Selectmen encourage looking at tightening local control for placements of 5G antennas

by beth on December 15, 2017

Post image for Selectmen encourage looking at tightening local control for placements of 5G antennas

Above: Selectmen reacted to a presentation raising potential for large 5G antennaes to be placed around Southborough with little control by Town officials. (simulated images cropped from 12/5/17 presentation)

Last week, the Board of Selectmen heard a presentation on issues around telecom controlled installation of 5G antennas or DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems).

Members expressed concern about issues highlighting potential lack of local control. They recommended the issues be raised with both the Planning Board and Board of Health for potential tightening of bylaws.

Resident Heidi Davis brought her concerns about 5G issues to the Town. Town Administrator Mark Purple invited her to present data to selectmen. Davis professed not to be an expert, but shared her homework on the issue.

Davis warned the board that the current approach for 5G wireless internet calls for one 30-foot tower per every twelve homes. Her presentation highlighted:

  • In many cities and towns telecom providers are filing applications for siting these in the rights of way i.e. on existing telephone poles in residential areas via “streamlined” permitting process.
  • The manner in which this is being implemented in many communities nationwide bypasses local zoning authorities.
  • To residents this means unsightly, obtrusive 5G “small cell” towers which will negatively impact:
    • Public safety
    • Infrastructure Poses fully unknown long term health impacts on citizens from continuously pulsed radiation in close proximity to residences, schools, childcare facilities, workplaces etc.
    • Property values
    • This proposed infrastructure is not intended to improve cell phone service reception

Davis raised the potential of public safety impact due to health risks that worry her. She supported them with articles covering the issues that selectmen could review. But she stressed that health concerns were better discussed at another time in another venue.

Her main point that evening was potential Town regulation gaps.

The resident informed selectmen that the towers can impact property values, losing tax revenue. And she pointed the board to a link indicating the Town’s potential liability if it doesn’t act. Presentation points included:

If this infrastructure goes forward without the proper due diligence, town officials will potentially be liable for violating their obligation and duty of care to their citizens.

Telecommunications providers do NOT bear liability

Selectmen thanked Davis for making them aware of issues. They encouraged her and Purple to specific steps in addressing it.

Chair Dan Kolenda told Davis she should make the Planning Board aware. Member Bonnie Phaneuf asked Davis to also bring it to the Board of Health for comment to inform selectmen and potentially work with Planning on bylaw changes.

During public comment, resident Timothe Litt said that once the Town’s technology committee is up and running it should look at the issue. But he also countered health issues with some personal skepticism. He believed that whenever new things come up, people are concerned, but not all concerns are valid. He cautioned that officials should make sure that any evidence of health issues comes from data in peer reviewed journals.

Kolenda observed that “information is power” and before her presentation they lacked information on one side of the argument. Member Lisa Braccio said she appreciated the ability to be proactive on the issue instead of waiting until an application comes in and find the Town is limited in how it can respond.

Shifrin indicated he was unsure what to make of the new information. But he agreed that he wanted the Town to have the ability to act if there is reason to be concerned about an application.

Purple agreed with Member Brian Shea’s recommendation to reach out to the Mass Municipal Association to find out what other towns are doing about the issue. Davis told him that she didn’t have information about work that other Mass towns are doing. But she did point him to municipalities working on it in other states.

You can view Davis’ written presentation here and the discussion at the meeting (via video by Southborough Access Media) here.

Updated (4/10/19 6:19 pm): Fixed the spelling of Timothe Litt’s first name.

1 concerned resident December 16, 2017 at 10:15 PM

Is anybody else frightened about the future of “5G wireless networks, their relationship to the “internet of things” IoT, and artificial intelligence / machine learning/robotics?

I pay attention. Too much so, i am now realizing. I am sane. I am also terrified.

I expect a couple mindless troll comments, that’s OK. My message is for those who won’t respond. Google those terms, understand that not everything that our corporatocracy permits us to read/watch/listen to is accurate because there is some serious money that drives the agenda. So dig deeper. Look to senior level, retired people who both know what they are talking about and ‘rediscovered’ their conscience in their waning years. Most of these sources appear generally impervious to corrupting ($$$) influences. LEARN. READ. BE SKEPTICAL. BECOME INFORMED. THEN MAKE UP YOUR MIND AND DEBATE THE ISSUES.

i am scared for my kids.

