Reclaiming Local Control Over Wireless Facilities in Colorado

Reclaiming Local Control Over Wireless Facilities in Colorado

As of July 2019, 21 states in the US had passed 5G legislation largely removing local communities’ right to weigh in on the placement, fees, review timelines, and appeal processes of 4g/5g wireless cellphone antennas aka so-called “small cells”. These favorable-to-industry ALEC state bills ignore health impacts, privacy violations, weather forecasting interference to name just a few of the ways in which the public will be negatively impacted. 

In response to the Colorado state bill, a group of citizens submitted to their state legislators an excellent Policy Report, Reclaiming Local Control Over Wireless Facilities in Colorado. The report identifies many shortcomings of the Colorado legislation. It also suggests that if the legislators should choose to craft new legislation, that it prioritize local control as was done with earlier generations of cellphones. 

This very thorough and well-written report can be used in other states facing these similar bills and may also be prove useful in educating local representatives. 

 
Please find three links below: 
1. Link to a summary article about the state of the state bills (as of July 2019) put out by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
2. Link to an introductory memorandum written by Dr. Timothy Schoechle giving context to the Policy Report, Reclaiming Local Control Over Wireless Facilities in Colorado.
 
3. Link to Policy Report, Reclaiming Local Control Over Wireless Facilities in Colorado
How SafeG can help stop harmful 5G wireless

How SafeG can help stop harmful 5G wireless

by Kate Kheel
July 10th, 2019

Heroic resistance is spreading across the world to stop the deployment of dangerous 5G wireless technology and calling instead for safe, wired connections to all homes and businesses. 5G threatens to shower people in its path with intense, harmful wireless radiation 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no way to turn it off.

My colleagues and I at SafeG Alliance believe that the concept we call SafeG™, a safe alternative to harmful 5G wireless, could help that resistance succeed. We believe people united by a common vision referred to by a common name possess a powerful tool. SafeG can be the name for a vision that opposes harmful 5G wireless and seeks a safe alternative. We believe that by announcing what we are FOR in addition to what we are against, we can create a new conversation that will unite people opposing 5G worldwide and give us a common way to refer to a sane and safe alternative.

So, what exactly is SafeG?

SafeG is not a single product or service, but a framework for an internet and telecommunications system that respects our health, our privacy, our security and our right to choose what is best for ourselves and our communities. Here’s how we define SafeG:

SafeG means safe, fast, reliable, secure internet and telecommunications services brought into our homes and businesses by wired technology. It means technology that safeguards our health, privacy and security and that evolves over time with the goal of reducing exposure to harmful wireless radiation.

We at SafeG Alliance respect the right of homeowners and businesses to decide for themselves whether to have wired or wireless networks on their premises without forcing that choice on others as is the case with 5G antennas outside our homes. While we strongly advise using wired networks in homes and businesses, for those who, after being informed of the harms of wireless, still choose wireless networks, we recommend the use of router cages or “socks” that reduce the wireless signal to what is needed to serve the premises only, thereby protecting neighbors from the radiation.

We believe SafeG has the possibility of changing the discussions we are having with our elected representatives, zoning and planning boards, public utility commissions, federal agencies, school officials, schoolteachers, neighbors, friends, family and co-workers.

The wireless industry wants to deploy 5G wireless everywhere (except, thankfully, not in rural areas as it’s not profitable enough for the industry). That would make 5G one of the most pervasive public health threats ever ─ possibly more dangerous than cigarettes, leaded gasoline and asbestos combined.

If we as a world community allow the 5G Trojan Horse to enter our cities, we will be condemning ourselves to a future of ever escalating exposure to harmful wireless radiation that will accompany 5G and beyond. Not to mention the harms of raising our children in a world of screens, machines, and robots, loss of privacy, devastating cyber security risks, and adverse effects on wildlife all of which will be unleashed with the move to 5G. And, the wired alternatives that could have served us well and safely would wither into unavailability. 

As awareness grows about this threat, opponents of 5G are facing criticism that they are standing in the way of inevitable and beneficial progress. SafeG counters this criticism because it recognizes that consumers will drive innovation through demand for safe, wired technologies – innovation that will make our internet and telecommunications services safer, more reliable, secure, faster, and far more energy-efficient. That demand will incentivize manufacturers and service providers to create ever more innovative wired services and devices for homes, shops, businesses, and even public spaces. And what’s more, SafeG encourages moderation, as wired technology cannot follow us around 24/7 as do wireless mobile devices which quite literally have taken over our lives. 

