All Communications and Rebuttals are Listed in Reverse-Chronological Order
July 26–27, 2021 Newsletter & Zoom Roundtable
Link to July, 26, 2021 Steve Kosachik Newsletter
Wire Tucson Rebuttal of MMM, DD, YYYY Steve K Newsletter
Steve K wrote:
Wire Tucson Rebuttal:
July 19–20, 2021 Newsletter & Zoom Roundtable
July 7–8, 2021 Newsletter & Zoom Roundtable
Mar 14–15, 2021 Newsletter & Zoom Roundtable
Adapted from Steve Kozachik’s Mar 15, 2021 Newsletter re: so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs)
Back in 1973, Motorola introduced the first ever cellphone. It was called DynaTAC. This is a picture of the thing – like a brick laying on your shoulder.
The guy in the picture is Martin Cooper. He was directly involved in the design of the phone, and in fact made the first ever phone call on it. He called his competitor at AT&T to rub it in. Motorola had figuratively landed on the moon first. It took another 10 years before cell phones were commercially available.
From the 35’ tall poles you see popping up around the city you know AT&T Verizon and T-Mobile are all players. They’re all bidding on what’s called ‘spectrum.’ In really layman’s terms, they’re competing for room on the dial, like a radio station does. But the cell companies are bidding on room out in the airwaves they want to license in order to carry their smartphone and other cellular products.
In late February, the three highest bidders spent a total of $81 Billion for additional spectrum licenses (all in addition to what they already own, ranging from 600 MHz to 39,000 MHz):
- Verizon – $45 billion dollars for 3,511 spectrum licenses
- AT&T – $23 billion dollars for 1,621 licenses
- T-Mobile – $9 billion dollars for 142 licenses.
Now we’re fighting so they don’t use what is obviously significant revenue potential to ruin the aesthetics of your neighborhood and the quiet enjoyment of your streets and home.
I like Martin Cooper’s perspective. He was aghast at the amount of money being spent on these licenses. He estimates that roughly 40% of students in this country don’t have access to broadband wireless. The technology exists to provide that for around $10 per month.
The spectrum sold to those three companies will be used to connect us to things. To more devices.
Cooper feels spectrum should first be allocated to companies that are committed to delivering access to people, and to bringing down costs. I agree. Call it the internet of people, as opposed to the internet of things.
The Arizona state legislature will have committee hearings this week on more restrictions to local voices. I sent Representative Victoria Steele this statement to be read into the record:
Kozachik: “When the legislature passed HB.2365, it gave license to telecom providers to freely select locations for their ‘small cell poles’ without any requirement for consultation ahead of time with residents whose homes will be impacted.”
Kozachik: “The Bill prevents cities from compelling any contact with residents. The notice property owners receive is literally the arrival of a back-hoe and trencher in front of their home. At the conclusion of the work, a new 35’ tall cell pole, with a 4 foot tall electric meter box and a 5’ tall orange and white PVC ‘warning post’ sit in the Right of Way immediately outside homes throughout residential areas, all over the state.”
Kozachik: “At my request, the City of Tucson recently approved moving ahead with an Ordinance that will compel telecom companies to demonstrate they’ve at least explored all possible alternatives before deciding on their final choice for their pole.”
Kozachik: “This means utility companies must sit down and discuss collocating on existing utility poles (a use already called for in HB2365,) and cities must make infrastructure such as street lights, traffic control devices and street signs available for collocation.”
Kozachik: “The Ordinance is intended to force all parties to explore all options prior to simply choosing the location that is the easiest one to facilitate, but the one that
brings the most egregious impact“
Kozachik: ” . . . on residential property owners. Even with our local Ordinance, telecom companies may elect the location that brings the worst impact on property owners.
Kozachik: “The state legislature can resolve this by simply returning to local jurisdictions the authority to deny permits, suspend the 75 day ‘shot clock’ and allow sufficient time to bring all parties to the table to explore options that will allow a successful roll out of the 5G system, but preserve the aesthetics and property values for residents throughout the state.
Kozachik: “Simply put – return our local voice and authority. Once again, here’s the troublesome text from state bill HB2365. It’s why we continue working for a solution to the 5G cell poles you’re seeing pop up in your neighborhoods. We need our voice back.”
Last week I shared two thoughts with Verizon. One is the idea of hiding their poles inside fake cactus. This is a picture of one that already exists up in Scottsdale:
Some of you have already begun nudging the utilities in this direction. This is handiwork from a Sam Hughes neighbor. And while it’s not the full 35’ Verizon pole, the 5’ orange and white PVC Century Link post is a nice start.
There won’t be one single solution to this, but I’m giving them options so that when we sit down together again, there’ll be much more in the conversation than just me and residents pleading to move a 35’ tall pole a few feet one way or another so it’s not the only thing someone sees when looking out towards the mountains.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
A largely under-reported federal FCC program is right now available for qualifying households. It brings discounts on their internet service bills. It’s an expansion of the federal Lifeline program that has been in effect for years. It’s estimated that 80% of the households that are eligible for the program don’t know it exists. Here’s an invitation to some of our local reporters – help educate people about this.
This is about digital equity. One local person who is working hard to help get the word out is Cindy Hogan. She has offered to make herself available as she and I work together in this awareness campaign. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check straight with the feds at https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or call 800.9473.
The FCC is still finalizing the roll out date for this discount program. There has already been $3.2 Billion dedicated to it. They’re hoping for a late-April start, so now’s the time to begin getting involved. The program includes up to a $50/month discount for broadband services, up to $75/month for households on qualifying Tribal lands, or a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop/desktop/tablet.
Some of the eligibility criteria include households receiving Medicaid or SNAP benefits, households approved for free or reduced-price school food programs, or those who can document a substantial loss of income related to the pandemic. There’s more, so connect in one of the ways I’ve listed to see if you can save yourself some cash on getting digitally connected.