Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

5G Is Great Until It’s Sitting in Your Front Yard

While 5G is supposed to be revolutionary when it comes to the telecommunications industry, it might have negative impacts on community life. From aesthetics to health, community concerns are driving the push back against 5G.

(TNS) — In 2019, the state of Florida passed legislation written by AT&T that limited the ability of local municipalities to govern the rollout of 5G.

While 5G provides "more data faster," 5G frequencies do not travel very far. Telecom's solution? "Small cell wireless facilities" approximately every 200 feet in public rights-of-way.

With competing telecom carriers and no requirement for co-location of equipment, you may have multiple pole installations in your front yard.

Here are the issues.

Health And Human Safety

Scientists in the study of electromagnetic field (EMF) and medical doctors from 42 countries have appealed to the United Nations and to the European Commission asking for a moratorium on the rollout of 5G based on hundreds of independent peer-reviewed studies demonstrating hazards associated with exposure to EMF radiation.

Despite the known health effects, the 1996 Telecommunications Act prohibits local governments from regulating wireless communications on the basis of health and human safety, yet industry has allocated zero dollars to safety testing. RF exposure limits have not been updated since 1996.


"Small cell wireless" is a misnomer. The equipment may be up to 28 cubic feet in size and may be mounted on utility poles, street lights, bus stops and sides of buildings. It may also be installed in the right-of-way in your front yard.

In many areas of the city, the utilities have been buried. Unfortunately, the money and effort involved in this ongoing endeavor may prove futile as telecom has the right to install new poles to host their equipment even when utilities are underground. What will the impact be on property values for homes and businesses? How will homeowners feel when they wake up to a junkyard on a pole in their front yard?

Privacy And Cybersecurity

5G technology is very susceptible to hacking. Data is collected and available for sale and one's every move is tracked. Nationally, cyberterrorism has been identified as the No. 1 threat to national security.

Local Action

Ordinance 2019-770, written by Verizon, "would bring Jacksonville into compliance with Florida law" but it goes far beyond compliance, eliminating many of the objective design standards that City Council agreed to in 2018. Other Florida cities are fighting back.

The Florida League of Cities filed a lawsuit challenging a 2017 state law that deprives cities of their constitutional right to manage the use of taxpayer-owned property.

"While cities embrace 5G technology in their communities," the lawsuit states, "they maintain the law should not include deep subsidies to multi-billion-dollar wireless companies paid for by taxpayers. Under the law, wireless providers may have an all-access pass to public rights of way, including city sidewalks, and city-owned utility poles, including light poles and traffic signal poles, to place wireless antennas and large equipment boxes.

"Cities are basically unable to say no and have limited authority to control where the wireless equipment is placed on public property. City-owned utility poles were not intended to accommodate such equipment or to provide virtually free use of such poles by private wireless providers. The lawsuit seeks to stop this action, which could disrupt every local community in Florida. It's a shocking example of corporate greed hoisted onto taxpayers."

Panama City Beach passed on ordinance in which small wireless poles "are not permissible within 250 feet of the footprint of any dwelling, including attached garages, porches, and balconies. ... Round-mounted equipment ... shall not be permissible within 500 feet of any dwelling."

The Pensacola News Journal asks "Why should a private entity get carte blanche over taxpayer-owned rights-of-way without any real concern over aesthetics or public safety? Three of the seven permits currently on file for new small cell nodes in Pensacola are in rights-of-way directly in the front yard of single-family homes."

National And International

Despite the egregious overreach of government, many cities around the country are protesting. Multiple cities in California have passed ordinances prohibiting small cell facilities in residential areas.

Internationally, countless cities and countries have enacted restrictive legislation or blocked the rollout entirely. Recently, there was a global protest against 5G.

Action Steps And Solutions

5G requires switching from large "macro" cell towers to much cheaper small cell sites placed close together — the 5G build-out is all about maximizing profit for the telecom industry.

The residents of Jacksonville should demand that Ordinance 2019-770 be amended to establish a minimum distance between 5G installations and dwellings. Local activists have suggested a minimum of 150 feet.

Contact your City Council representative and all of the At-Large Council members. Join Stop5GJax on Facebook.

Educate yourself and get involved!

Everyone benefits from and appreciates the convenience of modern technology, but in this case "progress" is a massive threat to public health, an aesthetic disaster and the framework for surveillance capitalism.

©2020 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?
As more state and local jurisdictions have placed a priority on creating sustainable and resilient communities, many have set strong targets to reduce the energy use and greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with commercial and residential buildings.