While we have serious doubts about 5G blanketing our area anytime soon—measured in decades—we hope to use our new fiber optic networks for mobile enhancement, connecting many small cell antennas to cover current dead zones. Some members of our community have raised the specter of harm from antenna radiation. These concerns are misguided. The science on low frequency radiation to date shows no consistent results—many studies suggest some danger, many more of the more than 25,000 studies in total suggest none under normal circumstances. But even if you are alarmed but still want to use your smart phone, you should want small cell antennas everywhere. The maximum signal your smart phone can receive is thousands of times lower than the signals it transmits, so great is the loss of signal power from an antenna. To save battery life smart phones transmit the least amount of power with the greatest received power. The closer you are to an antenna the lower will be the radiation you absorb. We should be urging for small cell antennas everywhere.
The conditions that forced Northwest Connect into existence–-thousands not connected to now vital broadband services, no competition in broadband services, no timely upgrades in our region–-grew from the 1996 Telecommunications Act. That Act exchanged universal service as a mandate for monopoly telecom services for competition in the telecom marketplace. For our region it has not worked out well. For us the Act has made universal service and real competition only possible through municipal ownership of new broadband networks. Yet our incumbent carriers battle against such networks at every turn. Yes, we were betrayed.