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, like electricity and phone, 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 already paid for through rate increases and taxes, Telecom is rolling out fiber only to utility and light poles in urban and suburban areas and then spraying the data through the air on a panoply of frequencies. Why? Because it’s cheaper and easier for them. Never mind the harms to us and the planet, and no worries about closing the digital divide
People in rural America are stuck with a choice between wireless hot spots, satellite, DSL or dial-up, none of which provide reliable “high speed Internet.”  And even 5G is too costly to extend to these areas – at least it is without big government subsidies and incentives.
“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 lag behind other countries in providing fiber, is that our government believes a free market should drive the development of technology. In the words of the current FCC chairman 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 really 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 for many years. And they’ve wiggled all the way from delivering fiber-to-the-premise to essentially reneging on these contracts and pushing wireless instead. This includes the unfettered deployment of 4G/5G “small” cell antennas in front of our homes.
So if the private sector isn’t stepping up to the plate to deliver on fiber, municipalities can build their own publicly owned fiber network. But just a minute. Hold on. That’s not so easy either. 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.
Whereas the FCC’s Connect America Fund provides money to the private sector to deliver high speed Internet to under-served areas, to the best of my knowledge, nothing of the kind is being offered to municipalities, alone or in partnerships, to help build a fiber network. Furthermore, 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” to rural areas? Local communities and many others understand it to mean building a complete fiber network to all homes, businesses, and farms. Telecom and our government aren’t as clear about what exactly this means, which is a problem.
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 we should all have access to fiber. But then industry/government switch to something more controversial and not equivalent at all, and maintain we all need 4G/5G wireless densification in front of our homes.
Promises are cheap and Telecom throws them about quite freely. The current one is that 5G will bring high speed connectivity to rural areas. But (thankfully for those living in the country) that’s just PR to get regulations rolled back for the launch of 5G in cities. There are, however, other “fixes” being offered in rural America such as wireless “hot spots”, WiFi on school buses, or even satellite, but none of these will do because fiber and wireless are not equivalent or interchangeable services. 
Fiber is great for fixed locations such as a home or a business. (Though not recommended, a WiFi connection, can be used for mobility within the premises.) Fiber is the ideal medium for streaming videos or for remote surgery (were someone to want it) as fiber is 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 reliable enough for remote surgery.

“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 the Scientific Literature tab on the following website,)

So when our government drafts laws to subsidize putting Wi-Fi on school buses so children can do their homework, this is a clear example of conflating fiber with wireless as a means to bridge the digital divide. Wi-Fi on school buses is a far cry from providing fiber to the homes of these children. Not only would this ridiculous patchwork “fix” expose children to harmful radiation while enclosed in a metal box (think bus!) which greatly increases their exposure to radiation, but it would take away the few precious moments these kids still have in their day for real life, 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.

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 densification. 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.
We must expand our understanding and messaging about the benefits of fiber to not only include faster speeds and unlimited bandwidth, but to also include the fact that unlike wireless, which harms both people and wildlife, fiber is safe for all. 
By “closing the digital divide” we mean 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. 
Armed with the understanding of these additional benefits of fiber, we can add our voices to the growing number of people and organizations around the country seeking to close the digital divide. We can strengthen their platform and “clean-up” their messaging.
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. And who knows, perhaps, this message will trickle out, and people everywhere – both in cities and in rural areas –  will begin to use fiber for the vast majority of their Internet and Telecommunications needs, reserving wireless for short, on-the-go communications. And soon we will all be wise enough to not buy “smart” things. And good riddance to 5G!!
Studies and Reviews on 5G and Cell Towers (Updated Version)

Studies and Reviews on 5G and Cell Towers (Updated Version)

Following are some studies, reviews, and compilations to share with people who would like to learn more about the health impacts of 5g and cell towers.  Also included are a few studies on health impacts of Electromagnetic Radiation in general. (Please note, there may be some overlap in the links provided.)


Cell Tower Health Effects  April 30th, 2018 
Resources regarding the health effects of exposure to cell tower radiation.

Environmental Health Trust compilation of cell tower studies.

International Perspective on Health Effects of Low Intensity Non-Ionizing Radiation  Thermal and non-thermal health effects of low intensity non-ionizing radiation
Belpomme D, Hardell, L, Belyaev I, Burgio E, Carpenter DO. Thermal and non-thermal health effects of low intensity non-ionizing radiation: An international perspective. Environ Pollut. 2018 Jul 6; 242(Pt A):643-658. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.07.019.


