C|NET: Why Rural Areas Can’t Catch A Break On Speedy Broadband

Everyone agrees on the mission to connect more people. But no one can agree on how to do it.




This is part of CNET’s “Crossing the Broadband Divide” series exploring the challenges of getting internet access to everyone.




In previous generations, communities thrived based on their proximity to infrastructure like roads, railways, airports and rivers to distribute goods. Today, it’s about having access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet. Communities without access will simply wither and die, says Jonathan Chambers, a former FCC official and partner at the Washington-based consulting firm Conexon, which works with electric co-ops looking to deliver rural broadband service.

People will vote with their feet and move away from places that do not provide high-speed internet access,” he said. “They will leave, and that community will not survive.”


But the biggest barrier to getting broadband in certain areas of the country is low population density. Broadband providers simply won’t offer service if they can’t get enough customers to pay for it.


The advent of 5G wireless, which promises to bring increased speeds and network responsiveness, is also unlikely to reach rural communities.


Market forces are what will drive the deployment of 5G,” said Blair Levin, who oversaw the FCC’s National Broadband report in 2010 and who served as chief of staff to Clinton-era FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. “The 5G economics are very different than they are for 4G. And cities, because of their density, are in a much better position to drive 5G deployment than rural communities.”


“Even if you make it cheaper to deploy and invest in the network, if you can’t sustain a business because the population density is too low, it doesn’t really matter,” Brake said.


. . . 5G, which needs hundreds of radios to cover relatively short distances, is likely prohibitively expensive to make sense for rural areas.

There’s also the use of unlicensed TV broadcast spectrum called white spaces. Microsoft, which holds several royalty-free technology patents for using this spectrum, announced a program in July 2017 to connect 2 million people in rural America by 2022 through partnerships with telecom companies. The company promised to have 12 projects up and running in 12 states in the next 12 months.

The FCC has set rules for the use of white space spectrum and established an administrator of a national database to identify channels that can be used by devices accessing the shared spectrum. But there have been problems with the database’s accuracy, and there’s not yet an ecosystem of devices, which means it could be a while before the technology is widely used by consumers.

Full Article is HERE.  Color highlights added.



C|Net: 5G Is Coming, But Not Everyone Is Happy About It

Negative YardsignIt all started with a notice in the mail.

Early in April, residents of Oakmore, a quiet neighborhood of single-family homes in Oakland, California, received an ordinary-looking envelope from a company called OnAir. Inside was a flyer inviting them to an open house where Verizon would tell them how it expects to install 16 new wireless antennas in the area.

The carrier’s promises were enthusiastic: “Verizon Wireless is improving wireless service in Oakland!” the notice read.

Alexis Schroeder, who’s lived in Oakmore for 21 years, was immediately curious. She made plans to attend the meeting, set for a few weeks later. Then, disappointed by the lack of straight answers at the event, she left vowing to change Verizon’s plans. As a Verizon customer, she admits she could benefit from new antennas. But as she sees it, Verizon, backed by the FCC, is bullying its way through the process.

The full story of the resistance is HERE.

Oakmore joins Nevada City CA and Shreveport LA resistance to 5G. We can expect more cities to join the legions of fight 5G organizations. Strap in as 5G install is going to be a wild ride.



The ‘Wet Blanket’ Of 5G Wireless and Climate Change

— During Senate Commerce’s Friday field hearing in South Dakota on 5G wireless technology, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken raised what he called “the wet blanket” of the coming wide-scale deployment: “I feel we also need to address … what health impacts micro millimeter waves have because it’s so new,” TenHaken told Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.). “I’m going to get asked this 20 times yet this evening about the health ramifications of 5G … . I’m hearing this more and more.” Although TenHaken considers such concern “inflated,” local governments will need “clear direction, talking points, studies” to support the wireless efforts with a “clear conscience,” the mayor argued.

— Thune acknowledged “we hear about it, too,” and turned to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, another witness. The FCC and other federal agencies “reached the determination that these are safe,” Carr affirmed. “That is a determination that is constantly undergoing review.” He also said that given this position, federal law prevents state and local governments from taking these radio frequency concerns into account. The exchange marked a departure from largely unified enthusiasm among witnesses and Thune for the game-changing benefits of 5G. Verizon’s Robert Fisher in particular argued Congress needs to advance Thune’s STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act, S. 3157, to help spur faster deployment of 5G infrastructure.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech.

The 5G broadband “wet blanket” and Anthropogenic global warming have something in common, there are two points of view on the issue. The global warming issue is driven by two opposite ends of light, the anthropogenic warmers are driven by flawed computer models about events that could happen in future, with the warmers citing the models as evidence. Models are not evidence, they are crude attempts to model the interaction of three powerful forces the wind, the oceans, and the sun. History has shown the models to be seriously flawed, the predicted heat has not arrived, the signature hot spot in the stratosphere over the equator is missing, and sea levels are not accelerating.

