schoch had no idea of the commissioning until she suddenly suffered from sleeping problems. “When I inquired at the cantonal office for non-ionizing radiation, I learned that the antenna had just started to operate at the time I was unable to sleep.”
Colleagues are considerate
In 2011, Bea Schoch moved again, this time to Schönenberg. “These were the worst four years of my life, I could not sleep at all.” An odyssey began when Bea Schoch tried to find a suitable apartment. In addition to her insomnia, she had headaches, back pain, and was under constant stress, until finally she moved to the Wädenswilstrasse in Wädenswil in 2014. “Here I finally found a place where I am comfortable. I do not want to have to move any more, “says Bea Schoch. Even in her workplace, the radiation is adapted: in the building of the Agroscope where she works in a biology lab, there is no Wi-Fi. The staff around her switch their mobile phones to flight mode.
When she learned about the plans of Andrew Bond for faster Internet, Bea Schoch contacted him to get him to support the idea of a free connection to the Internet via fiber optic cable. But the committee’s plan failed. The inhabitants of the Wädenswiler mountain could not find the necessary amount of 482,000 Swiss francs for the Swisscom glass fiber network. The latest plan of the committee therefore provides for the establishment of long-distance Wi-Fi by means of a relay station on Rossberg in Schindellegi and a Wi-Fi antenna at the Langrüti school.
“Would be catastrophic”
“It would be catastrophic for me,” says Bea Schoch. She is convinced that the directional antenna would affect her health and therefore rejected other measures. Max Fehr from Smaro GmbH, who will install the directional antenna, suggested installing a temporary antenna. An external company would have it turned on within a few weeks for 72 hours to test whether Bea Schoch really feels the radiation. At first, Bea Schoch agreed, but later refused: “I cannot bear the idea.”
Understanding of situation
Despite the Committee’s concerns, she has decided to raise objections to the mobile antenna and look for people to support her. “My vision would be to make the area around the Langrüti a low-radiation area where other electrosensitive people might be able to rest.”
Andrew Bond takes the objection casually: “I can fully understand Bea Schoch’s situation and it is her right to raise an objection,” says Bond. For him and his family, however, a fast Internet connection is essential. Andrew Bond also says that business pressures are increasing. He plans to manage his theater company and the publisher in Beichlen.
The planning application for the mobile antenna under the guidance of Max Fehr is going forward. He hopes to be able to connect the mountain residents to the fast network at the beginning of March.