Spartanburg officials discuss 5G technology

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – 5G technology is spreading and could be making its way to Spartanburg soon, but not everyone’s happy about it. The expansion would mean faster cell and internet service.

From cell phones to smart homes, 5G is said to be more concentrated, intense and quicker, all of those benefits are great for cell or internet use, but one group asks, what would it mean for the environment and our health?

All of the talk about cell towers hit the air waves in Spartanburg during the last city council meeting, but the desire to bring 5G to the area isn’t strong.

“In response to the request or the notification from the providers, we began looking at an ordinance to make sure we protect the rights of the city,” City of Spartanburg Attorney Robert Coler said.

In the ordinance, the city wants to regulate the location of the towers placement and design and even how much the city could charge the provider.

According to the city attorney, federal law states that if a carrier wants to expand the new technology, the city will have to open its doors.

So far, AT&T and Verizon expressed interest in expanding.

“The concerns that we have with 5G are that this is not just an upgrade in cell service. This is an entirely new infrastructure coming to our city. It has never been safety tested, so we don’t know the long term effects,” Stevi Fincher, resident.

At the city’s last meeting members of “Stop 5G Spartanburg” spoke out against the upgrade, amid a variety of reasons, including health issues, property values and personal privacy.

5G will essentially bring faster speeds, higher frequency and providing better phone service, but it will need more towers to make it work.

Preliminary drawings show how antennas would blend into current structures. Verizon already identifying at least one light pole on Magnolia street they’d like to modify.

“I think it’s going to eventually be here, but we, in Spartanburg, are going to make sure its here on our terms so its safe, convenient, helpful and easy to use,” Attorney Coler said.

At the next meeting, the city hopes to come to some sort of understanding about how to frame the ordinance.

Attorney Coler said public safety concerns are a top priority as they move forward, he and the city are open to public comment as they move forward and embrace new technology.

The next city council meeting will be held on Monday, July 22, in the Spartanburg City Council Chambers.

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