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Newspaper Questions Whether Government Has Considered "Risks" Of Wireless
Alster, Norm -- Already, 300 communities have implemented moratoria on wireless antenna siting for reasons of health, aesthetics, and property values. But in planning to generate $23 billion for the budget through wireless spectrum auctions, the government seems to not have taken into account local resistance to new wireless networks. Jeffrey Silva of the wireless trade paper Radio Communications Report says, "The people on the Hill way underestimated this grassroots movement." Existing cellular carriers employ less than 15,000 towers, but the oncoming PCS carriers will need over 100,000 new antennas. And with some PCS licensees already having financial difficulties, local resistance to antenna placement could further impair their ability to pay the government for their licenses. A recent study conducted by Australian researchers finds that exposure to radiation levels comparable to those emitted by digital cellular phones doubles the risk of some cancers in mice. And while there is no evidence that proves that cell phones are a health risk, Norm Alster writes that there are enough "troubling" signs that further, lengthy research should be done on the matter. But with the government depending on receiving revenue from operating wireless carriers, Alston writes that Washington is telling the public "your health concerns don't count." The Telecommunications Act of 1996 limits the ability of local communities to resist antenna placement for health reasons.