Big Wireless in the Wilderness?

The National Park Service is racing to expand cellphone service at parks nationwide. Do we really want a connected wilderness?

By CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM | June 25, 2020 | Original Sierra Club article here. ILLUSTRATIONS BY EUGENIA LOLI

In 2018, I went on a solo backpacking trip into the wild stone labyrinth of the Needles district in Canyonlands National Park. After three days among the canyons and hoodoos, happily not seeing another person, I crested a rise of slickrock overlooking the stunning basin-and-mesa country that reaches from Utah’s La Sal Mountains to the Abajo range. I had an iPhone with me, which I was using as a camera, and on a lark I decided to see if I could catch a signal. Sure enough, I could.

Like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I descended into the behavior that the sight and sound of my device always calls forth. Dutifully, I checked email, the weather, the headlines. When a flood of texts poured in, I felt a surge of satisfaction—that dopamine thrill of virtual connection.

I immediately regretted having turned on the phone. There was something idiotic in my tinkering with an electronic toy when all about me was a beauty and immensity that dwarfed the merely human. Three days of sweet calm and mental quiet faded in the light of the screen and, instantly, I was back in the frenetic informational overload we call civilization. I vowed to never again bring my phone on a backpacking trip. The temptation to look for a signal is too great, and the psychological cost— the loss of serenity and a sense of presence — is, for me, too high.

The parks were never intended to meet the expectations of every visitor . . . if the Park Service fails to protect the preservation values at the heart of its mission—and in the process fails to serve those visitors who seek the beauty and complexity of life on Earth untrammeled by industrial civilization — the parks will be no different than surrounding landscapes. And thereby they will lose all their special meaning.

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Trump Weighs $1 Trillion for Infrastructure to Spur Economy

By Jenny Leonard and Josh Wingrove, June 16, 2020 | Original Bloomberg article here.

  • Push comes with current funding law set to expire on Sept. 30
  • Democrats unveiled their own $500 billion proposal this month

$1 Trillion for Infrastructure to Spur Economy

The Trump administration is preparing a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal as part of its push to spur the world’s largest economy back to life, according to people familiar with the plan. A preliminary version being prepared by the Department of Transportation would reserve most of the money for traditional infrastructure work, like roads and bridges, but would also set aside funds for 5G wireless infrastructure and rural broadband, the people said.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to discuss rural broadband access at a White House event on Thursday. An existing U.S. infrastructure funding law is up for renewal by Sept. 30, and the administration sees that as a possible vehicle to push through a broader package, the people said. They asked not to be identified because the Trump proposal isn’t final and hasn’t been announced.

The news buoyed U.S. stock futures early Tuesday, including for companies that may benefit from a burst of new public spending. Fluor Corp. surged 11% before regular U.S. trading, while Vulcan Materials Co. climbed 8.3%.

The draft plan is emerging as lawmakers from both parties and Trump debate the timing and scope of more stimulus for a U.S. economy plunged into recession by nationwide lock-downs needed to halt the spread of coronavirus. It’s the latest sign of momentum in Washington for some kind of infrastructure spending blitz ahead of the election.

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24 Democrats Urge FCC to Delay Vote on WT-Docket 19-250

. . . to Allow Local Governments Adequate Time to Respond to Wireless Equipment Rule Changes, Amid COVID-19 Response


Re: WT Docket No. 19-250: FCC Implementation of State and Local Governments’ Obligation to Approve Certain Wireless Facility Modification Requests Under Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act of 2012

June 2, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Twenty-four Democratic Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter today to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to delay a vote on a Declaratory Ruling that would limit local governments‘ role in the deployment of wireless infrastructure. The Declaratory Ruling would grant companies the right to expand existing cell sites without any regard to local processes and potential conflicting priorities, which would be especially harmful right now given the ongoing challenges that local governments face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCC is currently scheduled to vote on the Declaratory Ruling on June 9.

The Members wrote:

“We are especially troubled by the burden responding to this Declaratory Ruling will place on local governments that are rightfully focused right now on combatting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Likewise, we worry that if this Declaratory Ruling does not benefit from meaningful input from local governments, the result could undermine municipalities’ ability to balance their responsibilities to public safety and community design with their desire to ensure access to affordable wireless networks and the next generation services.”

This letter follows an April request by Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and other House Committee Chairs calling for immediately extending public comment deadlines across the federal government in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Members continued:

“We believe such a delay is further warranted as local public servants and elected officials are filling the void left by their federal counterparts. These local officials cannot be expected to conduct a meaningful review and respond to an item of this nature within the very limited time provided by the FCC. If local governments are forced to respond to this Declaratory Ruling instead of focusing on their public health and safety responses, it very well may put Americans health and safety at risk.”

The letter was signed by Pallone, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL).

To read the letter, click HERE.

FCC Issues Draft Order Attempting to Game Wireless Streamlining Rules

Adapted from an article by T. Scott Thompson andJohn C. Nelson Jr., May 22, 2020 | Original article here.

