UPDATE A cell tower already exists in Newport, RI. AT&T has petitioned its host site, Rogers High School, to revise the tower by boosting the 4G signal and adding equipment for 5G. NewportThisWeek.com reports that in a 4-to-3 vote, the Newport School District denied AT&T’s request.
Speaking on behalf of AT&T, John Benedetto, an engineer at the company, said: “If the site is too busy, it may not be able to handle the data demand.” This backs up the assertion of AT&T’s attorney, Edward Paré, who explained that without the upgrade, “AT&T’s network will not be up to snuff and AT&T customers will not have the services others have.”
Paré, after the vote was called, asked if a compromise was possible that would allow AT&T to do the 4G upgrade by holding off on 5G upgrades. Committee Chair Raymond Gomes responded that motion was now closed and no further discussion would be allowed. Benedetto had pointed out an upgrade would solve connection problems, like the ones some committee members experienced while trying to maintain their Zoom attendance at the meeting.
Prior attempts to upgrade the cell tower encountered resistance from townsfolk questioning the health risks of 5G. Nesting ospreys have created another roadblock, delaying any possible work until fall, even if it is eventually approved.