1) The Federal government connectivity strategy references both fibre optic as a backbone and wireless, apparently as the last mile — from the pole to the home. There is some confusing/misleading info, e.g. saying 5G delivers “fibre-like speed”. Also suggests 5G, even with milliimeter frequencies, will be used in rural areas. This is impractical since higher frequencies don’t travel well or far and, therefore, require microcells every 200 meters or so. Most of the info provided to date has suggested 5G transmitters will use milliwave frequencies in dense urban areas.
Of great concern, and something we must stay on top of, are plans to change policies and regulations to make it easier and cheaper for telecoms to set up networks and infrastructure.
High-speed Access for All: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy
“Another area that enables effective investments in networks involves use of the radio-frequency spectrum – the airwaves used to transmit sound and data wirelessly. The Government of Canada is actively managing this limited resource to maximize economic and social benefits to Canadians, including those in rural and remote communities. A major cost of building and operating networks is associated with the poles, underground ducts, towers and other structures, otherwise known as passive infrastructure, that make it possible to build networks. The Government of Canada will engage partners to work to reduce these costs, so that networks are less expensive and can connect Canadians sooner. This involves reviewing policy and regulatory frameworks on antenna towers and support structures, considering related advice from the forthcoming review of communications legislation, engaging internally to advance the issue and promote best practices, and raising awareness of the issue among stakeholders.”
2) There have been many cell tower fires, and as 5G grid progresses, more transmitters will be put on buildings, increasing the risk of such fires.
Fire on Rooftop With Cell Antennas in Brooklyn New York
“A fire broke out on the roof of a Brooklyn New York apartment building reported to be possibly caused by an electrical malfunction of a cell tower on the roof of the building….
Many fires have been started by cell antennas and from equipment on utility poles, some at schools. Most notably, Malibu Canyon Fire started as the result of three telecoms overloading a utility pole and “Southern California Edison Co. agreed Monday to pay $37 million to resolve concerns about three overloaded utility poles that sparked the 2007 Malibu Canyon fire, a settlement that would bring the total payout for the destructive fire to more than $60 million.”
3) A free webinar next Wednesday, April 28. Registration is required using the link below.
(click on photos to enlarge)
When: The webinar, Cell Phone Brain Tumor Litigation in the U.S.: Legislation, Barriers & Opportunities, will be held on Wednesday, 4/28 at 2 pm ET / 11 am PT.
Participants: Please join attorneys Hunter Lundy of Lundy, Lundy, Soileau & Southone, one of the leading personal injury lawyers in the US, who has been at the forefront of this litigation, and Dafna Tachover, CHD’s 5G and Wireless Harms Project Director, in their discussion of the cell phone brain tumor litigation.
4) Below in Letters is a press release regarding a victory against PG&E in California which was charging Nina Beety opt-out fees for keeping her analog. Nina is sensitive and under the Americans with Disabilities Act must be accommodated. Imagine — California utilities allow people to keep their analogs, even with a fee that is more than we are allowed. And BC Hydro and FortisBC say that this is impossible because analogs are no longer available.
So many people in BC had doctors’ letters saying they should not be exposed to RF due to sensitivity, cancers, or other disabilities — and were not allowed any accommodation at all. They were given 3 choices by the Liberal Premier Clark and Energy Minister Coleman at the time:
1) Take the smeter;
2) Go off the grid;
3) Leave the province.
In California, monthly opt-out fees (to keep the analog) range from $10-14, reduced 50% for those with low incomes. We paid $32.40 per month while we could keep the analog and $20 per month to have the transmitter disabled.
April 22, 2021
For immediate distribution
PG&E REFUNDS SMART METER “OPT-OUT” FEES TO EMF-DISABLED CUSTOMER
On April 16, Pacific Gas and Electric refunded Smart Meter “opt-out” fees paid by the family of Nina Beety who is disabled by electromagnetic sensitivity. Beety requested disabled accommodation from PG&E to have analog electromechanical meters on her family’s home when the company initiated its wireless Smart Meter roll-out in her community. She explained that EMF-emitting devices cause her disabling health effects. PG&E ignored Beety’s requests for disabled accommodation, and refused to allow residential customers to have analog, non-digital meters without paying a so-called “opt-out” fee. The family was forced to pay $415. in fees to avoid Smart Meters on their home.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits surcharge fees for disabled people.
When PG&E filed for bankruptcy in 2019, Beety’s family then filed a proof of claim with the Bankruptcy Court for the “opt-out” fees they paid, stating the claim basis as “Smart Meter opt-out fees that were unlawful surcharges against a disabled person (ADA Title II Technical Assistance Manual, II-1.3000 Relationship to title III)”. [https://www.ada.gov/taman2.html#II-1.3000]
PG&E objected to this claim, and on February 25, 2021, asked the court to expunge it. “The simpler Customer Bar Date Notice made clear that Customers were not required to file Proofs of Claim for ordinary and customary refunds, overpayments, billing credits, deposits, or similar billing items. The Customer No Liability / Passthrough Claims listed on Exhibit 1 arise from either (1) Customer Security Deposits or (2) Claims that arise from Customer Billing Disputes…Accordingly, for the reasons set forth herein, the Customer No Liability / Passthrough Claims should be expunged because, in accordance with the Bar Date Order, they will be resolved in the ordinary course.”
On March 24, 2021, Beety submitted this timely Response to the Bankruptcy Court:
Our claim is not an “ordinary and customary” customer billing item. We have a special type of billing claim dispute that rises on the fact that I am disabled, and unlawful charges were placed on the household account that interfered with my disabled accommodation. Those unlawful charges were surcharges that are not allowed under the ADA/ADAA and FHAA.
This is a meritorious disabled rights claim that was never resolved. It should be resolved by a full and complete refund.
Closing my claim would be yet another burden, abrogating my civil rights.
Please ensure that my rights are protected.
Faced with a federal judge who had read Beety’s response, PG&E withdrew its objection to the family’s claim to the Bankruptcy Court and did not further contest it (recorded in Judge Dennis Montali’s ruling, April 5, 2021).
On April 20, Beety’s family received a full refund check from PG&E for the $415. surcharge fee, plus $24.17 interest which they had not requested. It is noteworthy that this refund was not a percentage of claim or pennies on the dollar which bankruptcy claims often receive, but a complete refund with interest.
It took facing a bankruptcy judge in court for PG&E to quit fighting and refund fees that were unlawful surcharges under the ADA and that discriminate against disabled people.
Beety said, “With this action, PG&E and other utilities must now halt their practice of charging unlawful “opt-out” surcharge fees to customers disabled by electromagnetic sensitivity or who have other EMF-sensitive medical conditions, and the companies must refund all unlawful surcharge fees already paid by these disabled customers. Utilities must allow the simple, readily achievable, and reasonable disabled accommodation of analog, electromechanical, non-digital utility meters for all disabled persons who require them.”
Sharon Noble, Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Abraham Lincoln