News/CBSNewYork)– The wireless
industry is in a race to roll out 5G service. The network
is supposed to be up to 100 times faster than current data
speeds, but it requires cellphone tower equipment to be closer
to users than before. Wireless companies in the U.S. say they’ll
have to install about 300,000 new antennas – roughly equal to
the total number of cell towers built over the past three
decades. That’s causing outrage and alarm in some neighborhoods,
as antennas go up around homes.
a lab in New York, Verizon invited CBS News’ Tony Dokoupil to
meet some of the entrepreneurs developing tools to run on the
next generation of wireless technology. Jonathan Reeves, the CEO
of Arvizio, said 5G service is extremely important to his
company’s mission. His product allows users in different
locations to interact with 3D images projected through a lens.
we can do this using Wi-Fi technology, and we can do it using
landline technology. But of course you’re then tied to
particular locations. With 5G, now we can begin to extend this.
So we can actually begin to start doing this on building sites.
We can start doing it on the factory floor. So it really opens
up a whole new world,” Reeves said.
before that world can become
reality, this one needs to change. 5G requires the
installation of new equipment across the U.S. Every wireless
company is working to build its own 5G network.
Arnoldi, who leads AT&T’s efforts, said if it’s not already
in your neighborhood, it’s coming.
said 5G uses high-frequency waves that support faster speeds but
don’t travel as far as current wireless frequencies. So instead
of relying on large cellphone towers spread far apart, they need
“small cell” sites that are much closer together.
going to use our existing infrastructure today. Whether it’s
light poles, whether it’s street lights. So we’re going to make
sure that we don’t make it obtrusive to our customers and to the
citizens,” Arnoldi said.
some don’t share the enthusiasm.
cell towers are called small cell towers, but they are not so
small when they are in your front yard,” said Donna Barron. She
is protesting plans to convert light poles in her Montgomery
County, Maryland, neighborhood into small cell sites.
will cause cancer,” Barron said. She was one of several people
who raised health concerns about the radiation emitted by the
equipment at a government hearing last month.
phone equipment does emit radiation but research on its health
effects has been inconsistent. According to the National Cancer
Institute, “A limited number of studies have shown some evidence
of statistical association of cell phone use and brain tumor
risks… but most studies have found no association.”
Barron loses the fight, she said she’ll consider moving. Either
way, she fears property values could plummet when 5G equipment
could drop 20 percent,” she said. “For that house, that house,
that house. And then pretty soon you go around the curb and
there’s another cell tower. They’re all through this
neighborhood. So it’s going to devastate the neighborhood.”
insists her workers are focused on safety, pointing out they
live and work near this equipment, too. Although she doesn’t
have any 5G antennae in her neighborhood yet, she said it’s
coming soon and she’s “absolutely” comfortable with that.
carriers have announced plans to roll out 5G service to a
handful of cities later this year. But to really take advantage,
you’ll need a 5G-enabled device, which probably won’t be
available until next year.