2 concerned resident December 16, 2017 at 11:11 PM

Addendum …. FYI

This is a good place to start the learning process. A well written, concise (dense even) technical review of the amalgam that is coming our way. This is a good article, balanced, purely informational. Moderate-to-higher level understanding of networking is advise, but informative to all.

The Convergence of 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, and Internet of Things by Mind Commerce Staff (July 12, 2017)

3 Al Hamilton December 18, 2017 at 9:24 AM

I am quite familiar with the Internet of Things and wireless technologies. Like all progress it is a 2 edged sword. On the plus side the convergence of the technologies offers the potential to make great strides in efficiency, medicine, human comfort, and alleviate some age old human ills. On the minus side, the technologies may eliminate some jobs and provide companies and governments the ability to gain more information about your behavior. Of course there will also be unintended consequences for good and ill as well.

In the early 1800’s bands of English weavers tried to prevent the introduction of powered looms by smashing them. They proclaimed their allegiance to “King Lud” who allegedly lived in Sherwood Forest. Hence the term Luddite. In the end, the benefits of cheaper, more efficient weaving won out. Such is progress. Trying to stop the IOT or 5G will be no more successful than those that hailed King Lud.

If you doubt this, just take a look at all the people who are staring at their hand held devices. The all are staved for bandwidth and data they want the progress better or worse. Change is always a mixed bag but I am confident that on balance it is for the better not worse.

4 mike fuce December 18, 2017 at 9:15 AM

DAS is simply, a much larger wireless network exactly like inside your home or business. No more, no less. I know these systems well and there is no health hazard at all (unless you are holding the antenna up to you ear or head 24/7). The poles look way better than most poles out there now, and it will bring competition to the only two internet players, Verizon and Charter (if you use satellite I am sorry). Then we who do not want or need broadcast TV or land lines charges thrown into a “package”, can gut just the internet we want (huge win for small business as well). DAS is a huge all around win for the consumer and if government gets involved, they will ruin it and drive up costs as always. Get out of the way town government and let us have our DAS.

5 Matthew Brownell December 19, 2017 at 7:05 AM

Excellent post, Mike –

Spot – on.

Internet access should not be treated as a Government / Public “utility”. The LAST thing this country needs is yet another industry regulated into oblivion, and reshaped by central Government bureaucrats to look like the Department or Registry of Motor Vehicles.

6 Frank Crowell December 19, 2017 at 8:54 AM

Absolutely right and the reason Net Neutrality was repealed last week. With the tax law being voted on today and further deregulation, it is my hope the Millennials will actually live in a thriving and growing economy.

7 D. McGee December 19, 2017 at 1:40 PM

You mean as opposed to an 8-year recovery in which GDP has increased in 31 of the last 33 quarters and a stock market that was up nearly 300% during the Obama years? What world are you living in? Facts matter.

As to the tax cut and trickle down economics (which GB I rightly termed Voodoo), we know from history that has never worked (see Reagan and GB II). The growth never materializes, as the rich just pocket the savings. Company CEOs have already stated they will use the tax savings to fund stock buy-backs, which contributes 0 new jobs or tax revenue.

I’m lucky to be a top 1%-er, so I will benefit greatly from the tax cut. However, I don’t NEED it, and there are issues that are way more important to me than my pocketbook. I vote my conscience.

8 Kelly Roney December 19, 2017 at 9:58 PM

Amen, D. Trickle down is a proven fraud.

The Republican killing of net neutrality has one purpose: To allow telecom companies to take more money from us for less value.

9 Djd66 December 20, 2017 at 12:20 AM

D. McGee – please put your money where your mouth is and pay more in taxes than what the government say you owe. Good to hear you don’t need the money. I do need the money and welcome any tax relief the the current administration will give me!

10 Frank Crowell December 20, 2017 at 8:33 AM

I knew that if I baited the hook just right that you would post a very partisan screed that you have accused others of writing. Mentioning Net Neutrallity works every time. Two points only:

– An average of less than 2% GDP growth over eight years is not a robust economy.

– You’re a 1% – good for you. You can write a larger check to the government if you want or maybe you could find a needy child in a failed school district and fund his way to a better school (plenty of those kids in South Bridge).

You might find yourself happier reading the Wall Street Journal. They’re mostly anti-Trump as well.

11 Djd66 December 20, 2017 at 10:11 AM

Kelly – just curious- how much is enough for you ? Right now, between all the taxes I pay, I am north of 45%. How much is enough?

