Eugene Residents Enlist Congressman in Their Battle Versus 5G

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In January, some residents protested a small cell mounted on a utility pole near a middle school, according to the Register-Guard. The move by residents to oppose 5G infrastructure, with backing by city officials, helped draw the battle lines against 5G in the city, even though small cells are already present. In addition, the locals turned their U.S Congressman to take their message to the FCC.

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio wrote a letter to the FCC asking the agency to ensure 5G, and its infrastructure is safe since the federal government hasn’t updated its guidelines for human exposure to radio-wave radiation in more than two decades, reported the Register-Guard.

“My constituents in southwest Oregon have expressed their concerns regarding possible health effects from increased (radio-wave radiation) exposure, particularly in light of upcoming 5G technology,” noted DeFazio in the April 15 letter. “They are not alone — Americans across the country are expressing similar worries about possible adverse health effects from this technology, and they are understandably demanding answers from the federal government.”  

The city of Eugene already received 90 applications for small cell installations, issuing 52 permits so far, with 15 small cells already installed on poles as of last week with more on the way.

The city charges a flat lease rate of $200 a month for small cell equipment while the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) levies a $1,000 one-time order application fee per site for small cell antennas and equipment plus a $1,800 annual lease fee for pole-top installations. The utility estimated the lease fees would eventually generate about $66,000 a year, the Register-Guard reported.

Though 5G service is not yet available in the area, with no timeline of rollout yet communicated, telecoms, including AT&T and Mobilitie working on behalf of Sprint, have already installed more than a dozen small cells on city-owned streetlights and utility-owned power poles in Eugene to date.

Eugene was one of the cities to sue the FCC after its ruling in fall 2018, that prevented “outlier” cities from inhibiting 5G’s deployment; the city cited illegal overreach by the federal government’s authority over local matters.

May 7, 2019

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