State Rep. Alex Andrade shared this letter with Inweekly:
Courtney Barnard, Verizon Wireless State Government Affairs
899 Heathrow Park Ln
Lake Mary, FL 32746
Letter & Call to Action to Verizon re: 5G Implementation
In the past two legislative sessions, the Florida Legislature voted to allow telecommunications companies to begin installing 5G enabling infrastructure in Florida without serious local government oversight. This new technology will allow for faster, more available mobile phone and data usage, but comes with concerns from constituents and local governments alike.
In requesting the pre-emption of local government oversight relating to 5G technology, telecommunication companies provided assurances that they would co-locate on existing structures whenever possible and provide transparent communications with residents affected by this new infrastructure. Unfortunately, at this point, that assurance has not been realized.
In Pensacola, notices of intent to install telecommunication poles to implement 5G have been submitted without any input or contact with residents. Installing these new structures would place poles or boxes in my constituents’ front yards and along the city’s rights-of-way. These new proposed structures, when not co-located on existing infrastructure, are not small in size. Residents of my district have become increasingly more concerned about protecting the character of their neighborhoods.
It is becoming more and more apparent that co-location on existing poles as discussed by the legislature and telecommunications companies, prior to pre-emption, will not be as widely utilized as previously communicated.
If co-location is not pursued as diligently as originally discussed, and if transparency and public input is not provided, these neighborhoods could potentially face a loss in property value and lose their unique character which they have diligently guarded for decades.
In order for telecommunications companies to honor and respect their promises made during the past two legislative sessions, they must provide adequate oversight of their own operations during installation. Unlike companies like Verizon, subcontractors tasked with constructing the small-cell poles have no incentive to maintain a good relationship with data users, and have no incentive to care, as Verizon should, about the serious public backlash to this perceived invasion of community space.
My constituents have expressed their concerns with me, both in passing and through my office. It is my responsibility to speak up for them on this issue. There is no question that 5G implementation will be a benefit for all Floridians. I simply expect that the promises made to be good neighbors to your customers, Florida citizens, will be honored and respected.
Within the next three weeks, I’d like to see the specific type (i.e. poles, height, footprint, etc.) of equipment and locations of installation disseminated to those being affected. I would also like to facilitate a meeting between leaders in Pensacola and Verizon representatives to clear the air and work towards a better relationship with our shared constituents. Please contact my office this week to discuss a mutually available time to have this meeting.
State Representative, District 2
Cc: Courtney Barnard, State Public Affairs, Verizon Wireless Robert Davis, Verizon Wireless
Julie Smith, Verizon Wireless