12 D. McGee December 20, 2017 at 10:24 AM

How childish, Frank. And simple economics is not partisan. Trickle down is a proven failure, and will fail again this time. Tax cuts work best in a recession to boost consumer spending. Now we have no lever when the inevitable recession hits in a few years. Remember GB I paying for Reagan’s trickle down tax cuts after campaigning on “No New Taxes!!”? How did that work out for him?

And by the way, are you joking about the WSJ? WSJ is a Murdoch-owned paper that might as well be the written version of the absurdly partisan and pro-Trump Fox News.

Also, thanks for the suggestions on how to spend my money. I have always believed in giving generously back to the community and have set up foundations and endowments to do exactly what you say. Will you criticize this also?

13 Kelly Roney December 20, 2017 at 12:39 PM

Two percent beats the holy heck out of the last time your side tried trickle down nationally.

Of course, meantime, there’s Kansas, and we all know how their economy roared to life after their trickle down cuts.

I’m really tired of subsidizing the red states. I’m really tired of red voters asking me to subsidize them so they can give huge bonuses to the same people who crashed the economy in 2008 and who’ve taken nearly 100% of all labor productivity gains since 1980.

Fed up, in fact.

14 mike fuce December 18, 2017 at 9:25 AM

I just read “concerned resident” and that article makes very good sense from the “end times” philosophy of Revelations. And it does have huge implications for AI and as well as driver-less cars and mindless decisions that coincides well with “microchips” in our bodies”. Orwellian but factual and coming truer day by day. Very good. Thank you.

PS Everyone should cut out the “trolls” comments. It is stupid and immature. This is a somewhat civil open forum as well as many internet based discussions. Using the term does not make you any better than anyone else and it is simply the pot calling the kettle black.

15 concerned resident December 21, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Hi Mike,
thanks for your comment. further below i chastised you a bit for discounting the 5G component of the total system, saying you should learn more, and i feel my comment was premature as you have read reference i suggested (one of hundreds that, combine, paint the true picture). thanks

as i mentioned, i dont think we can do much to prevent what will come, but maybe something can be done. that’s were my understanding ends….. any ideas pass your opinion along…

16 concerned resident December 21, 2017 at 2:09 PM

Hi Al,

i agree with your post, and especially the futility of making any meaningful impact on what is already in motion. God help us all.

Mike, your comments …
“DAS is simply, a much larger wireless network exactly like inside your home or business. No more, no less. I know these systems well and there is no health hazard at all…” Wrong, wrong and wrong. You should do more homework before making firm conclusions. Be critical, don’t cherry pick article that support your preconceived opinion. I would suggest starting with

The bigger picture has to do with artificial intelligent machines that learn faster than humans and will command, monitor and control our infrastructure (from toasters to directed energy weapons and satellites). this link just scratches the surface. …

Ultimately i dont believe the population has a choice in the roll out of 5G/IoT/AI/machine learning systems. But as things start to look too weird, at least you will know the end game.

17 concerned resident December 21, 2017 at 2:42 PM

Addendum …

read or view any info from the founders of D-Wave quantum computing and the principals, Eric Ladizinsky, Ph.D. and Gordie Rose, CEO. (especially the latter). D-Wave is “the only game in town” and funded by the biggest global firms. Only about 8 systems in use today, but the performance and output capacity are following Moore’s Law so look out.

A prescient view of the end game can be found here …. Max is quite informed and is Factually Accurate, i just know if his conclusions or premonitions will play out exactly. Absorb Max’s message first, then accept some, reject some, or reject it all…. just absorb first.
i hope he is mostly wrong.

18 Al Hamilton December 23, 2017 at 9:34 AM

I used to be an economic forecaster in a previous life. My colleagues had a few rules that we discussed over beers after telling folks what the future would hold

1. It is very difficult to forecast, especially the future.

2. When you make a forecast, you know you will be wrong, the only question is how much and in what direction.

3. He who lives by the crystal ball soon learns to eat ground glass.

I would take all these dire forecasts about the future with a big grain of salt. For the last few millennia, the arc of technology has generally benefited humans. Most of us would not trade our cellphones, antibiotics, central heat, and cars the technologies available in 1800 or 1900 or even 2000.

If you want humbling but amusing examples of the perils of forecasting the the future of technology click on this link:

There will always be profits of doom. Relax, they have all been wrong so far and I for one am willing to bet on their track record.

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