Fairfax to Study Fiber-Optic Broadband Instead of 5G

By Adrian Rodriguez | arodriguez@marinij.com | Oct 4, 2018 | Original Marin Independent Journal article here.

Amid a countywide public outcry, Fairfax officials have vowed to explore broadband options that do not include the installation of “small cell” antennas, which protesters say are a health and safety hazard. On Wednesday, the Town Council unanimously appointed an ad-hoc committee to study the viability of a town-wide fiber-optic cable network as an alternative to 5G antennas. The move comes a week after the council voted 5-0 at a special meeting to adopt an urgency ordinance that

  1. prohibits small cell antennas in residential zones and
  2. requires 1,500 feet of separation between the devices.

Mayor Peter Lacques said:

Most residents feel that they are being poorly served by the cable and DSL service that is available now. And yes, many are concerned about the health and other risks associated with 5G. Fiber optic is far superior. It’s much faster, much more reliable. So if we can get fiber optic in as an alternative, we can avoid that impact on health.

Large groups of people also have turned out recently at the county Board of Supervisors' meetings and City Council meetings in San Rafael, Mill Valley and San Anselmo to call for stricter regulation of the new technology. Opponents of 5G say there are adverse health and environmental effects that are caused by exposure to microwave radiation emitted by the 4G and 5G infrastructure.

Last month, the Mill Valley City Council adopted an urgency ordinance that prohibits new wireless telecommunications facilities in residential zones and requires annual EMF readings to ensure that wireless facilities are complying with federal and state laws. Fairfax modeled its ordinance after Mill Valley’s, and Ross adopted similar rules.

After receiving increasing pressure from residents, the San Anselmo Town Council last week beefed up its ordinance on a 5-0 vote. In San Anselmo, people within 300 feet of a proposed 5G antenna will be notified. If the applicant requests exceptions, the town is also entitled to employ an independent consultant at the expense of the applicant to evaluate exceptions.

“I would support the changes, and I would encourage us to go as far as we possibly can — even if it means defying federal law,” San Anselmo Councilman Matt Brown said at the Sept. 25 meeting. He explained that Californians defied federal law in legalizing cannabis, and he sees this as a similar fight against the administration.

San Anselmo Councilman Matt Brown:

I don’t know what the safety gap is to avoid full-on war, but this is the beginning of a revolution and I wouldn’t mind taking the leadership role to defy the industry he said.

In an email to the county, Leland Kim, a spokesman for AT&T parrots the predictable industry position:

“We maintain power levels at our antenna sites that are at or below, and most of the time far below, the limits established by government regulations. Expert scientists and government agencies responsible for health and safety have stated repeatedly that wireless antennas in compliance with FCC regulations do not pose health concerns.”

Heidi Flato, a spokeswoman for Verizon does the same:

We ensure that all applicable federal, state and local regulations are followed. Emissions from small cells, which are low power, run at a small fraction of FCC-permitted levels.

S4WT Comment: Of course, this FCC/Wireless industry propaganda is crux of the problem. The FCC-permitted levels are not protective. We have solid evidence that Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) that "run at a small fraction of FCC-permitted levels" in Sebastopol, CA are hazardous, leading to deaths and illnesses.

On Sept. 26, the Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules designed to speed deployment of small wireless facilities. The rules limit the review of new installations by local jurisdictions to 60 days for existing structures (whether or not the government structures already have wireless antennas) and 90 days for entirely new facilities.

In a report on the proposed rules, FCC staff stated estimates that wireless providers will invest $275 billion over the next decade in next-generation wireless infrastructure deployments, which “should generate an expected three million new jobs and boost our nation’s GDP by half a trillion dollars."

The report notes, Over the last few years, providers have been increasingly looking to densify their networks with new small cell deployments that have antennas often no larger than a small backpack.

S4WT Comment: This is, of course, more FCC/Wireless industry propaganda which does not accurately describe what is happening. See the specifications what is actually being installed in Santa Rosa right now and read that US S.3157, the proposed STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act of 2018, allows antennas for small personal wireless service faciliies of not more than 3 cubic feet in volume. Many Santa Rosa installations, however, have antennas that are 4.66 cubic feet in volume plus ancillary equipment up to 28 cubic feet (the size of a refrigerator). This is obviously NOT the "size of a small backpack." We have to expose these obvious lies at every turn.

And it adds, “To support advanced 4G and 5G offerings, providers must build out small cells at a faster pace and at a far greater density of deployment than before.”

S4WT Comment: This is, of course another lie, contradicted by Verizon itself: 5G can transmit out 3,000 feet.

Because of that, Lacques said that the ad-hoc committee is on a fast-track to hopefully make a recommendation within six months. He along with Councilman Bruce Ackerman were appointed to the committee. He said they will likely explore a partnership with a company called Sonic, which would install the fiber-optic network. He said they would consider funding options for the project, including a possible utility tax for Fairfax residents.

Jess Lerner said she and several Fairfax residents have formed a task force to campaign against 5G installations. She is happy to see the Town Council take action, but she said more can be done.

Jess Lerner said:

There are some outstanding issues, such as adopting rules for setback protections, or adding buffer requirements for mixed-use zones, among other issues. There are the health hazards from RF microwave radiation emissions, fire safety hazards, seismic hazards, overusing utility poles, aesthetics, property value reductions and other harms.