Published Literature 5G High Frequency, Gigahertz RF  Physicians For Safe Technology

Scientific Research on 5G and Health

5G: Great risk for EU, U.S. and International Health! Compelling Evidence for Eight Distinct Types of Great Harm Caused by Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposures and the Mechanism that Causes Them
(2018)  Written and Compiled by Martin L. Pall, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences Washington State University

5 G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications.
Russell CL. Dr. Cindy Russell

See also:

5G Wireless Technology: Is 5G Harmful to Our Health?
May 4th, 2018

5G and the IOT: Scientific Overview of Human Health Risks

Millimeter Wave Frequency Studies and Reviews

5G & IOT

One must also consider the synergistic effects of RF combined with other environmental toxins

Modified health effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation combined with other agents reported in the biomedical literature.  Microwave Effects on DNA and Proteins (2017): 97-158. Kostoff, R.N. and Clifford G.Y. Lau. 2017.


Recent Research on Wireless Radiation and Electromagnetic Fields
April 18th, 2018

Peer Reviewed Scientific Research on Wireless Radiation
Published Research Links Cell Phone and Wireless To Health Effects

Physicians For Safe Technology has organized the science into RF impacts on specific systems.

Scientific Literature (Click on the tab at the top of the page that says “Scientific Literature”)

National Toxicology Technical Report on Cell Phones and Cancer.
Toxicology And Carcinogenesis Studies In Hsd:Sprague Dawley Sd Rats Exposed To Whole-Body Radio Frequency Radiation At A Frequency (900 Mhz) And Modulations (Gsm And Cdma) Used By Cell PhonesMarch 26-28, 2018. 2 Year Study showing increased incidence of right ventricular cardiomyopathy.

See also:

“Clear Evidence Of Cancer” Concludes U.S. National Toxicology Program Expert Panel On Cell Phone Radiation  Environmental Health Trust

Ramazzini Study On Radiofrequency Cell Phone Radiation: The World’s Largest Animal Study On Cell Tower Radiation Confirms Cancer Link

Alert On S 3157 – An Important Bill For Everyone To Oppose

Alert On S 3157 – An Important Bill For Everyone To Oppose


The Federal government is once again trying to strip away local authority over cell towers siting. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act (S.3157)

S.3157  is an effort to make Congressional law consistent with recent FCC actions. In 2017 and 2018, Telecom managed to get the FCC to pass sweeping regulations that strip municipalities of local zoning rights and greatly cut back environmental and historic reviews.

Following you will find further information about the bill and actions you can take to oppose it:

For a detailed look at how S.3157 would alter Section 704 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, stripping municipalities and the public of our rights, please see:

Here’s a simple description and easy template to take action to oppose S.3157.

Overview of S.3157 written by the National League of Cities

The National League of Cities (NLC) opposes S. 3157. They wrote, “Despite urging from NLC and other local government advocates during the bill’s drafting phase, many preemptive provisions remain in the bill, including limiting the actions local governments can take on small cell wireless facility siting in an effort to make deployments cheaper, faster, and more consistent across jurisdictions.”
Please take a moment to do one or all of the following:
  1. Call your Federal representatives. If on the Senate Commerce Committee, please ask them to put a hold on S 3157.

Sample message:

“I’m calling to ask the (Senator or Representative) to please protect our rights and our property by prohibiting telecom companies from placing wireless transmitters all over our neighborhoods with no local review. We have the right to determine how to integrate technology into our own community. Telecom companies should not be allowed to override local control. Please do not allow S. 3157 or any other 5G bills to pass.”

  1. Email your representatives. You can use this link to find contact information for all U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives.
  2. Consider also contacting members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. which is the Committee where S 3157 currently is awaiting a hearing. The full list of members can be found at the end of this post (scroll down) or at this link:
  3. The website, has an excellent letter and portal you can use for contacting your federal representatives.
  4. The National League of Cities will send a letter directly to your representatives in Congress for you. At this link, you can fill in your zip code (and your full address if your postal zone is split between jurisdictions), and the letter template will appear with a message to legislators generated by the National League of Cities (NLC).

PLEASE NOTE: The NLC opposes Federal control of small cell deployment, but does NOT mind small cells regulated by municipalities.  So instead of using the NLC generated letter, which has statements in support of small cells, either

  1. craft your own letter
  2. copy and paste the following text into their letter template
  3. use the letter given at this link,
Text to copy and paste into NLC letter template:

As a constituent, I am writing to express my opposition to the “Streamlining The Rapid Evolution And Modernization of Leading-edge Infrastructure Necessary to Enhance (STREAMLINE) Small Cell Deployment Act” (S. 3157).

S. 3157 is similar to a California bill (SB 649) which would have created a state mandated system of cell towers and eliminated local review and safety oversight. SB 649 was opposed by 300 cities, 47 counties and over 100 community, planning, health, environment and justice organizations. SB 649 was vetoed SB 649 by Governor Brown on October 15, 2017.