SafeG means internet and telecommunications technology that respects our health, privacy and security while delivering benefits from evolving technology. If we ask for this outcome by name – that is, by the name SafeG – we may be more likely to fashion a world where our children, future generations, and all life can thrive…. A better world for us All.

Kate Kheel is program director for SafeG Alliance. To find out how you can help spread the SafeG idea, visit the website at https://safeg.net.

5G and its small cell towers threaten public health.  Implications for HB654/SB937 and HB1020/SP713 before the Maryland General Assembly

5G and its small cell towers threaten public health.  Implications for HB654/SB937 and HB1020/SP713 before the Maryland General Assembly

By Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D.

This message describes, as briefly as I can, the answers to the questions below.  Kindly read what interests you.  I present these comments as a retired U.S. Government career scientist (Ph.D. in Applied Physics, Harvard University). 

  • Why is control of 5G secondary to stopping its deployment?
  • Why are both HB654/SB937 and HB1020/SP713 fatally flawed?
  • What makes Maryland a leader in MANDATING exposure to harmful radiofrequency radiation?
  • What is Maryland’s implicit policy on exposure to radiofrequency radiation?
  • Why is human health so vulnerable to harm from radiofrequency radiation?
  • What is the evidence of the harm caused by radiofrequency radiation?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of 5G?
  • What should our telecommunications goals be?
  • Who am I?
Why is control of 5G secondary to stopping its deployment?

Control by local government of the deployment of 5G’s small cell towers is, indeed, an important goal, because local governments are closer to the people and can better reflect their wishes.  That makes HB1020/SP713 the better approach, as intended by its authors, compared to HB654/SB937 which forfeits local control entirely.

But there is an even more important goal:  STOPPING the deployment of 5G altogether.  The reason, as shown throughout this message, is that there is NO SAFE WAY to implement 5G in our communities; rather, there are only “bad ways” and “worse ways”.  So local control means that local governments can have a say in the choice among the “bad ways”.

Why are both HB654/SB937 and HB1020/SP713 fatally flawed?

Both bills reaffirm the worst aspect of Federal policy:  a prohibition against stopping all deployment.  For example, HB1020/SP713 makes statements like these: 

S-703 (C) (1):  “THE APPLICABLE LOCAL LAW AND REGULATION PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (A) OF THIS SECTION:
      (1) MAY NOT GENERALLY PROHIBIT THE INSTALLATION OF ALL WIRELESS FACILITIES OR POLES IN THE PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY OR ON PRIVATE PROPERTY; AND”

S-704 (C):  “THE DESIGN AND AESTHETIC REQUIREMENTS OR STANDARDS OF AN AUTHORITY MAY NOT HAVE THE EFFECT OF PROHIBITING ANY WIRELESS PROVIDER’S WIRELESS SERVICE.”

Statements like these write into Maryland law the principal provision of Federal policy that so many efforts are now trying to overturn.  For this reason, in my view, neither HB654/SB937 nor HB1020/SP713 should be made law.

What makes Maryland a leader in MANDATING exposure to harmful radiofrequency radiation?

Wireless Smart Meters for the measurement of electricity have already been forced on virtually every home and business in Maryland.  These meters bring the source of radiation up close and personal to the residents, even to the walls against which children sleep.  They transmit pulses of radiofrequency throughout the day and the night, every day of the year.  To escape the radiation from your own meter, you must pay the electric power company a monthly Opt-Out fee, forever, for a non-radiating meter.  At last report, about 44,000 Maryland homeowners have made this choice.  But there is NO way to escape the radiation from your neighbors’ wireless meters.

Wireless Smart Meters for the measurement of natural gas and water are either already implemented in parts of the State, or are contemplated (WSSC), and will worsen the problem already created by the Wireless Smart Meters for electricity.

WiFi is implemented widely in Maryland’s schools and bathes the children and teachers in radiofrequency radiation every school day for all their school years.  Parents who don’t want their children exposed to such radiation MUST forfeit a public school education for their children.  All this has occurred even though the Maryland Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council, which reports to the Governor, recommended phasing WiFi out of the schools in favor of much safer wired technology.  (Wifi Radiation in Schools in Maryland, Final Report, December 13, 2016, page 8, https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/OEHFP/EH/Shared%20Documents/CEHPAC/MD_CEHPAC_SchoolWiFi_022017_final.pdf

The addition of the radiation from 5G’s small cell towers, located up close and personal to Maryland residents, and operating 24 hours per day throughout the year, will complete this assault on the health of the public.

