Our View: 5G technology will come to Nevada County and we should embrace it | TheUnion.com

Our View: 5G technology will come to Nevada County and we should embrace it

The Union Editorial Board

Some folks in Nevada County have their wires crossed about 5G technology.

Fifth-generation cellular wireless, or 5G, promises to bring us a faster connection to the internet. That means quicker downloads, greater efficiency in our communications and, perhaps the crowd winner, self-driving vehicles.

The technology also is the latest boogeyman for some Nevada County residents. It takes its place beside cell towers and radio frequency — which critics say not only hurt people, but also plants and trees.

The Nevada City Council last week took its latest step toward passing an ordinance regulating 5G. Some, including Mayor Reinette Senum, are unhappy with how the situation is progressing. They say 5G will injure people and want more time to study the technology.

Instead the council moved forward with the ordinance, though a second reading and vote are needed before it becomes law.

This should go without saying, but these governmental machinations are little more than sparks from a faulty wire.

Many people despise 5G. They think it’s terrible, will injure them and, in Senum’s words, lead to “extinction.”

Here’s a problem these folks face: 5G is coming, regardless of their beliefs.

Candle makers no doubt were angry over gas-powered lamps. Pony Express riders must have hung their heads in sadness when the telegraph came through.

And it’s certain typewriter companies grew glum over the creation of the first personal computer.

Progress has a way of happening despite our best efforts to stop it. In the Nevada City Council’s case, the federal government is working against them.

The Federal Communications Commission restricts the power of local governments when it comes to regulating tech like 5G. For one, an attempt to “materially inhibit” its development is considered “effective prohibition” and not allowed.

Let’s not pull any punches: prohibition is exactly what 5G opponents want. That won’t happen, and it’s going to make some people angry.

Those folks can stay angry, or they can examine the science.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November issued a statement about radio frequency. This agency sets standards for radiation exposure limits.

“Based on our ongoing evaluation of this issue, the totality of the available scientific evidence continues to not support adverse health effects in humans caused by exposures at or under the current radiofrequency energy exposure limits,” the document states. “We believe the existing safety limits for cell phones remain acceptable for protecting the public health.”

The Federal Communications Commission states: “There is no scientific evidence to date that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other health effects, including headaches, dizziness or memory loss.”

We’re not arguing the science is settled on this. Studies will continue to occur, and if we get better data then we should act on it.

But to throw down the gauntlet at this stage, when the evidence points to this technology being safe, is foolish. It won’t just hurt businesses and economic development, it will endanger public safety.

We need faster communication, especially during fire season. We need business development, not an attitude that should have been discarded with the Luddites. Business will flock to where 5G technology is available. If Nevada City, or any jurisdiction, opts against it, businesses and jobs will go elsewhere.

No one should actively strive for that outcome.

People always fear change. Whether it’s a new shopping center in South County or a dispensary in Nevada City, change will happen. And, for the most part, people get used to it once it does. Sometimes we even grow to like the change and eventually support it.

You shouldn’t need a 5G network to tell you that.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.


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