The threat of public and environmental harm from wireless radiation is real and growing. Local control is needed to ensure community safety, welfare and compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

Peer-reviewed published science shows wireless radiation harms public health and nature. Health effects include: fatigue, headaches, sleep problems, anxiety, ringing in the ears, heart problems, learning and memory disorders, increased cancer risk, and more. Children, the ill, and the elderly are more vulnerable.

International independent scientists are calling for biologically-based public exposure standards and reducing wireless radiation.

S. 3157 represents a direct affront to traditionally-held local authority. S. 3157 introduces an unnecessary, one-size-fits-all preemption of local jurisdiction. The bill also imposes unfair and inappropriate timelines on local governments.

For more information see this joint letter to Congress asking you to oppose any and all bills related to 5G and wireless radiation expansion:

Thank you!

(Sign your name)

Resources from Environmental Health Trust for Policy Makers:

Environmental Health Trust has compiled several key resources to ensure policy makers and governments have the scientific resources they need. Please take the time to review this list as well as the linked 5G organizations.


Become Acquainted with Grassroots Environmental Education:

Doug and Patti Wood and the Grassroots Environmental Education team, are spear-heading an effort to bring together the organizations and individuals around the country who are working to oppose 5g. Please check out the following links put out by Grassroots Environmental Education as well as the suggested actions:
1. Short video clip on 5g:
2. The prior video will lead you to the website,
There you will find instructions for urging senators to NOT MOVE ON ANY BILLS RELATED TO 5G AND WIRELESS EXPANSION until after the election.
3. You will also see a link to the Grassroots Environmental Education website, Wireless Information Network (WIN),
Wireless Information Network (WIN) is an excellent resource for up-to-date information about the harms of wireless radiation and what we can do to oppose 5g.
At the website, people can also sign up for the WIN ListServe which is intended for individuals and organizations to share their research, ideas and experience. Here is the link to the WINListServe:

Here is a link to two strong Letters to the Editor re S.3157

Please note the modified and apt title of the bill, “Streamline Cancer Bill.”

List of committee members on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee:

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Senator John Thune (R-SD) is the Commerce Committee Chairman.
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is the Ranking Member.
Contact Information for the Committee 
Full Committee Office 
Majority: 202-224-1251
Majority Address: 512 Dirksen Senate Building; Washington DC, 20510
Minority: 202-224-0411
1. CHAIRMAN: Senator John Thune, South Dakota
Washington D.C. Office
United States Senate SD-511
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2321
Fax: (202) 228-5429
Toll-Free: 1-866-850-3855
2. Senator Roger Wicker Mississippi
Washington, D.C.
555 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-6253
Fax: (202) 228-0378
3. Senator Roy Blunt Missouri
Washington, D.C.
260 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5721
4. Senator Ted Cruz Texas
(202) 224-5922
404 Russell
Washington, DC 20510
5. Senator Deb Fischer Nebraska
Washington D.C.
454 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6551
Fax: (202) 228-1325
6. Senator Jerry Moran Kansas
Washington, D.C.
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Room 521
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6521
Fax: (202) 228-6966
7. Senator Dan Sullivan Alaska
702 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202)-224-3004
Fax: (202)-224-6501

8. Senator Dean Heller Nevada
Washington, DC
324 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6244
Fax: 202-228-6753
9. Senator Jim Inhofe Oklahoma (site down)
10. Senator Mike Lee Utah (site down)
11. Senator Ron Johnson Wisconsin
328 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5323
Fax: (202) 228-6965
12. Senator Shelley Moore Capito West Virginia
13  Senator Cory Gardner Colorado
Washington, D.C.
354 Russell
Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
P: (202) 224-5941 
F: (202) 224-6524
14. Senator Todd Young Indiana (site down)
1. Ranking Member Bill Nelson Florida
United States Senate
716 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5274
Fax: 202-228-2183
2. Senator Maria Cantwell Washington
Washington, DC
511 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3441
Fax: (202) 228-0514
3. Senator Amy Klobuchar Minnesota
Washington, DC
302 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
phone: 202-224-3244
fax: 202-228-2186
4. Senator Richard Blumenthal Connecticut
Washington D.C.
706 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC, 20510
tel (202) 224-2823
fax (202) 224-9673
5. Senator Brian Schatz Hawaii
PHONE: (202) 224-3934 
FAX: (202) 228-1153
6. Senator Ed Markey Massachusetts
Washington, D.C.
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building   
Washington, D.C. 20510
7. Senator Tom Udall New Mexico
Washington/Capitol Hill
531 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
(202) 224-6621
8.  Senator Gary Peters Michigan
Hart Senate Office Building 
Suite 724 
Washington, DC 20510 
(202) 224-6221
9. Senator Tammy Baldwin Wisconsin (site down)
10. Senator Tammy Duckworth Illinois (site down)
11. Senator Maggie Hassan New Hampshire (site down)
12. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto Nevada (site down)
13. Senator Jon Tester  Montana (site down)



by Dr. Ronald N. Kostoff

This document examines the role of synergies in setting of safety limits.

