Question from Reader About Wi-Fi Antenna Placed on Utility Poles in Residential Area

Question from Reader:

Thanks for your work!  Do you have any resources to help people fight for removal of Wi-Fi antenna placed on utility poles in residential easements?  I live in a suburb where AT&T placed a large Wi-Fi antenna on a utility pole owned by our electric company to support AT&Ts internet and television services.  The antenna is 100 feet from 4 houses and literally in the back yard of 3 homes with a total of 8 children under the age of 12 living among the 3 houses.  There are at least 20 children living within a block of this antenna.  We were not given any notice of the installation.  It is located in a historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.  It poses a significant fire hazard, being surrounded on 3 sides by driving surface (a drive way on 2 sides and an alley on another side, with no space between the drive surface and the utility pole holding the antenna).  Our main concern is health impact, but we see no recourse on this front, given the FCC’s historic position on health and safety.  Any direction or resources you can share would be much appreciated!  Thank you very much.

Katie’s Answer:

Your email breaks my heart.  I have two ideas.

1. Please see my model letter about cell towers and newer ordinances that are being mandated around the country:

See also the list of cell towers that have caught fire or collapsed:

I’m not sure how this can be helpful after the fact.  Perhaps a lawyer would know.

2.  Do you know about Community Right?  Your community can declare, for example, that you ban WiFi.  You would also mandate something to the effect that your community’s health matters more than corporations.  Then, you would nullify state, local and corporate trade treaty pre-emption laws when those laws violate your inherent right of local self-government.  More than 100 communities have enacted such ordinances because they do not want fracking or GMOs or KAFOs.  Perhaps you could try this?  For more info, check out  I hear very good things about Paul Cienfuugos.  I’ve heard that there are other good people doing Community Rights, as well.

Very best,
Katie Singer

Reply from Reader:


Hi Katie,
Thank you so much for your help.
Thank you for the link of cell tower fires.  This may be too techy, but can I argue that the high-heating equipment on a cell tower and wifi antenna are the same and pose the same fire hazard?  I am summing ‘yes’ because it seems to be wireless equipment in general that heats and poses a fire risk.  I keep seeing fire incidents related to smart meters.
If you happen to know what common component heats and poses the fire risk in cell towers, wifi antenna and smart meters, that would be very helpful.  Or if you know a resource that can help me ID that, I would be most grateful!
Thank you again for your help.
I will fight on!
Katie’s Reply:
To my knowledge, the sources of fire are unique to each technology.  With cell towers and utility poles, the source may be from the weight of antennas on the pole.  Also, antennas may snap in high winds, and if the antennas falls on a wire or something else flammable, that can lead to fire.
I do not know the source of fires with “smart” meters.   I believe that they frequently happen at installation.  PECO in Pennsylvania halted installation a few years ago after 29 houses caught fire with “smart” meter installations.
Keep me posted,


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