What is Maryland’s implicit policy on radiofrequency radiation?

The State’s implicit policy appears to be this:

“No resident of Maryland shall be permitted to escape 24-hour exposure to radiofrequency radiation, at ever higher levels, even though such radiation has already been shown to be harmful to human health.”

“All biomedical research from any source, including the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, and the international biomedical research community more broadly, that shows that exposure to radiofrequency radiation is harmful to human health, will be categorically denied.”

Why is human health so vulnerable to harm from radiofrequency radiation?

In the simplest terms, human beings are bioelectrical in nature.  That is why electrocardiograms work when they monitor a beating heart.  And that is why electroencephalograms work when they monitor the activities in the brain.  Humans evolved in levels of radiofrequency radiation far below those produced by human technology today.  We humans are simply not designed to tolerate today’s high levels of radiofrequency radiation.

When the radiofrequency radiation from cell towers, including 5G’s small cell towers, and other wireless sources, hits the body, that radiation disrupts the bioelectrical workings of the body.  This disruption occurs at levels of radiation far below those set as the FCC’s Maximum Permitted Exposure limits.  In response, the body must fight back constantly to regain control.  This battle can lead to a wide range of symptoms.  Here is just a partial list:  sleep disruption, headaches, irritability, ringing in the ears, fatigue, loss of concentration and memory, nerve pain, dizziness, eye problems, nausea, heart palpitations, depression, and cancer.

No one is immune to harm, but vulnerability varies widely with the individual.  That vulnerability does appear to be greatest for pregnant mothers, young children, teenagers, men of reproductive age, seniors, the disabled, and those with chronic health conditions.  A host of major medical conditions are now under study by the international biomedical research community to determine what role exposure to radiofrequency radiation may play in causing, or aggravating, them.  Examples include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autoimmune diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease, among so many others.

The effects of radiofrequency radiation appear to be cumulative; so the longer that exposure continues, the greater the chance that an individual will be overtly affected.  Some individuals will develop a devastating condition called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, with a host of symptoms, including extreme pain from exposure to even very low levels of radiofrequency radiation.  Just to survive, such individuals must often leave their homes and jobs, where exposure levels were too high, and move to rare locations away from radiation sources.  Such individuals regularly contact scientists (including me), doctors, and other aware individuals for advice on what to do.

What is the evidence of the harm caused by radiofrequency radiation?

There are thousands of archival biomedical research papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, that have shown that radiofrequency radiation is harmful to the body in one way or another.  These have been collected and reviewed in a number of summary documents.  Here are just two examples:  (1) BioInitiative 2012, draws on about 1800 publications (https://bioinitiative.org/); (2) EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of EMF-Related Health Problems and Illnesses, draws on 308 references (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27454111). (“EMF” stands for electromagnetic fields, a term inclusive of radiofrequency radiation.)

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classified radiofrequency radiation as a Group 2B Human Carcinogen (“possibly carcinogenic”), naming explicitly “wireless phone” radiation (cellular radiation), based on the increased risk for glioma.  Glioma is a malignant type of brain cancer that is usually fatal.  It most recently took the life of Senator John McCain and Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden.  (https://www.iarc.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/pr208_E.pdf)

In 2018, a massive study by the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health linked cellular radiofrequency radiation (RFR) to cancer of the nerves of the heart (schwannomas), to cancer of the brain (glioma), and to multiple other health effects in test animals.  (https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/areas/cellphones/index.html)

In 2015 and continuing, 247 scientists from 42 nations signed an appeal to the United Nations, described below.  These scientists have “published peer-reviewed papers on the biological or health effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields” (which are inclusive of radiofrequency radiation).

“Address the global public health concerns related to exposure to cell phones, power lines, electrical appliances, wireless devices, wireless utility meters and wireless infrastructure in residential homes, schools, communities and businesses.”  (https://www.emfscientist.org/)

For more information on the health effects of radiofrequency radiation, please see the website of the Environmental Health Trust, especially the Science tab.  (https://ehtrust.org/)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of 5G?