The anthropogenic skeptics are data-driven, citing the science of CO2 gas emissions, the solar influence and the historical climate record which demonstrates cyclical climate variance. Using the laws of physic, the skeptics have shown that CO2, a trace gas of less than .004%, is not climate control temperature control for the plant. Yet we have a cult-like belief that humans can control the climate.

There are two sides to the 5G issue also, one side with a cult-like faith that 5G radio transmission are unhealthy and should be constrained or eliminated. This conclusion is drawn from rat studies when rats are exposed to high levels of radio frequency energy, and they develop tumors. Rats in a DYI microwave oven are not a good representation of humans, just as incomplete computer models do not represent the real climate.

Whereas the proponents of 5G are more fact-driven, based on the history of the user so far. When the cell phone as introduced there was claim they would cause brain cancer. The figure below shows cell phone use expanding, while brain cancers are declining slightly. If there were a cell phone brain cancer threat, it would be evident in the medical data.


The 5G wet blanket has the same potential that Anthropogenic global warming did to divide the nation. One one side true believers unable to accept the historical facts and on the other side pragmatic scientists who keep looking for some real world evidence that 5G emissions are a danger to the community.

There is one other connection between the 5G wet blanket promoters and anthropogenic warmers. It is socialism. Both the wet blanket promoters and the anthropogenic warmers want the government to control the climate and access to 5G. Conservatives want the open markets to be the influencers, not government planners.

5G Is Not Going To Microwave Your Brain

With the transition to a new networking technology, some familiar scare stories are reemerging. You might even have seen a few in the comments here. “5G will give you cancer,” “mmWave technology leads to brain tumors,” and “smartphones are microwaving our bodies,” or so the stories go.

It’s all hogwash. Details HERE.

This chart tells the story, cell phone use increased, but cancers did not. This would indicate there is no immediate connection.


Your thoughts?

Thune Eyes Packaging Broadband Deployment Bills

— Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) left Wednesday’s 5G wireless hearing eyeing ways to combine his STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act, S. 3157 (115) , with “several bills that have been filed” also dealing with “faster deployment of broadband services,” he told reporters. He says to expect another hearing on these and noted his STREAMLINE bill, which would ease deployment of 5G infrastructure, “is one we would clearly like to see move this year” perhaps along with “elements or features” of other bills “that could be incorporated into something that could move out of the committee.” One major bill that could hitch a ride: the AIRWAVES Act, S. 1682 (115), which would free up more spectrum for commercial use.

— But opponents to Thune’s 5G bill are piling up. Desmarie Waterhouse, government relations VP for the American Public Power Association, told POLITICO that her group has concerns with the bill taking away local control. “A national, one-size-fits-all approach from the FCC pertaining to utility pole attachments—especially small cell attachments—raises issues for our utilities in terms of security, safety, and creating a situation where our electric customers end up subsidizing communications companies’ input costs,” she said.

— Utilities, while not formally opposed, are skeptical. And localities are lobbying against it, with recent negative blog posts from the National Association of Counties and the National League of Cities. During Wednesday’s hearing, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) described a “lot of passionate feedback from local officials, public power companies and others about that bill,” submitting concerned letters from local officials. He said localities better have a chance to testify in a potential follow-up hearing. Thune, speaking at the hearing’s outset, suggested flexibility: “It is still a work in progress.”

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

Cell Tower Rats

There is growing opposition to cell phones towers as telcos start asking permission to install more 4G towers and 5G small cell tower on about every city block. Here are some examples:


Palo Alto

Santa Rosa


The opposition often cites studies showing evident carcinogenicity from cell phone radiation, so we should be concerned. Right. Oh, wait the studies were on rats. What about humans? We can all agree that cell phone usage has increased over time and the introduction of smartphones has increased use by 75%. Below is a chart showing smartphone use in the US.


If cell phone use causes brain cancer, increased use of smartphones should cause an increase in brain cancer. According to the data from 1992 to 2014, there has been a slight decrease in brain cancer.

brain cancer stats
If cell phones cause brain cancer, why have the populations of brain cancer cases remained static or declined slightly as the use of cell phones has increased?  Why?

I am concerned that cell phone cancer studies may be following the same path as anthropogenic global warming. All proven with flawed studies that do not match the real world.  Your thoughts?

5G Small Cell Tower Opposition Growing

Small Cell Towers nixed in 7-hour Monterey Planning Commission meeting

In a 7-hour marathon Planning Commission meeting Thursday evening, commissioners overruled staff and voted 7-0 to deny telecom giant Verizon’s application for a small cell tower in the Monte Vista neighborhood of Monterey. The meeting, held in City Council chambers, lasted from 6 pm Thursday to 1 am Friday morning.

This article too long to post in detail but is worth your time to read to understand the 5G Small Cell Tower opposition. Details HERE.

This is the kind of opposition that the FCC is trying to overcome with the passage of legislation in Congress such as the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act proposed by U.S. Sens. John Thune, R-South Dakota, and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. More details HERE and HERE.




