Editor of the Reformer,
Telecommunications Bill H.513, introduced in March, was 27 pages of complex language unique to the telecom industry. On the surface H.513 looked like a positive bill, positioned to bring "broadband" to underserved areas of Vermont. Below the surface, however, it had the potential to roll out the red carpet for 5G wireless technology deployment in Vermont, as the term broadband is no longer limited to cable.
H.513 passed in both the House and Senate, virtually unanimously and despite hundreds of Vermonters who expressed concerns about 5G through social media, in public hearings and in outreach to their legislators.
One Representative who voted yay on H.513 told a constituent that he was "familiar" with the bill. Familiar is code for not reading it and/or understanding it. But this comes as no surprise as it took half a dozen of us collectively more than 100 hours to begin to understand all the nuances of the bill, which enables small cell 5G antennas attached to utility poles, without ever mentioning 5G antennas.
One Senate Finance Committee member told a constituent, "Neither am I sufficiently confident in anti 5G science to justify delaying our much needed upgrade. The science is controversial. Indeed the New York Times says it's a Russian invention. There is no plan to install 5G before the [health] study is complete by next year's legislative session."
Sadly, with the NYT as his decision god, this legislator fails to connect the idea that if he doesn't know enough about 5G science, pausing is better. Furthermore, he fails to realize that the NYT has a conflict of interest position as they are engaging in a journalism 5G lab with Verizon. In contrast, but not relevant to this legislator, CBS and Newsweek reported on 5G health concerns.
And, all the while the bill was being discussed, this legislator and others parroted the same message to their constituents 5G isn't coming to Vermont anytime soon. How do they explain the several small cells already deployed in Vermont, prior to the bill's passage? John Brabant, regulatory affairs director for Vermonters for a Clean Environment, summed up this sorry decision process as follows: "The Senate Finance Committee, learning of the Trojan Horse, saddled it up, jumped on it with their industry lobbyist friends, and charged it thru the gates of our democracy."
Brattleboro, June 17