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5G Wireless Connectivity Will Come at a Steep Price for Most Communities

The wireless industry is in a sprint to offer 5G service. The network is hyped as 100 times faster than existing data speeds, promising customers optimal service. Although the thought of 5G speed sounds sublime, 5G connectivity will come at a steep price for most communities.

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) updated its infrastructure policy to encourage the private sector to invest in 5G networks. Under this update, the FCC revised existing rules that ban municipal interference with the deployment of 5G. Local community officials believe the historic regulatory process is important, and with the ban, the FCC is taking away local control.

On the other hand, 5G is great for consumers and benefits industry. Why should you care that the FCC has made these changes?

  1. Wireless companies in the U.S. will have to install around 300,000 new antennas, which is roughly equal to the total number of cell towers built in the past three decades, according to CBS News. 5G towers are not as large as the current structures, but they're not small either. 5G towers are estimated to be the size of a refrigerator.
  2. Municipalities are not allowed to charge fees, grant permits, or control access to the public right-of-way (land used for transportation purposes such as highways, public footpaths, bike trails, etc.) for the new towers.
  3. Without the say of local government, these towers could go up anywhere, possibly close to your backyard swimming pool, shed, or garage.
  4. Cell phone equipment emits radiation, which could pose a health risk. However, research on its health effects is inconsistent, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Wireless companies claim they will use existing infrastructure, including street lights and poles. The question remains – if the companies honor that commitment, will it help or hinder local aesthetics?

Categories: Municipal

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