by Americans for Responsible Technology,
California (USA) wireless providers are back in Sacramento, trying to push through two industry-friendly bills that will drastically curtail the ability of local governments to exercise control over the deployment of wireless infrastructure in their communities and use public funds for wireless broadband.
Under AB-965, wireless companies will be able to submit up to 50 antenna applications at the same time, and the local authorities will be under strict deadlines to approve them. If the approval is not given in the allotted time, the application is automatically approved.
No time for public hearings. No time for ample consideration of safety factors. Just ram it through so the wireless companies can make more money.
The second bill, AB-1065 allows wireless companies to compete with fiberoptic companies for taxpayer funding to provide communities with high-speed broadband access. It’s a sneaky bill – two little sentences inserted into existing law that will un-level the playing field (wireless is cheaper to install than fiber), result in more antennas in more communities, and leave a legacy of slow, expensive, unreliable and low-quality wireless service for millions of Californians.
These are bad bills for the people of California and should be defeated.
See the California action alert!
Why California Shouldn’t Fast-Track Wireless Antennas
It won’t fix the digital divide, wireless networks consume more energy than wired networks, property values near antennas are declining, small wireless facilities increase the risk of fires, telecom corporations are not insured for health claims, government research proves that exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) causes cancer, wireless networks are more easily hacked, and there’s already a much better, safer, faster, more reliable and more affordable solution for broadband connectivity.
1 – The digital divide is no accident; it’s an economic choice made by telecoms.
- Legislation making it easier and cheaper for telecoms to build their wireless networks will not change basic economics: rural and minority communities will not magically get connected. When they do, their low-cost connections will be slow and unreliable; faster connections will cost significantly more.
- Telecoms have been promising to connect everyone in California with fiberoptic cable since 2002, using that promise to justify rate increases. They got the money, but never did the work. Instead they used it to build their (unregulated) wireless business.
- Underserved communities deserve better than second-rate broadband service. They deserve the fiberoptic connections they paid for.
2 – Insurance companies refuse to insure telecoms against liability related to RFR exposure from wireless antennas; cities and counties could be liable.
- Because insurance companies refuse to cover wireless companies for health claims related to exposure to RFR, liability could fall on cities and towns. A growing number of Americans with Disabilities Act claims are being filed across the country; municipalities are liable.
- In its 2019 New Emerging Risks SONAR Report, Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, classified 5G as a “high impact” liability” risk. The report stated, “Existing concerns regarding potential negative health effects from electromagnetic fields (EMF) are only likely to increase.”
- The Electromagnetic Fields Exclusion … is applied across the market as standard. The exclusion includes: “Bodily injury, property damage, or personal and advertising injury…..provided that such injury or damage results from or is contributed to by the pathological properties of electromagnetic radiation.”
3 – Both U.S. and international scientific research shows that exposure to RFR causes cancer as well as organ and DNA damage.
- The ability of RFR exposure to cause serious illness, once believed to be impossible, has been firmly established by the U. S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- A major $25 million study by the U.S. National Toxicology Program of the NIH found “clear evidence” of cancer and increased incidence of DNA damage in laboratory animals.
- The largest long-term study ever performed on the health effects of RFR from antennas (far-field exposures) was conducted by the Ramazzini Institute, which is partially funded by grants from the NIH. The study reported an increase in the incidence of tumors of the brain and heart which were consistent with and reinforce the results of the NIH study.
- The American Cancer Society’s statement on the significance of this study: “The NTP report linking radiofrequency radiation (RFR) to two types of cancer marks a paradigm shift in our understanding of radiation and cancer risk. The findings are unexpected; we wouldn’t reasonably expect non-ionizing radiation to cause these tumors.”
- Telecom corporations want to place their antennas in close proximity to homes, schools and places of work. Increasing exposure to this documented public health risk is going against the tide of science which continues to show biological harm from wireless exposure – especially concerning is the increased risk to children and pregnant women.
4 – Small wireless facilities (and other wireless infrastructure) can catch fire with potentially catastrophic results.
- Small cell antennas are powerful electrical devices, and when they ignite, they cannot be controlled with traditional firefighting strategies.
- Power to the antenna and to the larger infrastructure must be shut off before the fire can be extinguished, causing a potentially deadly delay.
- Storms or accidents can cause poles with antennas to fall, increasing the risk of catastrophic fire.
- The 2007 Malibu Canyon fire was determined to be caused when overloaded power poles snapped during high Santa Ana winds, igniting nearby dry brush. The poles had small cell wireless antennas on them from AT&T, Sprint (now T-Mobile) and Verizon Wireless, with one of them overloaded with telecommunications equipment, in violation of sound engineering principles. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a $12 million settlement with the four telecom corporations, including NextG (now Crown Castle). The fire burned 3,836 acres, destroyed 36 vehicles and 14 structures, damaged 19 others and injured three firefighters.
5 – Data show that property values are lower for homes located near “small cell” wireless antennas and cell towers.
- An article published in the journal of the National Realtor’s Association found that 94 percent of homebuyers are “less interested and would pay less” for a property located near a cell tower or antenna.
- Homeowners with wireless antennas on or near their property report lower- than- expected sales prices, as well as buyers backing out of contracts when they realized the homes were “bathed” in radiation from antennas offering 5G services that need to be in close proximity to users.
- Recent studies showing that home buyers “prioritize 5G” were sponsored by the telecom industry. It is unlikely that survey questions mentioned antennas, but survey questions were not released.
6 – Wireless transmissions are easier for hackers to penetrate compared to more secure fiberoptic connections to homes, schools and businesses.
- Wireless networks are easier to hack than wired networks. Chris Krebs, former United States Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, says, “Data on 5G networks will flow through interconnected cellular towers, small cells, and mobile devices that may provide malicious actors additional vectors to intercept, manipulate, or destroy critical data. Malicious actors could also introduce device vulnerabilities into the 5G supply chain to compromise unsecured wireless systems and exfiltrate critical infrastructure data.” Link to full testimony here.
- To hack a wired network you need a physical connection; for wireless, all you need is a wireless-enabled laptop.
- According to Aberdeen Cyber Security, a leading security firm, “Wired networks perform better than wireless networks and are more secure than wireless networks.”
7 – Wireless broadband connectivity will have a significant negative impact on energy consumption vs. wired fiber to the premises.
- Wireless antennas require significant amount of power to transmit signals, while fiberoptic (wired) broadband connections require virtually none.
- The number of small cell antennas required to implement 5G coverage will significantly increase power requirements at a time when California is seeking to reduce its carbon footprint.
- 5G base stations consume up to 300% more energy than 4G base stations.
Fiberoptic is the wired common sense solution that will benefit everyone and has already been paid for by California telephone customers:
Tell your state representative to
VOTE NO on AB-965 & AB-1065
Source: updated 21may2023
- Americans for Responsible Technology
- Environmental Health Trust