THE BASIC ISSUES AROUND WIRELESS AND 5G
The issues surrounding the deployment of wireless technology infrastructure touch every aspect of our lives, from safety and security to health and property values. They include increased fire risk, greater power consumption, invasion of personal privacy, lack of insurance, threats to the environment and our food supply, and the transfer of liability from wireless corporations to local governments and taxpayers.
• Exposure to radiofrequency radiation ("wireless radiation") is harmful to human health. Thousands of studies showing biological harm from exposure, now confirmed by the National Institutes of Health, have removed all reasonable doubt. Old exposure standards based on thermal effects are useless. Now the question for legislators and regulators is, What are we going to do about it?
• There is no justification for this massive wireless densification. The build-out of millions of new wireless antennas to facilitate 5G is not necessary for national security or public safety. It will not improve emergency responsiveness, since all phones and text messages will continue to use 4G. Rural communities are not likely to benefit from 5G because it requires densification that’s not economically feasible where homes are spread too far apart. Low income communities will not benefit from 5G or wireless internet because of its significantly higher cost.
We believe the primary purpose of 4G/5G densification is profit. It will allow telecoms to compete with cable companies by selling wireless video subscriptions that deliver television without having to invest the money to lay cable. Billions in profits will result from charging consumers to watch movies, play online games, and surf the internet, and by mining and marketing the resulting customer data.
• The build-out of new wireless networks will exacerbate existing energy and safety problems. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), wireless infrastructure consumes three times as much energy as wired technologies. A massive build-out of 5G will significantly increase demand for power, resulting in greater greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
Extreme weather events now routinely occur around the country – wildfires, hurricanes, flash floods, mudslides, drought. What happens when telecoms install hundreds of pounds of wireless transmission equipment on telephone poles in residential neighborhoods? Recent events have proven wireless systems to be unreliable and potentially hazardous in an emergency.
• Small cell antennas can negatively impact property values. According to a survey conducted by the National Institute for Law & Public Policy, an overwhelming 94 percent of home buyers and renters say they are less interested and would pay less for a property located near a cell tower or antenna. What's more, of the 1,000 survey respondents, 79 percent said that under no circumstances would they ever purchase or rent a property within a few blocks of a cell tower or antennas, and almost 90 percent said they were concerned about the increasing number of cell towers and antennas in their residential neighborhood.
• American telephone customers have already paid for a national, fiber-optic network that would provide reliable, low-cost, secure and safe broadband internet access to every American. But instead of using the funds to build the network, as they had promised, the telecoms decided to use the money instead to build out their wireless networks, which are more profitable. Read the press release about FIBERGATE. Listen to the podcast.
• Regulations to protect public health and safety are inadequate and outdated. Current exposure guidelines promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission were adopted in 1996, and are based on scientific understanding as of the 1980s. The guidelines do not consider any effects other than heating of tissue. The guidelines are currently the subject of a lawsuit against the FCC by Children's Health Defense and Environmental Health Trust. A decision is expected soon.
RF microwave radiation affects everyone, and with 4G/5G installations in every neighborhood, Americans will not be able to escape continuous, involuntary exposures in their own homes. Women who are or may become pregnant, infants, small children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses, microwave sickness, or compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable and should avoid exposure.
Read the letter from 400-plus medical and public health professionals to the FCC
• Major insurance companies will not insure wireless companies against personal injury claims from exposure to RF radiation. Wireless companies claim they will self-insure, but then create limited-liability divisions that provide a firewall against significant financial loss. Taxpayers may be forced to bail out telecoms in future class-action lawsuits.
• We're playing with nature, and we can't predict the consequences. Radiofrequency radiation is known to interfere with the ability of birds and bees to navigate, with potentially disastrous implications for our food supply. Read our letter to the FCC. Recently more than 700 medical and scientific professionals wrote to the FCC demanding the agency hold off on authorizing the use of certain high-frequency bands until independent scientists have been consulted. Read the press release.
• Proposed legislation guts democratic norms, local control, and sources of revenue. Americans elect local leaders to represent their interests and respond to their needs, including a clean and healthy environment and the unique aesthetic of their community. Telecom-sponsored national legislation that takes away local control over the deployment of 4G/5G equipment violates basic democratic norms.
• Public rights-of-way are public property. Providing private businesses with access to public property generates income for a municipality's general fund, which pays for road repairs and other basic services. Legislation that eliminates or limits a municipality's right to receive income from leasing its own property, and empowers private interests to reap billions in profit without compensation is not acceptable.
• Recent changes to the OTARD Rule must be reversed! The FCC's Over-The-Air Reception Device rule was originally intended to allow Americans to place satellite-dish antennas on their homes or apartments for cable TV and internet. Recently, the FCC changed the rule to allow telecoms to place their 5G antennas on private homes, completely bypassing all local control and depriving neighbors of any ability to have a say in the matter. This is not only anti-democratic, but it exposes citizens to proven risks without their knowledge or consent. Learn more.
• There is an existing solution for internet connectivity: Fiber-optic To and Through the Premises ("FTTP"). Fiber-optic is faster, thousands of times more energy-efficient, and much more secure and reliable compared to wireless. It is more easily defended and resilient in the face of natural disasters and/or direct attacks, and is not hazardous to human health.
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The telecom industry and the commissioners of the FCC are rushing to deploy the next generation of wireless before these issues have been addressed. The "race" to be first in 5G technology is one not worth winning if the cost exceeds the benefits.
We call on our elected representatives in Washington to reject any proposal to use public funds or public property to facilitate the deployment of expanded wireless networks until these issues have been fully, publicly and satisfactorily addressed.