On May 19, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) released a draft Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking clarifying certain aspects of its rules governing the deployment of wireless equipment on existing telecommunications infrastructure. The draft Declaratory Ruling provides important clarification regarding the Commission’s Rules governing collocations and modifications of existing installations in response to attempted evasions by local governments.

Scheduled for a vote at the FCC’s June meeting, the Commission’s action would clarify:

  • When the 60-day shot clock commences for a locality’s review of modifications under Section 6409 of the Spectrum Act of 2012 (codified at 47 U.S.C. § 1455);

S4WT Comment: Of course, In 47 U.S.C. § 1455(a) In General. — the part that does not deal with Federal easements, rights-of-way and leases — is a very short addition to Telecom Law, which simply does not include shot clocks, at all. All FCC shot clocks are a figment of the FCC’s imagination which are inconsistent with the intent of the 1996 Telecommunications Act (1996-TCA) and therefore ultra vires (i.e. outside the law). Also, wireless companies cannot skirt environmental review for any "Eligible facilities request" modifications.

1996-TCA Conference Report:

"Under subsection (c)(7)(B)(ii), decisions are to be rendered in a reasonable period of time, taking into account the nature and scope of each request. If a request for placement of a personal wireless service facility involves a zoning variance or a public hearing or comment process, the time period for rendering a decision will be the usual period under such circumstances. It is not the intent of this provision to give preferential treatment to the personal wireless service industry in the processing of requests, or to subject their requests to any but the generally applicable time frames for zoning decision."

47 U.S.C. § 1455

" (3) Applicability of environmental laws: Nothing in paragraph (1) shall be construed to relieve the Commission from the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act [1] or the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969."

FCC Attorney Erica Rosenberg in 2020

"Every single Wireless Telecommunications Facility (WTF) must undergo NEPA review."

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Two Arizona Companies Combine to Bring 5G Tech Collaboration

By Jeff Gifford, May 19, 2020 | – Original Phoenix Business Journal article here.

A pair of Tucson companies that have merged are developing a 5G antenna that promises range and flexibility surpassing current market options but using less power and taking less space.

  • University of Arizona Tucson, AZ; See full profile

  • A pair of Tucson companies that have merged are developing a 5G antenna that promises range and flexibility surpassing current market options but using less power and taking less space.

Two Arizona companies are combining into one with an aim to bring their collaborative technological innovation into the rapidly growing 5G market.

FreeFall 5G brings together antenna systems maker FreeFall Aerospace with ED2 Corp., which builds telecommunications hardware and specializes in 5G. The Tucson companies already had worked together since 2018, with ED2 implementing a FreeFall antenna concept last year.

The combined company will continue developing that system — a 5G antenna that promises range and flexibility surpassing current market options but using less power and taking less space — with plans to unveil it this summer.

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FCC Extends Comment Date on FCC Order 19-226 By Two Weeks

DA 20-521

Released: May 15, 2020 → here.


ET Docket No. 19-226


  • Revised Comment Date: June 17, 2020

  • Revised Reply Comment Date: July 20, 2020

The Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) extends the comment and reply comment deadlines on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Targeted Changes to the Commission’s Rules Regarding Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields, released on December 4, 2019 (NPRM)1. Currently, the comment due date is June 3, 2020 and the reply comment due date is July 6, 20202.

On May 11, 2020, Momentum Dynamics Corporation sought a 45-day extension of the comment and reply comment filing dates to perform testing in support of comments in the midst of the disruptions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic3. On May 14, 2020, GuRu Wireless, Inc. expressed opposition to this motion, noting that the comment period for this proceeding has already been delayed and that supplemental information could be filed after the comment period through ex parte submission4.

It is the general policy of the Commission that extensions of time shall not be routinely granted5. Under the circumstances presented, we conclude that a 14-day extension of the comment and reply comment deadlines is warranted to address the concerns raised about conducting testing and allow for a better developed record in this proceeding.

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COVID-19 After-Effects Can Linger for Weeks

— Even patients with mild cases describe persistent fatigue, trouble breathing, cardiac issues

By Amanda D’Ambrosio, May 13, 2020 | Original Medpage article here.

A tired and miserable looking man lying in bed with his hand on his forehead

When he developed a low fever at the end of March, Jarett DeSanti did not think it was related to COVID-19. But as his fever persisted, his body weakened, and cases continued to emerge in New York, DeSanti’s doctor insisted he get tested. DeSanti, a 35-year-old security officer from Brentwood, New York, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 27, and his moderate illness, doctors said, could be managed at home.

In the following days, his fever worsened, climbing to 102 °F. He had nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. On day 10, he got a chest x-ray confirming pneumonia. He lost his sense of smell, and couldn’t sleep. When the fever broke on day 13, his body started to recover. DeSanti tested positive for antibodies, and planned to donate plasma at his local hospital.

