Local Gov Fights State, Fed Gov Over 5G Network Rollout Plans

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Cities argue 5G internet rollout laws violate property rights

Cities across the United States are warning of what they say is an illegal assault on the public’s right of way, facilitated by state and federal authorities on behalf of major telecommunications companies.

At issue is the rollout of new infrastructure for the next generation of ultrafast wireless internet.

To operate this fifth-generation (5G) network, companies are developing fleets of antennas that need to be densely arranged and near the ground – around one per city block, often on light poles or traffic signs.

Some of the largest companies in the industry see 5G as integral to their future competitiveness, not only in the US but also in Europe, India, Japan, and many other countries.

But as this process has gotten underway, some say local rights in the US are being trampled.

US state legislators have passed laws stripping local authorities of their ability to decide where the antennas are placed and how much cities can charge companies for the use of public property, legal maneuvers known as “preemption.”

“This is absolutely a property rights issue: The public owns that right of way,” Debra Socia, executive director of Next Century Cities, an advocacy group, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “This is really a gift to big companies.”

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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv