More 5G cell tower poles will be appearing in Milwaukee, and according to UrbanMilwaukee.com, not everyone is happy about that. The County Board is moving ahead with 5G installation, an acknowledgement that FCC rules take precedence over local concerns.
“The truth is we’re being screwed by the state of Wisconsin by this. We’re the ones paying the staff, we’re the ones who go through our communities, we’re the ones who are going to have to review the licenses. And then we’re being told how much we can charge,” said Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman.
FCC regulations, codified into law by the Wisconsin State Legislature, limit the amount of revenue the county can collect from the telecoms, reported UrbanMilwaukee.com. It also dictates where poles can be placed and includes a shot clock that keeps the installation moving ahead quickly, giving local government little say in their city’s 5G expansion plans. There is not much maneuvering room as the poles can be placed in any public right-of-way, including parkways and county-owned poles.
Verizon has three easements pending in Milwaukee. If approved, Verizon will be able to install fiber-optic cable through county parkland. The location along parkland bordering N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, has to accommodate a mile or more of Verizon cable. Jeremy Lucas, director of administration and planning for Milwaukee County Parks, pointed out that 5G, by nature, would require a substantial number of host poles. “They will need to be prolific,” said Lucas, adding that the units “look like oversized coffee cans.”
The County Board will be considering this, and other easements, one along the Root River Parkway (3,812 lineal feet) and another along the Milwaukee River Parkway (1,334 lineal feet). The group tabled the discussion for the moment and resolved to seek 5G expansion options that “do not impede upon historically designated locations, do not interfere with aesthetics in highly valued park spaces, do not obstruct views, are as minimally invasive as possible, and result in the highest revenues possible to the county.”