I heard that Telus was planning to create a new network of public WiFi hotspots to compete with Shaw, but I was surprised to see a Telus crew come by and install the base for one on a BCHydro pole in our residential neighbourhood. I can't imagine what good a public WiFi hotspot would do here (except to interfere with our nearby in-home WiFi!), but the installation crew clarified that these stations are going to be much more elaborate than just public WiFi. Apparently the real reason they are installing them around here is that they are a microcell to improve Telus high-speed data reception in the area. I'm surprised they don't need municipal approval to install cellular transmitters in a residential neighbourhood, but they said that as long as it's below a certain height, they don't need approval. Not sure how I feel about that - I might just check with our city council what they have to say about it. Some potential home buyers could be concerned about having a cellular transmitter within a short distance of their house, so it could impact property values.
I don't know exactly what equipment is going in there, or how strong the RF transmissions will be. Telus hasn't seen fit to inform the residents about anything. And even if they told me something understandable about signal strengths and frequency bands, what am I going to say to a potential house buyer who asks "isn't that a cellular transmitter on the street in front of your house?"
I can see this as a Small Cell installation to address dead zones in areas with poor coverage. The technology is the same as used in shopping malls, sports centres, transit hubs and other places large numbers of folk gather. They cover an area up to about 12 km^2 if installed outdoors. I don't see value in using it as a Wi-Fi hotspot in a residential zone though, as the coverage area is too small at Wi-Fi signal strengths.
Also, to date, Telus is not even partnering with community organizations to bring #Telus Direct to local business cores or similar in smaller communities, so it makes little sense to me they would install it in a residential area without density to support the need.
I mean this in the nicest way possible, but every time this debate starts up again, I picture everyone running to get their tinfoil hats. haha,
@NFtoBC provided some great information. It's worth the read. 🙂
You could direct them to this site: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/consumer-consommation/home-maison/cell-eng.php
Basically says that as long as the equipment is used in accordance with Health Canada limits, there is no health risk. As stated above, there are far higher risks we expose ourselves on a regular basis.
"Reduce your risk
Health Canada reminds cell phone users that they can take practical measures to reduce their RF exposure by:
To which I guess we have to add:
Max output of a cellphone is about 0.6 watts with the antenna inches from your head when in use, and against your body in a pocket when not in use, but polling the network.
Metrocells run at about 2 watts, and are 50' from your head when in use. Apply the inverse square law, the amount of energy when the radio wave arrives at your house, and the signal strength will be in the milliWatt range, far less than the exposure from the Wi-Fi device in our homes. Most of us have been exposed to much higher levels of RF from TVs, CRT monitors, electric blankets and the like.
I'm not concerned about WiFi from a health point of view (although interference in that crowded spectrum is another story). The power is very low, and most of us have it throughout our homes, offices, and public spaces we frequent.
Cellular transmitters, even microcells, are an order of magnitude more powerful, and therefore of more concern. A microcell antenna is not omnidirectional, concentrating its power in one direction, and it may be operating at full power continuously.
If you are concerned about the signals from transmitters, don't live in a city.
These providers spend a lot of money to pay for this spectrum, they have a right to use it.
The only reason they would be enhancing the signal in the area is because of customer demand. Do I want some wacko neighbour across the street to make it so I can't have good mobile service? I think not. Been there, done that, it is absurd.
That's right that they can put them in at a low height, I understand that's how carriers like wind mobile do it, which is why their coverage can be a bit less than desired.