5G has some true advantages.  5G is expected to employ higher radiofrequencies than those currently in use in cellular systems in the United States.  Those higher frequencies will permit more rapid rates of data transfer compared to current WIRELESS technology.  And, as a wireless technology, 5G will support mobility.

But wired technology, especially fiber-optic technology, is superior to 5G in so many other ways.  Fiber-optic technology produces NO radiofrequency radiation, so it poses NO health hazard.  Fiber-optic technology is safer, faster, more reliable, more cyber secure, and more private than any wireless technology, including 5G.  (See https://whatis5g.info for a detailed description of the limitations of 5G.)

So users of wireless technology, including 5G, will have to decide if mobility ALONE is more important for their particular application than any other factor, including their own health and the health of their families and colleagues.

When listening to the hype about 5G, consider the following:
Is the hype coming more from potential providers of 5G, who hope to profit from 5G, or from potential users, who will have to pay for 5G?

Is the RUSH to implement 5G more about staking out claims to small cell sites in right-of-ways than about providing services that customers really need?

Is the RUSH to implement 5G driven by the growing awareness of the public and its representatives that radiofrequency radiation is harmful to health, and thus the providers feel that they must act quickly before resistance builds further?

What scientific studies, from impartial sources, can the providers of 5G identify that prove that 5G has NO adverse health effects on humans?  The burden of proof is on the providers.

When questioned by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee (February, 7, 2019), the representatives of industry could name no existing studies and none in progress.  (Story:  https://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/at-senate-commerce-hearing-blumenthal-raises-concerns-on-5g-wireless-technologys-potential-health-risks; Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsil3VQE5K4)

What should our telecommunications goals be?

Let me suggest the following:

Promote the expansion of fiber-optic technology as widely as possible, instead of degrading our environment with more harmful radiofrequency radiation, this time from 5G.

Require that the safety of 5G be proven by impartial studies before 5G can be installed in Maryland, instead of facilitating the use of Maryland residents to be the guinea pigs to test that safety.

Join forces with other state governments, and with local governments, to fight back against Federal laws and regulations that force any potentially harmful technology on the states without adequate PRIOR proof of safety.  Any technology with the potential to harm, and even take, life should not be mandated by the U.S. Government or encouraged by the states.

It will be difficult to stop 5G, but it will be easier to stop it NOW than to get it removed later after huge numbers of Maryland residents have become ill.

Who am I?

I am a retired U.S. Government career scientist (Ph.D., Applied Physics, Harvard University).  I worked for the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  For those organizations, respectively, I addressed Federal research and development program evaluation, energy policy research, and measurement development in support of the electronics and electrical-equipment industries and the biomedical research community.  I currently interact with other scientists, with physicians, and with aware individuals around the world on the impact of radiofrequency radiation on human health.

I have been a resident of Montgomery County since 1979.

Respectfully,

Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D.

URGENT! Call To Action – 5G Telecom Bills in Maryland General Assembly!!

URGENT! Call To Action – 5G Telecom Bills in Maryland General Assembly!!

There are currently four Telecom-generated 5g-bills in the Maryland General Assembly that would allow harmful radiation-emitting cell tower antennas next to our homes.
  • Small cells would be deployed on Maryland street lights, buildings, and near homes without any say from local voices.
  • Towers could be right up next to our homes – mere feet from our bedroom windows.

Basically, the bills strip our towns and cities from almost all authority regarding these so-called “small cell” facilities.

We need to come together and voice our opposition LOUD and CLEAR!

Please try to attend the Senate Finance Committee Hearing this Tuesday, Feb. 26th, at 1:00 p.m.

East Miller Senate Building Room 3
11 Bladen Street
Annapolis, Maryland
(301) 858-3145

If you plan to submit written comments, you will need to bring 20 copies. Here is a link to the Senate Finance Committee FAQ Guidelines: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/pubs-current/current-fin-faqs.pdf

This is an important hearing! So please do make every effort to attend, and if possible, to testify.
(NB: Currently these 2 bills are last on the hearing schedule that day, but that can change.)

There are two Bills In the Senate Finance Committee:

SB 937
Wireless Facilities — Installation and Regulation
Sponsored by Senator Klausmeier

SB 713
Wireless Facilities — Permitting and Siting
Sponsored by Senator Beidle

And two identical companion bills In the House Economic Matters Committee:

HB 654
Wireless Facilities — Installation and Regulation
Sponsored by Chair Dereck Davis

HB 1020 (Pending?)
Wireless Facilities — Permitting and Siting
Sponsored by Del. Lisanti

SB 937 and HB 654 are far more egregious than the other two bills, but all four bills would result in cell tower antennas throughout our neighborhoods and next to our homes.

