5G Rollout Causes “Chaos” in Baton Rouge


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AT&T is installing 80 new small cell 5G poles on the streets of Baton Rouge, and it “has created a lot of chaos downtown,” according to City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel. In mid-October, an AT&T subcontractor struck an underground power line during one installation creating a massive power outage in the city.

Adding to the deployment woes, local residents expressed shock and opposition to the 29-foot black metal poles upon unexpectedly seeing their installation. Executive director Davis Rhorer said several property owners have contacted the Downtown Development District to dispute the locations of the towers, and how close they will be to their businesses and homes.  Metro Council passed an ordinance establishing the regulations for small cell installation in 2017, allowing the poles to be built in the public right-of-way, according to Business Report

According to Business Report, Darryl Gissel said local law does not allow officials to turn down a tower site proposal based on aesthetic reasons, and there must be a “compelling reason” such as it being a safety risk or a historical site.

Although Baton Rouge has little control over where these new towers may go, Gissel confirms that AT&T has worked with locals to place towers in more favorable locations, such as their recent decision to appease disgruntled residents by relocating a tower site from the front of their apartment building to the front of a nearby parking garage. Gissel said, “This is something people are going to have to deal with. This technology is coming.” Comments? Email us

November 14, 2018