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Is 5G Safe?

Articles > Is 5G Safe?

Is 5G Safe?

Brief facts about 5G and other frequencies.

What is 5G?

Radio waves are all around us.  They emanate naturally from outer space (the sun, stars. quasars, and galaxies). Closer to home, man-made radio waves bombard us daily: GPS satellite signals to help us navigate around town, AM/FM radio stations, 8 million Wi-Fi transmitters, and 350 million cell phones transmitting and receiving radio signals to/from cell towers to deliver text messages and phone calls. Electromagnetic radiation is how nature distributes energy, the most significant being the radiation that our eyes can see — the visible spectrum.  The rest our eyes cannot see, but our electronics are tuned to for daily uses (AM/FM, baby monitors, cell phones, GPS devices).

All services must operate at their specific frequencies so transmitters and receivers can communicate at “the same wavelength.”  Police cars and dispatch stations must transmit and receive at specific frequencies so they can hear each other.  Our cars’ FM radios must be tuned to the same frequency at which radio stations are transmitting.

5G Antennas Installed All Over the Country
Low Height, Small Antennas

Is 5G Harmful to Health?

The debate over the question ‘is 5G safe?’ focuses on the frequencies at which the FCC wants 5G radios to transmit at. 5G radios are to transmit at the frequency ranges of just below 6 gigahertz (GHz) and another range at a higher frequency range called millimeter waves (because the wavelengths are the width of a millimeter).  At every frequency change, some people do express fear in what they do not understand.  It does not help that radio waves are called “radiation” which, in English, is associated with harmful health effects.  But we forget that visible light that gives us our eyesight is also called “radiation” because electromagnetic radiation is how the universe distributes energy in different wavelengths (speed of light divided by frequency equals wavelength) to give us different visible colors.  At infrared colors, closest to the visible spectrum, is where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dictates 5G to operate.  In the early days of cellular communications, wireless phones operated below 1GHz.  As demand for cellular traffic increases in the US, more radio frequencies are required to accommodate the 350 million cell phones in operation.  Thus, with the advent of 2G, 3G, 4G, and now 5G, the FCC keeps on pushing wireless carriers to operate at higher and higher frequencies.  We started at the 1GHz range, and we are now in the 6GHz range.  As cell traffic demand increases, we will need more frequency ranges to carry the new communication services.  And communication towers and smartphones will transmit at progressively higher frequencies.  For those who are afraid of 5G today, they will really be fearful of 6G, 7G and beyond.

Why People Worry About EMFs

Many people wonder if they need 5G protection or ask ‘is 5G bad for you?’, but higher radio frequencies do not necessarily translate to more danger to the human body.  It is just a different “color” at which radios are programmed to transmit at because lower  frequencies are occupied by incumbent users such as military, terrestrial, taxis, baby monitors, Wi-Fi and other commercial communications.  

It is true that x-rays and gamma rays are ionizing radiations which are harmful to human bodies in large and constant doses.  But 5G is not operating anywhere near those prohibited frequencies, nor can they deliver the range needed for wireless communications.  The 5G fear has taken on a larger following than we observed in 2G, 3G and 4G, likely since social media made it much easier to spread messages and influence ideas than ever before.  If you search for words such as “Is 5G Safe?” or “Danger of 5G” on Facebook, the algorithm will continue to deliver similar messages of 5G harm which may overemphasize the fear on the topic. 

What if I Live Near a 5G Tower?

Property owners who fear adverse health effects regarding cell tower signals should be decisive on this topic.  Cell tower leases, whether signed with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Crown Castle, or ATC, once fully executed by both parties, are rock solid and cannot be broken by you, the property owner.  If a new cell tower project is contemplated on your property, or if you are considering extending a decades old cell tower lease for another few decades, you must be certain that you are comfortable with any health concerns you may have.  Just know that if another tower is to be built outside of your property, it will likely be on your neighbor’s land not far from you.  The best decision you can make is one in which you are well-informed of all relevant factors so that you can apply directly to your personal situation.  Don’t let one-sided fear-based internet messages prevent you from thinking rationally about a technology that is merely following the laws of physics to deliver radio waves needed to modernize our communication needs.

There must be a separate set of construction drawings used to specify what will be built, where, and how. There is an independent review process that gets circulated to multiple city departments who will review the project before deciding whether or not to issue the construction permit. What happens if the construction drawing is not exactly where you want the tower/road/utilities to be placed? What’s your recourse as the property owner? If your consultant has never built a single cell tower or never worked for a wireless carrier, how would they know how to anticipate and protect your interests in these vital areas that will stay around for decades? Knowing how to read, revise, design, and negotiate construction requirements are crucial skills and experience every property owner needs from his/her cell tower consultant.  Controlling the construction drawings is another area where Terabonne’s expertise shines for our clients. Not only do we make changes to the engineering and construction drawings that benefit our property owner clients, we negotiate in the lease a requirement that our clients must control and approve the construction drawings to ensure that the site is built to our client’s requirements, not just to the wireless carriers’ needs alone.

Cell tower development is a complex area of technology, real estate, and leasing all of which are combined on a small parcel of land on your property. This is why many of Terabonne’s clients are real estate attorneys, commercial developers, property managers, and corporations. These professionals know their fields well, and are experienced enough not to risk working in an area that requires even more specialties. Because Terabonne is where the professionals go to get their cell tower leases managed and negotiated, we recommend that those who are faced with the same opportunities follow the same approach to ensure the protection of their income and property.

Site Walk To Negotiate Engineering Designs

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A ROFR grants the tower owner the right to match an offer by some third party who makes an offer to purchase your lease that you accept.

Crown Castle, American Tower ATC, SBA Towers are the “Big Three” tower companies.

Attorneys retained by wireless carriers authorized to review legal terms but never allowed to negotiate financial nor technical terms of the lease because they lack the technincal skills.

A person who specializes in land use matters well knowledgeable in its jurisdictional requirements.

A person hired by the wireless carrier to contact property owners to discuss lease terms. This role has evolved to be landlord facing rather than lease negotiations.

Geographical areas depicted in a circle (ring) drawn by radio frequency (RF) engineers defining the areas requiring new cell towers and technical parameters surrounding such designs.

Companies who build towers and lease back to wireless carriers.  These companies almost always receive Search Rings from wireless carriers defining where carriers need towers to be built.

Radio Frequency engineers who specialize in the radio wave propagation. These are the engineers to define cell tower locations. 

Companies that purchase cell tower leases with the purpose of repackaging (aggregating) them in a larger portfolio and selling them for a profit at a later time.