  • SB 937 and HB 654 essentially let cell tower companies do whatever they want.
  • SB 713 and HB 1020 lock in current FCC rules which are (thankfully) being challenged in court. If FCC is overturned in court, Marylander’s would still be burdened by the rejected FCC rules.
Please try to attend the hearing, make calls, send emails and written comments, testify, share this post on Social Media, and/or with friends, family, and colleagues. 
Take Action Now

We made the difference and halted similar bills last year.  We can do it again!
 
1. Call and Write to the House Economic Matters Committee 
(Email addresses and telephone numbers for Committee members can be found below).

Phone/Email Suggested Script:

Please oppose SB 937 and SB 713 [or HB 654 and HB 1020 heard on Feb. 21st, if contacting the Economics Matters Committee] scheduled to be heard on February 26th at 1:00 pm in Senate Finance Committee. These bills are both giveaways to the telecommunications industry at the expense local communities, public safety and our health. Although SB 713 is a bit more consumer friendly, both bills would allow the the telecommunication companies to place their industrial equipment next to our homes with no regard for the safety of our communities. 

We don’t want more wireless capacity. We don’t want more wireless devices and all the unnecessary Internet-connected things. What we DO want is safe, fast, reliable, cyber secure, and energy efficient fiber to all homes and businesses in Maryland.

Please protect our local communities and vote NO on SB 937 and SB 713 [or HB 654 and HB 1020 if contacting the Economic Matters Committee].

2. Show up in person to testify at the hearing
The more people the better.  The hearing is on February 26th at 1:00 pm. BUT YOU MUST SIGN UP IN PERSON BY NOON!  The hearing will take place in the Senate Building at 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. Written statements can be longer but verbal remarks must be limited to 3 minutes. For more info, you can call the office at (301) 858-3145)

3. Send an email to all committee members
(Email addresses may be pasted directly into your message)

Emails for the Senate Finance Committee formatted to paste directly into email: malcolm.augustine@senate.state.md.us, pamela.beidle@senate.state.md.us, joanne.benson@senate.state.md.us, brian.feldman@senate.state.md.us, antonio.hayes@senate.state.md.us,steve.hershey@senate.state.md.us, jb.jennings@senate.state.md.us, delores.kelley@senate.state.md.us, katherine.klausmeier@senate.state.md.us, Ben.Kramer@senate.state.md.us,edward.reilly@senate.state.md.us

Email addresses of the Economic Matters Committee formatted to paste directly into email:
dereck.davis@house.state.md.us, brian.crosby@house.state.md.us, ct.wilson@house.state.md.us, cheryl.glenn@house.state.md.us, christopher.adams@house.state.md.us, courtney.watson@house.state.md.us, Diana.Fennell@house.state.md.us, eric.bromwell@house.state.md.us, Johnny.Mautz@house.state.md.us, kathleen.dumais@house.state.md.us, kris.valderrama@house.state.md.us, lily.qi@house.state.md.us, lorig.charkoudian@house.state.md.us, mark.fisher@house.state.md.us, MaryAnn.Lisanti@house.state.md.us, mike.rogers@house.state.md.us, Ned.Carey@house.state.md.us, pam.queen@house.state.md.us, rick.impallaria@house.state.md.us, Seth.Howard@house.state.md.us, steven.arentz@house.state.md.us, talmadge.branch@house.state.md.us, warren.miller@house.state.md.us

Here’s a summary document that may be useful for learning more about some of the major issues surrounding the deployment of 4g/5g small cells throughout our neighborhoods.
https://whatis5g.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Summary-of-5g-issues-for-activists.pdf

Many thanks. And please share this post with the WHOLE STATE OF MARYLAND!!

