"The telecom industry's 5G smokescreen"

BLUF:  5G may very well be great for NFL stadiums and to serve as an edge for outdoor devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) but will never be comparable to landline Internet replacement for businesses and residents.  "Not a magic bullet that will solve all of our last mile problems."

5G is lauded as the "answer" to the "last mile" problem by the telecom industry that has "cross promotion" and "non-compete" agreements between landline and wireless providers. 5G is great for the telecoms' profit margins, not for the consumer.  The marketplace will be dominated by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile/Sprint at the expense of America's economy.


Needs repeaters every 500 meters or so, not resilient as typical coastal weather (fog, rain) and smoke all impede this very high frequency signal (higher the frequency, more "waves"/modulation to drive the higher bitrate/throughput).

Subject to EM interference.

5G requires "line of sight", and has issues passing through foliage, cement and brick (walls), and even wood or glass.  Human bodies, made of water, block the signal.

In a shielded cable, uses lasers to send signal, not subject to EM interference.
Net neutralityWireless providers can pick and choose the traffic, while is officially denied, but we all know companies "downgrade" traffic from competitor's services outside of the media conglomerate the particular carrier has licensing agreements with.-
PrivacyISPs profit from selling customer online activity (metrics) to "Big Data".-
Power consumption/carbon footprintVery power intensive.  Must power small cell transmitters and antennas on buildings at a density significantly higher than what 4G requires.  Each 5G small cell may use up to 3 times as much power as 4G transmitters.  PON a low power architecture.  Field components do not require power, only central office location and customer ONT (similar to a modem) requires power.

5G uses a higher frequency wavelength (millimeter) than 4G which means it suffers an even more pronounced "rain fade" (attenuation).

Imagine what will happen during extreme precipitation events or snowstorms (that a warming globe is making more likely).

No UPS likely to be installed along small cell transmitters (expensive/heavy batteries that are not weather-proof).  If power is lost or cut for emergency purposes, loss of coverage.

FTTP can be buried.

Can be temporarily powered via UPS from a central location.

Data caps

Lucrative data caps (not sufficient for the needs of Newport County residents and businesses).  The monthly bill would be astronomical.

An average home streaming ~2-3 hours a day uses about 200 GB of data/month.  The average wireless plan data usage is 4-8 GB/month with the wireless companies starting to throttle at around 15-22 GB of data usage.

Bit rate/symmetryRequires controlled settings to reach theoretical (yet advertised) speeds.  300 Mbps down, about a fifth capacity allocated for upstream so likely 60 Mbps up.Always offered as symmetric.  1 Gbps up and down is standard, with 10 Gbps up and down becoming more cost effective.
Future-proofingNo, antennas and mobile devices are tied to a standard.  Whole network components and protocol eventually goes OBS. Simply upgrade the electronics at the end of the fiber strands to upgrade the "whole shebang", as fiber's potential to solve the "last mile" is just starting to be realized.
Preserving scenic views

Requires small cell transmitters every 500 meters or so (vice every several miles for 4G) that requires fiber backhaul anyway - the irony (smile)

The Rogers High School cell phone tower placement was a very controversial topic in Newport County.  Are we prepared to revisit those conversations once again?  How about a microtransmitter mounted right outside your house? 

Can be in buried conduit.
Negative impacts

Effects of widespread mmWave deployment and long term exposure are unknown.  

Adversely affects radar and weather forecasting (water vapor numbers), sending us back in time 30 years in forecasting accuracy, most notably for extreme weather events.

The United States Navy in March 2019 wrote a memorandum warning of deterioration and made technical suggestions to control band bleed-over limits, for testing and fielding, and for coordination of the wireless industry and regulators with weather forecasting organizations.  Concerns listed include degraded battlespace awareness and safety of flight.

Oligopoly/MonopolySoaks up the federal investment dollars to entrech the current oligopoly for mobile providers (supplementary Internet access) and monopoly landline providers (for homes an businesses).Municipal FTTP creates competition for landline services, and is consistently faster, higher quality, and has higher customer satisfaction scores.


5G deployments are likely to be in urban areas, Newport County may not have the population density to build the business case for Telecom to deploy 5G.

Why FTTP not FTTC (fiber-to-the-curb) is so important.
The EFF has been publishing a lot of technical articles regarding the superiority of fiber over coax and 5G as of late.