Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty has called for a public hearing to discuss the siting and impacts of telecommunications-based infrastructure upgrades that are taking place across the city of Boston. The hearing comes in response to concerns raised by constituents, from various neighborhoods, regarding the lack of awareness of the implementation of these antenna devices (technically referred to as small cell, small wireless and distributed antenna systems), and the potential effects on quality of life.
The City of Boston has license agreements with six wireless providers that manage more than 300 small cell sites to assist with wireless telecommunications. These providers are American Tower Corporation, Crown Castle, Extenet, Lightower, Mobilitie, and Verizon. The respective contracts allow the providers to install the antenna devices on City properties – such as streetlights, utility poles, and traffic lights – along with non-City properties (subject to approval) over the course of ten years according to each contract’s Term of Agreement.
“It is understandable and reasonable that, given that we live in a historic city which is going through an era of rapid growth and development, it is necessary that the landscape of the Boston requires consistent infrastructure upgrades, including telecommunications-based infrastructure,” said Boston City Councilor-at-Large Michael Flaherty. “However, it is unacceptable that residents have not been made aware of the process. Further, while the Federal Communications Commission has regulations that keep an eye on the public health concerns raised by these systems, we need to keep in mind that the actual placement of these devices can still be detrimental to an individual’s health and quality of life.”
Boston City Councilor-at-Large Michael Flaherty also noted that despite the technical name of the device, the antenna systems are by no means “small”. Residents have brought to attention the displeasing aesthetic features of the antenna devices which have appeared inches away from their windows, stating that they do not fit into the landscape of the neighborhood and are invasive.
Boston City Councilor-at-Large Michael Flaherty intends to invite representatives from the City of Boston’s Department of Innovation and Technology, the City of Boston’s Transportation Department, the City of Boston’s Public Improvement Commission, the City of Boston’s Department of Public Works to the hearing which will be expeditiously scheduled. Residents are encouraged to send their concerns and suggestions to [email protected]