But 47 days after first testing positive for COVID-19, his symptoms have yet to completely subside. He still suffers weakness, a daily low-grade fever, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and the constant anxiety that his illness will worsen yet again.

DeSanti said.

"If one little thing is changing in your body one day … all of a sudden, the anxiety goes through the roof," "This is the toughest and scariest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life."

Continue reading “COVID-19 After-Effects Can Linger for Weeks”

Something Foul in the Air

Adapted from an article by Kaitlyn Tiffany, May 13, 2020 | Original The Atlantic article here.


The coronavirus pandemic is sparking some interesting theories about the dangers of Densfied 4G/5G cell towers installed close to homes. The facts that wireless technology is slowly damaging us isn’t news — because the hazards of pulsed, data-modulated, Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR) exposures are based on established science.

In the 1970s, a bogeyman was power lines. Low-frequency electromagnetic fields were emanating from them all the time within a few hundred feet of high-voltage lines, and a shocking 1979 study suggested that children who developed cancer lived near power lines.” This study was sufficient to win the appeal of the law suit that led to the cancellation of a major powerline project planned for upstate New York.

Around the same time, knowledge about wireless radiation from radio and television infrastructure antennas and microwave ovens in homes as a possible human health problem gained traction. Later, established science proved that some household appliances, such as electric hair dryers and electric blankets created hazardous electric and magnetic fields, while in use.

Now the advance of cellphones and, more recently, the new high-speed wireless networks built to serve them have given rise to a number of people who have done significant research into the history of the US RF-EMR exposure guideline and understand that the guideline does, in the words of microwave weapons-expert Barrie Trower:

[provide] no protection against the electric and magnetic vectors.

"Between 1949 and 1962, everything we needed to know about microwaves was known and published . . . the brain at that time had been studied for brainwaves and microwaves could be used to penetrate the brain and cause behavioral changes.”

“A statement was made in 1962 by the governments that birth defects, organs, whole organisms, cells, brain function, emotions, moods could be altered, changed and destroyed [by microwave exposures].”

“Microwaves then, as now, were used as stealth weapons, before they became cell phones [and Wi-Fi].”

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Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia

By Naomi Klein, May 8 2020 | Original The Intercept article here.

MINEOLA, NY - OCTOBER 27: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo looks on as Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, left, talks during the Smart Schools Commission report at Mineola Middle School on October 27, 2014 in Mineola, New York. Governor Cuomo visited the Long Island school to receive the Smart Schools Commission report which calls for NY State to invest $2 billion in its schools in order to enhance teaching and learning through technology. (Photo by Alejandra Villa-Pool/Getty Images)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo looks on as Google executive chair Eric Schmidt, left, talks during the Smart Schools Commission report at Mineola Middle School on Oct. 27, 2014 in Mineola, N.Y. Photo: Alejandra Villa-Pool/Getty Images

FOR A FEW fleeting moments during New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, the somber grimace that has filled our screens for weeks was briefly replaced by something resembling a smile.

“We are ready, we’re all-in,” the governor gushed. “We are New Yorkers, so we’re aggressive about it, we’re ambitious about it. … We realize that change is not only imminent, but it can actually be a friend if done the right way.”

The inspiration for these uncharacteristically good vibes was a video visit from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who joined the governor’s briefing to announce that he will be heading up a blue-ribbon commission to reimagine New York state’s post-Covid reality, with an emphasis on permanently integrating technology into every aspect of civic life.

“The first priorities of what we’re trying to do,” Schmidt said, “are focused on telehealth, remote learning, and broadband. … We need to look for solutions that can be presented now, and accelerated, and use technology to make things better.” Lest there be any doubt that the former Google chair’s goals were purely benevolent, his video background featured a framed pair of golden angel wings.

Continue reading “Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia”

The Brave New World of Bill Gates and Big Telecom

Adapted from an article by Robert F. Kennedy March 8, 2020 | Original article here.


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote last week about Malibu police’s ticketing Point Dume surfers $1,000 apiece for using the ocean during the quarantine. Was this merely an appalling police judgment at which we will laugh post-quarantine? Or does anyone else feel that this is the first wave of compliance and obedience training for something more permanent? Are powerful state and corporate entities using the current crisis to remove basic rights, and intensify pressures to promote vaccines and surveillance? Does anyone else feel the suffocating darkness of tyranny descending on our nation? And finally, does anyone share my dread that Bill Gates—and his long-time associate Tony Fauci—will somehow be running our Brave New World?


Imagine a world where the government doesn’t need police officers to apprehend those surfers or ticket you when you violate social distancing with your girlfriend. Suppose that computers discover your beach trip by tracking your movements using a stream of information from your cell phone, your car, your GPS, facial recognition technology integrated with real-time surveillance from satellites, mounted cameras, and implanted chips. Desk-bound prosecutors or robots will notify you of your violation by text while simultaneously withdrawing your $1,000 penalty from your payroll account. Welcome to Bill Gates’ America. It’s right around the corner.

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