By Sarah Dowson
As you walk around the West Village today, look up: utility and light poles and building walls and rooftops are now relatively clear of anything attached. But, in 2019, telecommunications companies may begin installing the next generation of wireless technology: 5G, or fifth generation, to enable the internet of things (IOT) and much faster/bigger wireless capabilities in New York City.
In June, 2018, New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (“DoITT”) requested proposals from companies wanting the right to install 5G technology. “Awardees will become franchisees of the City, granted the right to install technology on city-owned light poles and utility poles in order to provide wider coverage and better service…” according to its 2018 press release.
In a 9/13/18 article about resistance to 5G in the Wall Street Journal, “All four national cell phone companies are pushing to build out their networks with a profusion of small, local cells to keep their data-hungry customers satisfied and lay the groundwork for fifth-generation, or 5G, service.” Because “small cells reach only a few hundred feet,” the article says, “carriers need many more sites” for 5G to work. But in Denver, CO, for example, residents of an apartment complex complained about a pole with antennas a few feet from their entrance. Verizon removed that pole and subsequently, a few others, in an effort to work with the city government, the article said.
CBS News on May 29, 2018, reported, “Melissa Arnoldi, who leads AT&T’s efforts in New York City, said if it’s not already in your neighborhood, it’s coming.” In this CBS report, Arnoldi continued that small cell sites are needed that are much closer together than current large towers that are far apart. “Existing poles/infrastructure will be used in minimally obtrusive ways”, Arnoldi said.
New York State’s bill SB6687 directs the Public Service Commission to “prohibit the attachment of wireless equipment or any other like attachments to existing utility poles in certain circumstances.” The bill is currently in the Energy and Telecommunications Committee.
Just how safe is 5G technology? Some studies show health dangers from this type of radiation, though many agree that evidence is inconclusive. Try doing internet searches for 5G and a telecom company, and you’ll get one answer. Searches for 5G and radiation and danger give quite another.
In a 2013 report to staff and directors of Oregon’s Eugene Water and Electric Board (“EWEB”), lead author Paul Dart, M.D., with other physicians, reviewed research literature on the biological and health effects of microwave radio frequency transmissions (“RF”). Their 74-page report concludes that excessive RF exposure can cause headaches, insomnia and other symptoms of electrohypersensitivity (“EHS”), and can also cause chronic problems such as oxidative stress and cancer. They recommended that EWEB adopt methods to minimize potential risks to residents. Their executive summary says that “FCC regulations are only designed to protect against the thermal effects of high exposure levels”.
On the other side is a September, 2018, article at www.androidauthority.com, “5G Is not Going to Microwave your Brain.”
The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) website offers an 8/8/18 “Wireless Devices and Health Concerns” guide which advises those concerned about radiation risks to minimize use of cell phones and use a headset.
Clearly, 5G technology discussions will continue! Curious? Check out links to sources above in our online edition. More links are there also.