Verizon 5G poles cause controversy as more pop up around Denver

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A Verizon telecommunications truck is parked on a street in Washington, DC June 11, 2019. (Photo by EVA HAMBACH / AFP) (Photo credit should read EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)

DENVER — 5G has arrived in Denver.

Verizon announced in April Denver would be one of 20 cities to receive the cellphone provider’s 5G Ultra Wideband service this year, though Verizon hopes to reach 30 cities by the end of the year.

It exists in several different forms around Denver: Utility pole mounted, utility pole strand mounted, wood street light mounted, Xcel street light with a small cell, and a single carrier free-standing pole.

The free-standing poles are about 30 feet tall. So far, more than 100 poles have gone up around Denver, the majority of which are owned by Verizon.

“It took me a few months to even notice these poles,” said Colleen Macvittie, motioning toward a pole near East 14th Avenue and North Downing Street in Capitol Hill. “I think the benefit of the faster internet speed outweighs any kind of physical hindrance that they may pose.”

It was a different sentiment about five minutes away at East 9th Avenue and Detroit Street in Congress Park.

“There’s a lot of pushback from the neighbors and [the] neighborhood, especially for a technology that’s not really proven,” Stephen Kaye said.

Kaye says a 5G access point went up on Aug. 9 just feet away from his property. He and his wife say they moved into their home in April, and believe the previous owner was notified off the Verizon pole.

However, Kaye says his family never received any sort of notification from Verizon or the previous owner.

“We had an Excel guy come by who was surveying our property, and he said they were going to be putting a Verizon tower right there, adjacent to our property,” Kate said.

Kaye initially put up a fight, trying to protest the pole, also known as an “access point.”

“I went and got a permit from the forestry department to get a tree where they were going to put the tower, because per the regulation, they’re not allowed to put a tower within 25 feet of a tree,” he said.

That bought him about two weeks, until Verizon workers returned to the site.

“They had a permit superseding my permit, that was before ours, so they said they could come take the tree out and put the pole in,” Kaye said.

So, Kaye and his wife set up a lemonade stand adjacent to where the pole was supposed to go in.

“They raised about $31, mostly from the workers and the police that showed up,” Kaye said.

Verizon was able to install the pole two days later, leaving neighbors wondering why they weren’t more involved in the process.

“By no means does having this in your front yard worth the 5G advantage. So I think they have a responsibility to work with the neighbors to make it go as smoothly as possible,” said Davis Murane, who grew up down the street.

A map shows plans for more poles in the future, owned by Verizon, AT&T, Crown Castle and Zayo Group.

“And I think for people watching this, they need to be aware that this could be your neighborhood next. And so it’s certainly time to start advocating for this now,” Murane told FOX31.

For a link to that map, click here.

For more information on the 5G technology, click here.

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