2019 Senate Finance Committee – Phone, email, district

Chair: Senator Kelley    Delores Baltimore            10           410.841.3606      delores.kelley@senate.state.md.us

Vice Chair: Senator Feldman, Brian                  Montgomery     D15        410.841.3169      brian.feldman@senate.state.md.us      

Senators in the Finance Committee        

Augustine, Malcolm        Prince George’s                D47       410.841.3745  malcolm.augustine@senate.state.md.us 

Beidle, Pamela                Anne Arundel      D 32       410.841.3593      pamela.beidle@senate.state.md.us      

Benson, Joanne`              Prince George’s                D24       410.841.3148      joanne.benson@senate.state.md.us    

Hayes, Antonio                 Baltimore City    D40        410.841.3656      antonio.hayes@senate.state.md.us      

Hershey, Jr.,  Stephen   Kent, Queen Anne’s, Cecil, & Caroline    36           410.841.3639                steve.hershey@senate.state.md.us      

Jennings, J.B.                     Baltimore & Harford  D7  7410.841.3706  jb.jennings@senate.state.md.us            

Klausmeier, Katherine   Baltimore            D8           410.841.3620 katherine.klausmeier@senate.state.md.us             

Kramer, Benjamin           Montgomery     D19        410.841.3151      Ben.Kramer@senate.state.md.us           

Relly, Edward                     Anne Arundel    D33        410.841.3568      edward.reilly@senate.state.md.us


2019 House Economic Matters Committee Members: Phone, email, district
     

Last Name           First Name          County District  Office Phone     Email    

Adams,                 Christopher        Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot & Wicomico              D37BA   410.841.3343                christopher.adams@house.state.md.us                              

Arentz,                 Steven                  Caroline, Cecil, Kent &Queen Anne’s      D36B      410.841.3543                steven.arentz@house.state.md.us        

Branch, Talmadge            Baltimore City    D45A     410.841.3398      talmadge.branch@house.state.md.us  

Bromwell, Eric                   Baltimore            D8          410.841.3766      eric.bromwell@house.state.md.us        

Brooks, Benjamin             Baltimore            D10A    410.841.3352      benjamin.brooks@house.state.md.us  

Carey, Ned                         Anne Arundel    D31A    410.841.3047      ned.carey@house.state.md.us

Charkoudian, Lorig          Montgomery     D20       410.841.3423      lorig.charkoudian@house.state.md.us 

Crosby, Brian                      St. Mary’s             D29B     410.841.3277      brian.crosby@house.state.md.us           

Davis, Dereck  (Chair)                   Prince George’s                D25B     410.841.3519      dereck.davis@house.state.md.us           

Kathleen Dumais                   Montgomery               D15       410-841-3052 
kathleen.dumais@house.state.md.us

Fennell, Diana                   Prince George’s                D47A    410.841.3478      diana.fennell@house.state.md.us          

Fisher, Mark                       Calvert  27C                       410.841.3231        mark.fisher@house.state.md.us             

Glenn, Cheryl                    Baltimore City    D45B     410.841.3257      cheryl.glenn@house.state.md.us           

Howard,  Seth                   Anne Arundel    D30B     410.946.5400      seth.howard@house.state.md.u            

Impallaria, Richard           Baltimore & Harford         7A         410.841.3289      rick.impallaria@house.state.md.us         

Lisanti,  Mary Ann            Harford 34AB      410.841.3331      MaryAnn.Lisanti@house.state.md.us   

Mautz,  Johnny                 Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot & Wicomico              37BB      410.841.3429                johnny.mautz@house.state.md.us        

Miller, Warren                   Carroll & Howard              D9AB     410.841.3582      warren.miller@house.state.md.us         

Qi. Lily                                   Montgomery     D15        410.841.3090      lily.qi@house.state.md.us          

Queen, Pam                       Montgomery     D14       410.841.3380      pam.queen@house.state.md.us             

Rogers, Mike                      Anne Arundel    D32       410.841.3372      mike.rogers@house.state.md.us            

Valderrama, Kriselda      Prince George’s                D26B     410.841.3210      kris.valderrama@house.state.md.us  

Closing The Digital Divide – Fiber vs. Wireless

Closing The Digital Divide – Fiber vs. Wireless

(Please note that although this blog clearly promotes the build out and use of fiber for the vast majority of our Internet and Telecommunications needs, the author in NO way supports the use of this fiber for the build out of wireless small cells. Hopefully, as people become more informed about the harms of wireless, innovations will increasingly make use of safe, fast, reliable, energy efficient and cyber secure fiber. Not wireless.)
 
Most everyone agrees that the Internet is now a public necessity. The Federal Communications Commission states, “Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for full participation in our economy and society.”  But Telecom won’t deliver on it – at least not to everyone.

