Eugene, Ore., Leaders to Discuss Small Cell Technology

Some residents have raised concerns about the equipment because it could be used to transmit 5G cellular technology soon. Citing the potential health effects, they oppose the advent of 5G in Eugene.

by Christian Hill, The Register-Guard / October 7, 2019
Shutterstock/Lisic

(TNS) — City councilors in Eugene, Ore., will hear about small-cell antennas and associated equipment that telecom companies are installing on street lights and power poles around Eugene.

Some residents have raised concerns about the equipment because it could be used to transmit 5G cellular technology in the future. Citing the potential health effects, they have urged the city to take all necessary steps to stop of the advent of 5G in Eugene.

There is no 5G service in the local area and there's no timeline for when it would be available locally. Telecom companies are laying the groundwork for it, however, having installed numerous small-cell antennas and associated equipment in Eugene so far. These locations now help provide 4G LTE service, the current iteration of the technology, to customers but could be part of a local 5G network in the future.

Although unproven, critics maintain regular exposure to low-level, non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation harms human health, including increasing the risk of cancer and lowering sperm counts and fertility rates. Other potential harm they cite includes sleep disruption, headaches, nerve pain, dizziness and heart palpitations.

Worries over 5G has emerged as one of the most common issues residents have discussed at public forums during recent City Council meetings, joining climate change, homelessness and affordable housing.

In April, the council approved a nonbinding resolution urging federal regulators to update studies examining any potential health effects from 5G.

Telecom companies must secure a permit before they can install the antennae on fixtures in the public right-of-way. But federal law prohibits cities from regulating small-cell antennas based on environmental concerns as long as they comply with the Federal Communication Commission rules for radio-wave radiation exposure.

©2019 The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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