FCC doing everything possible to speed up 5G rollout

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
By Gordon Allison, Jr.Technical Writer

Just last week, on Aug. 3, the Federal Communications Commission adopted and released its ‘Report and Order’ (FCC-speak for new regulations). The position paper — known as FCC 18-111 – is more than 100 pages. The Reader’s Digest version is that the wireless companies have the rights to install small 5G wireless systems in public right-of-ways without regard to your safety, your children’s safety nor aesthetics destroying the general character of your town, city or neighborhood.

Lest you think this policy is benign, consider this point: The lobbyists for the wireless telecommunication companies have put on a full court press in recent months in an attempt to ram similar laws through all the 50 State Legislatures. They rode into Raleigh last summer and seduced the Legislature into passing a North Carolina Law, 2017-159, that mirrors the FCC’s recent Report and Order.

As reported in the July 26 issue of the County Compass, the wireless lobbyists tried to work their magic with the Michigan Legislature in late May, but people who have some data on the damaging effects of wireless systems were there to counter the full court press.


Last week we looked at the spectrum from low frequencies to high. As the saying goes in real estate, “Buy land, they are not making any more of it.”

The cell phone system was and is a method to make “more land” so to speak. It works by re-using frequencies in the same band so you can get more phone calls at the same time. A full blown cellular radio site (having the maximum number of transmitters and receivers allowed by the spectrum) requires three times the equipment as each set of transmitters and receivers is duplicated for the other two directions.

For the sake of argument, a stack of antennas is placed at 0 degrees, True; 120 degrees, True and 240 degrees, True. Assume you are on a road, north of the cell site, that goes from northwest to southeast. If you make your call, it will initially be made using the north oriented antennas, and as you travel to the southeast, your cell phone, iPad, tablet, or whatever will automatically shift to the antennas aimed toward southeast.

And, when your battery-operated communications device cannot muster an increase of output power to keep you locked in, then you will be switched to another cell site to maintain your connection. The current cell towers are located approximately 8 miles between their sites.

The looming risk is that proposed 5G cell sites must be much closer together!

The reason? The 28 and 42 GHz frequencies used by 5G don’t travel as far for a given ‘transmitter power output, (often abbreviated as TPO). The signal of these higher frequencies traveling through the air (propagation) are more easily blocked by rain, snow, sleet, fog, foliage, dirt storms, houses, concrete and “e-glass” windows.

The industry’s ‘damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead’ solution is to dramatically and exponentially ramp up ‘small cell sites’ throughout the nation. How would you like to have a utility pole near your yard with an antenna of dimensions three feet high by two feet wide by one foot thick? Not too bad? Well, how about the attendant equipment setting on the ground? It can be a box six foot high by four feet wide by one foot deep.

All of this gear is constantly, incessantly emitting radio frequency radiation!

If company V builds a site first, for example, then company T-M comes along and is allowed to increase the footprint of the equipment by 2,500 square feet. That’s about 45 feet square. Oh, let’s not forget the additives allowed – power meter stand with a microwave transmitting smartmeter, concealing elements, grounding equipment, power transfer switch, diesel generator on a stand, diesel fuel tank and power pole to get AC power on site.

In the second article of this County Compass’ series, Judi Wills, a Pamlico County resident, explained how she keeps a map of all cell sites in the area so she can avoid them as they harm her physically!

Guess what? The 28 and 42 GHz radio signals kill honey bees! Think that is not a problem? Well, the honey bee pollinates the crops in this area for sure and just about everywhere there are flowers or crops being grown. When bees die, your food sources will dry up also. Think about that for a moment.

Remember this: Israel, France and other countries have found that WiFi is deleterious to young children. Many schools in other countries use Ethernet wires and routers to connect children to the Internet – not radiation emitting wireless connections!

In addition, the general power limits allowed for wireless microwave frequencies in Europe are 100 to 1000 times less than that allowed by our FCC.

And here is something else: The FCC uses heating values to derive safe limits of electromagnetic exposure. The USA uses the standard of milliwatts (mW) per square centimeter. The units used internationally are microwatts (uW) per square meter. Therefore, when the federal Food and Drug Administration (another agency, distinct from the FCC) says our microwave ovens are allowed to leak a paltry 2 mW/cm2 of radiation that does not sound nearly as scary as the European equivalent expressed as: 20,000,000 uW/m2

The FCC, which has a huge staff, is ultimately directed by five Commissioners. The Chairman, currently Ajit Pai, was appointed by President Trump and was the former chief attorney for Verizon Wireless. Only three commissioners may be members of the same political party. Now the Commissioners are three Republicans and one Democrat. The statements by the Commissioners and the Chairman, which are placed at the end of the Report and Order, tell an interesting story.

The three Republicans are very gung-ho while the Democrat is more cautious. Her statement suggests likely problems with the implementation of the Order that have not been addressed. and those should have been addressed. To see her entire statement, click here.

Please note these comments by Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel:

But as with all things, the devil is in the details. We are dealing with a complex and heady mix of federal authority, state preemption, local realities, and the possibility if job losses for workers and service outages for consumers. Getting it right is essential. I believe that in some ways, this decision runs roughshod over the details where clearer and more specific direction is required.”

Later, in her two-page statement, Rosenworcel offers a nearby example.

So what does that mean in the real world? Take Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, just for example. It’s a coastal community. There are laws that limit the ability of private entities to dig up roads during certain times of the year, namely during the height of hurricane season and during peak tourist times. These rules are limited in time and scope. They are informed by local traffic and public safety authorities. They are reasonably related to the police powers of municipalities. And yet, going forward, three unelected officials sitting here today preempt these local policies because they believe Washington knows better.”

Ms. Rosenworcel could have said the same about our area here in eastern North Carolina.

There is another important factor to consider in this “Streamlining of 5G” deployment. These numerous small cell installations, likely numbering in the hundreds of thousands, will require substantially more power to operate than many already strained power companies may be able to provide, especially on such a quick build-out schedule.

Do you see the train wreck coming? If not, you need better glasses! Today would be a great time to call your Senators and Congressmen and let them know this FCC order needs some serious reconsideration.

Senator Thom Tillis – (202) 224-6342

Senator Richard Burr – (202) 224-3154

Representative Walter Jones – (202) 225-3415

Next week: We’ll take a look at the acronym OTMR, which stands for ‘One-Time, Make Ready.’ These are the buzz words for preparing an existing utility pole to accept gear, equipment, and antenna for a current cell phone provider, while leaving it ready to accept even more stuff from other providers without having to move AC power, cable TV and telephone lines!

13 page Research Report