Town of Farragut tries fighting back against 5G

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FARRAGUT, Ten. (WVLT) - Faster phone service is heading to you - like it or not. Engineers say 5G is a big step forward, but not everyone agrees.

(WVLT)

Soon, your lawn may be home to a small cell tower. It's a story we've been following for months.

Some neighbors in Farragut hope a new resolution will keep 5G out of their town. Debbie Konopka has an anti-5G sign in her yard; you'll spot them all over the suburb. But for Debbie, it may already be too late. She says without notice, two guys came to her house and started digging. That's when the mess began.

"All I saw was a huge, just, water, just flying up in the air," Debbie Konopka said. "And I was like oh my gosh!"

While installing equipment to bring 5G cell coverage to East Tennessee, Verizon's sub-contractors didn't just strike a nerve.

"They said 'they busted your water main.' And so we had no water at this point," Konopka said.

The taps started flowing again six hours later.

Farragut's town administrator David Smoak says this isn't an isolated issue.

"Water, sewer, gas, yeah. I'm not sure how many times. We've been aware of a couple of each, actually," Smoak said.

Verizon said, "Our vendor partner will complete any required restoration."

They also said notice was provided to the neighbors, adding: "The posting of notices in the work areas, the hanging of door tags march 11 and 12 to inform the residents of the work being done."

Debbie isn't satisfied.

"What happens if 2-3 years from now, I decide to sell my home. And there's this atrocious tower here," Konopka said. "How many people you think are going to want to buy this house?"

"It's all coming very rapidly to our community. So we want to make sure it's safe for folks," Smoak said.

The town's mayor and aldermen unanimously passed a resolution asking the State and FCC to stop 5G installation until more research can be done. They say the last time these rules were studied was in 1996, nearly 25 years ago.

"The resolution is non-binding but what we hope is that it gets their attention. That hey, our community of 23,000 people is very concerned about this. And we want to make sure that other communities are, as well," Smoak said.

Those other communities will have more poles, too. Unlike the big cell towers you drive by, 5G needs many more, smaller towers to work. And that means more digging.

"So we don't have much control over that," Smoak said.

"I don't want it," Konopka said. "None of us want it."

Verizon wants to put down more fiber optic and build more 5G poles in Farragut. Smoak said he still doesn't know how many new poles that will mean for neighborhoods.

Verizon reps will apply at Thursday's planning meeting.

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