5G Has a 'Not In My Backyard' Problem

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For 5G boosters, the benefits of installing the wireless technology are obvious: It allows delivery of super-fast internet speeds. But to hook up the “small cells” that power 5G grids, wireless providers have to install thick wires and poles and antennae on nearly every block they want to cover, outfitted with equipment that is about the size of a large backpack. It’s not just that 5G requires a lot of gear, which alone can provoke the not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) backlash that puts a stop to all sorts of projects. It’s also that some people really don’t like it when they see it. “These things can be quite ugly,” says Christopher Mitchell, the director of Community Broadband Networks at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. In April, in what could be a precedent-setting decision, a San Francisco (CA) judge ruled that the aesthetic argument alone can be enough to justify the rejection of new 5G infrastructure.

5G Has a NIMBY Problem