Marek’s “My 5G Fixed Wireless Experience” Is Throwing Gasoline on Someone’s Fire

By Patricia Burke

Faster Connections: Beauty Is In the Eye Of The Beholder, Wireless Is In The Bodies of the Neighbors, and It Is Causing Harm

On September 28, the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society’s newsletter included the article, “Sue Marek: My 5G fixed wireless experience.”

According to Fierce Wireless,

“Sue Marek has been reporting on the telecom and tech industries for more than 25 years. Most recently she was editor in chief at SDxCentral where she oversaw all of that site’s editorial content. Prior to that she was editor in chief of FierceMarkets Telecom Group, where she managed a team of editors and was responsible for the content for several of the company’s web sites, newsletters and live events. Sue is a frequent speaker at industry events and has moderated panels for the Consumer Electronics Show, the Competitive Carriers’ Show, The Wireless Infrastructure Show, 5G North America, DC 5G, Interop, and more. Follow @SueMarek on Twitter and find her on LinkedIn.”

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, society at large discerns when one individual’s pursuit of pleasure infringes on another’s quality of life.

For example, many people like to drive very fast, yet speed limits protect the common good and safety.

Some people like to smoke, but after second-hand smoke was identified as a health risk, after decades of manufactured debate, smoking regulations were set in place, years after industry enjoyed lack of scrutiny and caused the premature death of millions.

Noise ordinances mandate that loud construction work doesn’t begin before 7 am.  Some people like to blare music loudly at all hours of the day and night. Sound ordinances are in effect to protect a healthy sleep environment and hearing.

Regulations Are In Effect So That One Person’s Preferences Do Not Unfairly Compromise Quality Of Life for Others. None Of These Priorities Are Yet In Effect Regarding The Build-Out Of Wireless Infrastructure, Including 5G, Nor is Any Accommodation

Sue Marek’s article includes a number of alarming examples of lack of protection, lack of scrutiny, and lack of discernment of 5G and wireless.

This lack may prove to be the cause of more suffering than the toll of tobacco, or asbestos, or lead or the story of glyphosate and other pesticides, or the story of PFSAs and forever chemicals.

In addition to tabulating the cost in terms of human suffering, there is also the unacknowledged impact on the environment.

The division between those who demand access to faster, more ubiquitous wireless, and those who have concerns, is widening.

Policy and regulation is decidedly favoring industry and economic growth over-caution, monitoring, and response.

Sue Marek:

“I’ve been a remote worker – either full-time or part-time – for the past 20 years. And during that time, I’ve relied heavily on my local cable company to provide my broadband connection so that I can do my work. And for the most part, I’ve been a satisfied customer.

But, like many remote workers, the Covid-19 pandemic made me much more reliant on Zoom and other videoconferencing tools to connect with clients and interview subjects. And because I was home a lot more than in the past, I also started exploring new entertainment options – like streaming live performances from some of my favorite bands.

I quickly learned that my broadband connection, which up until now had been adequate for my research and writing, was not adequate for these new video-intensive tasks. More often than not, I experienced glitches and delays.”

With all of the focus on climate and sustainability, will we dare to look at the massive energy and resource consumption that has been created by the cultivated demand for video on individual devices?

  1. “I Can See the Tower”  (And It Is Over Your Non-Consenting Neighbor’s Home)

Sue Marek:

“I saw the installers laboriously running fiber up a side street near my block and I was thrilled when I saw one of Verizon’s green 5G towers installed just a short distance away. I can see the top of that Verizon tower from my backyard.”

  1. “A Router Is Needed” (Even Though You Can See the Tower)

Sue Marek:

“[ ] I decided to check on the service’s availability in my Denver neighborhood and I called Verizon’s customer service about getting it installed. [ ] The customer service rep said they weren’t sure I would have adequate coverage (even though I said that I could see the tower from my backyard) and I would need to have the router installed in my house before they could guarantee any service. I decided to wait and see.”

This will result in increased exposures for many non-benefitting non-consenting populations.

  1. “The Router Needs Line of Site to the Tower”  (Because The New Shorter Wavelengths Can’t Travel Very Far, So We Need Lots of Necessary Equipment, including towers, antennas, boosters, routers, and stronger devices, oh my.)

Sue Marek:

“[ ] five months later I received a Verizon flyer in the mail touting 5G Home and received a call from a 5G Home sales rep a few days later telling me that the service was definitely available and I could get it installed within a week. I jumped on the chance and booked an installation appointment.

A Verizon installer showed up at my door a week later and within 30 minutes she had me up-and-running with service at my home. The most difficult part of the process was deciding where to install the router. It has to be installed on a window, preferably with a direct line-of-site to the tower. We decided on my laundry room window at the rear of my house, which is probably about 250 feet away from the tower.”

So how to address the lack of line of sight? Cut down all the trees?

  1. Eligible for the Network Repeater

Sue Marek:

I am eligible for a network repeater, which will take the signal, amplify it and retransmit it to areas of my house, but I declined because I can get coverage everywhere in my home without it. Repeaters are especially helpful in apartment buildings or large homes where the signal may not travel to different floors.

Ugly white box aside, I have had my Verizon 5G Home service for a little over a week now and the network speeds have been far superior to what I was getting before. When I am close to the router, I have logged speeds as high as 1.7 Gbps downstream and 25 Mbps upstream.”

(when I am in my laundry room?)

“In my home office, which is in the other corner of the house and far away from the router, I still get speeds around 350 Mbps downstream and 14 Mbps upstream. My Verizon installer said that so far there are very few Verizon 5G Homes in my neighborhood. The company hasn’t been heavily marketing the service here and none of my neighbors were aware that there was another broadband choice in the neighborhood. I hope I’m just an early adopter and others will soon follow.”

The OTARD Rule and the FCC

 

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