Studies that include synergies are necessary for credible RFR safety limit
setting. Single stressor experiments as the main determinants for safety/exposure limits may be insufficient for human health protection from these potentially toxic contributing factors.

The results from studies of synergistic effects will take years to produce. If we continue along our
present path, hundreds of thousands of new small cell towers will have been installed during that research
period. The damage will have been done by the time the results are produced.

We need a moratorium on new cell tower construction until such results have been obtained.

Read full document at this link:

Resources for States Facing ALEC (Cookie Cutter) 5G Bills

Resources for States Facing ALEC (Cookie Cutter) 5G Bills

Currently, 4G/5G “small’ cell legislation is spreading through the states like wildfire. Bills to preempt local zoning rights for the placement of 4G/5G “small” cells have been introduced in about 30 states, and counting.

Advocates opposing this legislation should not have to “reinvent the wheel.” Following are links to letters, documents, fact sheets etc. that can be used as is, or adapted to fit your state. If you have other resources that may be useful, please send them to

These State Bills would allow Telecom to place high-intensity, microwave radiating cell tower antennas in front of homes and in our communities while removing local control.

Our legislators should protect citizens’ interests, NOT the wireless industry’s reckless and ill-considered power grab!



5G requires millions of mini cell towers to be built nationwide.  From coast to coast, states are moving forward with Bills to preempt local authority and allow companies  to place wireless antennae in neighborhoods in front of homes with zero to minimal community input. In some states, fierce community opposition has lead to blocking these streamlining Bills. In other states, these Bills have passed. Please see this running list of states and their Bills  with useful links to news stories and videos about the new legislation.

Many thanks to Environmental Health Trust for this important list!!


This wonderful image “says it all.” It was used first in the California fight to oppose SB 649 and then adapted to the Maryland Bills (as pictured here). If you would like to use this image in your state and would like the Bill number changed, please send an email to


This link has a wealth of resources that were used in successfully opposing SB 649, the California “small” cell bill. These will prove very useful for efforts in other states.


Fact sheet from Telecom Power Grab

Fact sheet from Environmental Health Trust:



Email letter ready to be used to educate policy makers and others about the health impacts of wireless radiation, focusing particularly on  cell towers and 5G (millimeter wave) frequencies.  Two versions: PDF and WORD. Please feel free to adapt as needed to your circumstance.


The following sample letter was adapted from the letter provided in the Gaithersburg Press ReleasePublic Hearing on Wireless Facilities Bill Eliminating Public Input and Superseding Local Government Rights to be held March 20 in Annapolis. Please adapt it to your own state and personal “concerns”, such as health, privacy, safety, capped rates, lowered property values, impacts on wildlife, aesthetics, historic preservation, effects on our brains and humanity from a tech-infested future dictated primarily by industry profits, you prefer fiber which is safe, fast, reliable, far more cyber secure and energy efficient than wireless, we’ve already paid for fiber that was never delivered so shouldn’t have to subsidize this needless wireless build-out, or another reason. There is something in these Bills to tick off everyone. 

WORD version:
PDF version:


This list contains contact info for the Maryland legislators. It’s intended only to serve as an example of what other states might use in their own outreach. The format makes it quite easy to paste all the email addresses at once into the address bar of your email.


Petitions can be a good way to gather a support network of people opposing the bills. You can follow up with announcements concerning the legislation or further actions people can take. Following are examples of a few different petitions opposing small cell bills. The following links are to a few petitions.

Maryland Coalition to Oppose Cell Towers in Neighborhoods:

Oppose SB 649: Stop the extreme expansion of cell towers on every block in California

Petition for NM legislators to vote NO! on the 2018 Wireless Consumer Advanced Infrastructure Investment Act




Press release from Gaithersburg urging the public to oppose SB 1188 and HB 1767

Message and Comments by Ronald N. Kostoff on SB 1188 AND HB 1767

Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D. urges Maryland State Legislators to Protect the Health of the People of Maryland


“These Bills would convert an intrinsically local issue into a state issue.  Most of all, they would be a major contributing factor to the onset of myriad serious diseases.”