Uhm, things we didn't want to know? According to City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., the city does not have a complete record of where cellular antennas are in the city. In fact, they have no idea how many antennas there are in the city. Now, we're not ones to freak about radiation from cell towers (the FCC says they are basically safe and we'd go crazy in a city like New York if we didn't take their word for it) but there is something disconcerting about the idea that this isn't something the city has been keeping tabs on.
Anyway, this bit of information comes from a City Council meeting yesterday that discussed three seperate bills intended to make sense of New York's myriad antennas and other phone equipment. The proposals, which the Department of Buildings feels it "can't support" for various reasons, would codify rules on how equipment is mounted and attached, require property owners to tell the city of any equipment that might impede inspections, have phone companies place towers in non-residential areas when possible, and require community boards and City Council members to be informed when companies apply for permits to install equipment. Further it would add a 30-day waiting period to allow for objections to any new equipment.
You'll be surprised to know that, in addition to the DOB, cell phone companies think these proposals suck. An AT&T VP argues “these bills are unnecessary, discriminatory and would impede the steady deployment and enhancement of the wireless infrastructure in New York City.” Also, they say the changes would slow technological advances and make it hard for some people to call 911 in an emergency.
To which council member Lewis A. Fidler awesomely responded: “Frankly, that’s just ridiculous.”