CTIA 5G Interactive Promotion – Ignores Rural Challenges

The Race to 5G

While the presentation makes the case for economic development, transportation, healthcare, education and smart cities, it does not address the issues facing rural communities. The three challenge presented are:

Freeing Up More Spectrum

Spectrum is the critical input for wireless service, and we need a pipeline of low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum auctions to meet Americans’ growing demand for more mobile services. Freeing up new airwaves will help providers meet that demand for the foreseeable future.

Modernizing Rules for Wireless Infrastructure

Traditional 200-foot cell towers are governed by rules designed specifically for such towers. Tomorrow’s 5G networks will rely on small cell antennas the size of pizza boxes, and they shouldn’t be governed by the same rules. Siting rules need to be modernized for the deployment of modern wireless infrastructure.

Creating Permanent Federal Regulations

Wireless consumers deserve to be protected. One of the ways to do that is by setting permanent, common sense federal regulations for interstate services like mobile broadband. Innovation and investment in tomorrow’s networks also need to be promoted to ensure an open internet and protect consumer privacy.

All this points to the loss of local control in small and historical rural communities if in fact 5G ever comes to their neighborhoods. Rural communities all across the nation and the rural counties in California do not have broadband today, because of the ROI challenges serving these communities present to the telco bean counters.  If the population density does not support broadband today, will it support 5G ROI when the technology used requires a clear line of sight between the small cell towers and the user, especially in the highly forested rural areas?  Are 5G promoters not thinking about the rural challenges or have they chosen to ignore them, just like they have the unserved communities today who do not break the ROI hurdles.

5G Update – Cities Not Happy With Model

CITIES ‘DISAPPOINTED’ IN SENATE 5G BILL— Despite negotiations extending more than half a year, the National League of Cities still doesn’t support the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act, S. 3157. The bill, which would set up a shot clock for states and localities to approve or deny requests to install small-cell wireless equipment, was unveiled Thursday by Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz , top Democrat on that panel’s tech and telecom subcommittee. “We are disappointed that the Commerce Committee did not fully address our concerns about local preemption, and imposing a new federal one-size-fits-all mandate for small cell deployments won’t work for all cities,” said Tom Martin, a spokesman for the league. The National League of Cities had objected to the original draft proposal circulated last October, arguing its provisions would be unfair to municipalities.

— Lawmakers say the legislation is crucial for speeding the deployment of 5G networks by wireless companies, which say they need federal help to maneuver local siting challenges. Trying to strike the right balance with municipal representatives has been “probably the hardest part” of negotiating the bill text, Thune said last week, believing he and Schatz had ultimately laid all concerns to rest. Thune told John a hearing on the topic is likely in July and that Congress will be looking to the FCC for technical advice on the legislation. We’ll be tracking.

AT&T JOINS SAN JOSE FRAY — AT&T got drawn into the debate over how best to overcome local challenges to getting small cells up and running. The company fired off a letter to the FCC on Friday saying it “respectfully disagrees” with Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel’s suggestion that deals reached with San Jose, Calif., on 5G equipment installation could be model agreements for other cities. AT&T says the agreements are “intricate, interdependent on each other, and unique to San Jose’s circumstances,” echoing a blog post from Verizon that also pushed back on the notion that the deals could be replicated.

— The agreements with San Jose involve contributions to a digital inclusion fund in exchange for access to city infrastructure for small-cell deployments. The fees cities charge is a key issue before the FCC as the agency tackles barriers to wireless infrastructure deployment. AT&T said the San Jose agreements show “why commission action is needed to prevent exorbitant fees and delays from impeding small cell deployment in cities and towns across America.”

— But the companies struck a different note when San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced the deals in mid-June. AT&T’s press release at the time said, “This type of public-private partnership is an example of a long-term, model lease agreement that will deliver digital advancements for the City and its citizens.” Verizon’s Lauren Love-Wright said in a statement at the time the company was delighted to work with the city “to make San Jose a model for the digitally connected city of the future.”

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

This is ony the opening round to a much longer battle for local control.

Carriers Clamor For FCC Oversight Of State and City-Level Small Cell Fees

The nation’s wireless carriers continue to petition the FCC to issue guidelines to states and cities about how much they should charge for small cell deployments and other network upgrades.

“Many municipalities unfortunately continue to demand exorbitant fees for access to rights-of-way and structures within them, including, for example, attachment fees that exceed $4,000 per year,” Verizon wrote in a recent filing. “Some cities, where providers may have a competitive necessity to offer service, continue to use their considerable leverage to seek fees that far exceed their costs.”

Full Article is HERE, which concludes.

Already, some FCC commissioners appear to be in lockstep with the wireless industry on the topic. For example, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said in May that the FCC next plans to look at city and state rules that are hindering the rollout of small cells. He said the agency would move against “bad actors”: cities and states that are seeking to charge wireless operators unreasonable fees to deploy small cells or are moving too slowly on the topic. “We’ve tried the nice approach,” O’Rielly said at the time. Now, “we’ll have to take the aggressive route, and I’m completely comfortable in doing so.”