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Residents of Jacksonville who are concerned about the new 5G technology are continuing to press the City Council over proposed changes in local law that would enable its rollout in Jacksonville.

Last week at a workshop, city laws provided a comparison of what the council could do vs. what is preempted by state law.

Another workshop is scheduled for Thursday on Bill 2019-770, which is the proposed ordinance.

Telecom companies such as Verizon and AT&T have taken the position that virtually any restriction on what they want to do is not allowed by state law. The local group Stop5GJax does not agree.

They are most concerned with requiring a minimum distance of 5G equipment installations in residential neighborhoods.

Those would include: 1) no further than 10 feet from a side lot line on a residential corner lot; 2) not in front of a residential lot less than 60 feet wide; 3) not located within 150 feet of a single family residential structure. Restriction for commercial include: 1) cannot interfere with view of commercial business signs; 2) cannot be placed in line with front/principal facade of business unless there are already parking or loading spaces present. 

5G networks are digital cellular networks, in which the service area covered by providers is divided into small geographical areas called cells (hence, cell phone). Analog signals representing sounds and images are digitized in the telephone, converted and transmitted as a stream of bits. All the 5G wireless devices in a cell communicate by radio waves with a local antenna array and low power automated transceiver over frequency channels assigned by the transceiver from a pool of frequencies that are reused in other cells. The local antennas are connected with the telephone network and the Internet by a high bandwidth optical fiber or wireless connection. As in other cell networks, a mobile device crossing from one cell to another is automatically “handed off” seamlessly to the new cell.

The new technology is faster, but requires more cell towers.

The local group and others like it worldwide contend that the technology poses dangers.

Wired magazine called fears that the technology could cause cancer, infertility, autism, Alzheimer’s, and mysterious bird deaths a “conspiracy theory.” Regulatory agencies claim 5G radiation will have no significant health effects, yet opponents are not convinced.

In Florida, the legislature took action last year to facilitate the rollout of 5G. Opponents say the legislation makes it almost impossible for local governments to impose any restrictions on the telecoms. This is why the local group is battling to persuade council members to do as much as they are allowed to do.

To become involved and stay informed of the 5G rollout, feel free to:

— Join the group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2206159909677178/

— Attend the workshop next Thursday, January 16 from 2:30-4:30 in City Hall.

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Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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