US Senate Bill on Small Cell Infrastructure Questioned for Limiting Power of Local Administrations

The US National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy (NISLAPP) has now called on the US Congress to reconsider the terms of its Senate Bill S.1357 (STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act). The senate bill, also opposed by the National League of Cities, aims to streamline the siting process for small cell antenna deployment throughout the United States, further eroding local control over decision-making about the siting and management of radiating antennas.

The NISLAPP has called on the Members of Congress to consider the inadvisability of antenna densification, in the first place, before legislatively mandating the installation of hundreds of millions more antennas across the nation. NISLAPP’s report, “Re-Inventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks”, presented at the Commonwealth Club of California earlier this year, explains how it came to be that wireless communications, known to be an extremely inferior technology laden with risks, is being mistakenly perceived as a solution and an advancement, and why ‘fiber to the premises’ (rather than fiber to support more wireless antennas) is unquestionably the best technological option to support our economy and society.

As the paper’s author, Timothy Schoechle, PhD, explains, that there are 13 negative impacts from wireless access networks and ‘antenna densification’—all of which would be successfully addressed by a hard-wired, ‘fiber optics to the premises’ approach to communications:

  • Speed of Internet access
  • Equal Internet access
  • Quality of voice communication
  • Reliability
  • Energy usage and efficiency (10x more energy is used to power wireless)
  • Resiliency in extreme weather events
  • Value, for the money
  • Safety and cybersecurity
  • Personal Privacy
  • Public health
  • The biological ecosystem
  • Landline phone access when the power goes out, and
  • The integrity of the communications system as a whole, which has become, as described by Timothy Schoechle, “hijacked by commercial motivations” and riddled with planned obsolescence and unnecessary future costs for us all.

Given the importance of each of these issues to most Americans, NISLAPP has recommended Members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee (which will hold its Oversight Hearing with FCC Commissioners on Thursday, August 16th) as well as all member of Senate and House of Representatives to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the superior hard-wired communications options described in NISLAPP's report.

According to the report, S.1357, introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD), would commit the United States to force wireless antenna installation and the removal of municipalities’ rights to limit antennas for any reason, an egregious erosion of democracy and serious mistake for this country, above all. Legislators have been misled about the adequacy of wireless Internet access networks.