High speed Internet, aka fiber, is costly and somewhat cumbersome to build, so the private sector has now shifted to peddling 5G. Instead of installing the promised fiber we have  paid for through rate increases and taxes, In urban areas,Telecom is laying fiber to utility poles and then spraying the data through the air on a panoply of frequencies. Why? Because it’s cheaper and easier that way. Never mind the harms to us and the planet; and no worries about closing the digital divide

People in rural America must choose between wireless hot spots or satellite, neither of which provides reliable high speed broadband.

“After years of waiting, it is now evident that ‘left to their own devices’, companies will gouge the rich, leave out the poor, cherry-pick markets and focus solely on their profits. It isn’t evil, it’s just the way things work.” Susan Crawford

Why Don’t We Have Fiber Yet?
The over-arching reason we don’t yet have fiber to all homes and businesses is that our government believes a free market should drive the development of technology. According to FCC Chair Ajit Pai “The market, not government, is best positioned to drive innovation and investment.”  So essentially, as stated by Harvard law professor, Susan Crawford, “The mega-utility of the 21st century officially has no regulator.”

Since no one is overseeing these companies and scrutinizing the books, there’s quite a bit of wiggle room – and wiggling they’ve done as Bruce Kushnick has documented. They’ve wiggled all the way from delivering fiber to essentially reneging on contracts and peddling wireless instead. This includes the current mad rush to deploy 4G/5G “small” cell antennas in front of our homes.

So if the private sector isn’t delivering on fiber, municipalities can build their own publicly owned fiber network. But no. Unfortunately, Telecom’s got these bases covered as wellAs of 2018, twenty states have laws that discourage publicly owned fiber networks. And this includes discouraging even public/private partnerships, which when well planned, can be a win/win for all parties: the city, the partnering telecom company, and the public as described here.  And when the FCC did give an exemption from state laws that prohibit municipalities from building their own fiber network, the exemption was shot down by a court ruling. As stated in Dividing Lines, “Big Telecom and their friends in state and federal legislatures are finding creative ways to keep the status quo.”


Defining Our Terms – Motte and Bailey Strategy?
What is meant by bringing “high speed Internet” ?
The powers that be identify something most people can agree on: High speed Internet should be accessible to all – which many of us understand to mean everyone should have access to fiber. But industry/government interpret this to mean we all must have 4G/5G wireless densification in front of our homes in order to serve everyone with high speed broadband. But fiber and wireless are not equivalent or interchangeable services.
Fiber is great for fixed locations such as a home or a business as it’s super fast, safe, and reliable. 
Wireless can be used when out and about for short on-the-go communications, and texting, but is poorly suited for video streaming due to the huge energy consumption of wireless, and is not clearly not reliable enough for remote surgery (“Sorry, can’t suture you just yet, there’s a bit of precipitation!”).

“Fiber is safer, faster, more reliable, and far more energy efficient and cyber secure than wireless.” Ronald M. Powell Ph.D.

Beyond the different uses for fiber and wireless, there are other core differences that make fiber far superior to wireless. Fiber has virtually unlimited bandwidth and once laid, can last decades with little to no maintenance. But more importantly, thousands of scientific studies show adverse health effects from wireless and hundreds of  studies show harm to wildlife as well. (For more on health please see https://mdsafetech.org,)

So when our government addresses the digital divide by installing Wi-Fi on school buses for children can do their homework, this is a clear example of an inadequate solution for bridging the digital divide. Wi-Fi on school buses is a far cry from providing fiber to the homes of these children. Not only does this ridiculous “fix” expose children to harmful radiation while enclosed in a metal box (think bus!) but it robs children of the few precious moments they still have for face-to-face communication with their peers. Similarly, 5G is a poor fix for rural America…or for that matter, for urban America as well.

Solution
We must bring health and the environment into the discussion of why fiber is far superior to wireless, or we may end up “closing the digital divide” by causing as much harm to those in rural America as those in cities are being subjected to now with 4G/5G. Bringing high speed broadband to rural America should not be about incentivizing the private sector through subsidies to bring 5G uniformly to all areas. It should be about delivering safe, fast, reliable fiber to everyone, everywhere.
 
“Closing the digital divide” must be done by delivering safe, fast, and reliable fiber to all, and not offering makeshift and harmful solutions such as WiFi on buses, 5G, satellite, or wireless hot spots.

We don’t just want any kind of high speed Internet for all. We want fiber which is safe for us and for the planet.