Wireless companies across the United States are racing to build up their 5G capabilities, but some communities are not happy.
While 5G is 100 times faster than current network speeds, it also requires around 300,000 new cell towers, which is around the total amount of cell towers that were built in the past 30 years, according to CBS News.
The towers, however, must be built in close proximity to one another. This means contractors must place them around people’s homes.
Jonathan Reeves, the CEO of an advanced software company called Arvizio, provided a different perspective on 5G in his interactions with CBS News’ Tony Dokoupil. He talked about his company’s new product, which, through 5G, allows people in different locations to view 3-D images through a lens.
“Today, we can do this using Wi-Fi technology, and we can do it using landline technology. But of course you’re then tied to particular locations,” Reeves said.
“With 5G, now we can begin to extend this. So we can actually begin to start doing this on building sites. We can start doing it on the factory floor. So it really opens up a whole new world.”
Melissa Arnoldi, who is in charge of AT&T’s 5G expansion, said the new infrastructures are going to come to almost every neighborhood in the country.
Arnoldi said, “We’re going to use our existing infrastructure today. Whether it’s light poles, whether it’s street lights. So we’re going to make sure that we don’t make it obtrusive to our customers and to the citizens.”
Not everyone, though, is excited about this.
For example, Donna Barron, a resident of Montgomery County, Maryland, is protesting the plans to install these new poles in neighborhoods.
“The cell towers are called small cell towers, but they are not so small when they are in your front yard,” Barron said.
She also raised potential health concerns at a government hearing last month, claiming that the 5G installments will “cause cancer.”
Cell-phone use does, in fact, emit radiation. However, research on the correlation between cell phones and health risks remains inconsistent.
If Barron loses her battle, she says she will consider moving. Whether she succeeds in her efforts or not, Barron believes that property values will drop due to the rise of 5G towers.
“It could drop 20 percent,” Barron said. “For that house, that house, that house. And then pretty soon you go around the curb and there’s another cell tower. They’re all through this neighborhood. So it’s going to devastate the neighborhood.”
Cities across the country will be receiving these new 5G antennae this year. However, 5G-compatible devices will likely not be available for another year.
Meanwhile, Arnoldi assures citizens that her workers will remain focused on safety, especially since they have to work near this 5G equipment as well.
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