After years of pushback against AT&T and Verizon, the town council finally approved a resolution adopting design standards for small cells to fix inadequate coverage and usher in emerging 5G technology, according to Buckrail.
AT&T is looking to install some 12-15 small cells, mainly incorporated into street light poles. Company spokesperson Terri Nikole Baca said the installations would be part of an early 5G preparation and will bolster the existing 4G coverage in town, which suffers from overload during peak summer months.
Regarding small cells, the council has opposed numerous requests and modified others on design grounds, but also in respect to concerns regarding health impacts of radio frequency. Carrier representatives repeatedly warned the town that should they continue to be rebuffed, they could simply impose their will on Jackson by “playing the FCC card’. They have since put it into effect, Buckrail reported.
Councilmember Jim Stanford was the main opponent of the small cells. According to Buckrail, his one-man ‘Don Quixote’ crusade against an overreaching government, mindless consumerism, and unanswered questions concerning the effect of RF on health, fueled his opposition to the initiative.
“It’s like an arms race. Making more money selling more data so more people can do more pointless things on their phone even faster. There’s never enough. Ever. It’s really an insatiable beast,” the senior council member said.
He added, “I am trying to resist the unnecessary proliferation of this technology into all corners of our everyday lives and, now we learn, into the backcountry as well. No place is immune to this.”
Councilwoman Hailey Morton Levinson countered, “You’re living in the wrong time.”
Despite Stanford’s resistance, ultimately, the Council passed the resolution, ‘Wireless Telecommunication Facility Design Standards’ by a 4-1 vote with Stanford opposed.
March 22, 2019