Illinois lost billions by rejecting 5G internet measure, Breen says
A bill to provide 5G internet for cell phones and tablets by installing small cell facilities in municipalities throughout Illinois failed in the House on Wednesday despite vigorous endorsement by Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard), who argued that it would bring money and jobs to the state.
“You’re looking at billions and billions of dollars that gets spent here at home with Illinoisans employed,” Breen said. “I would urge, especially on my side of the aisle, please support this bill, support the jobs. Let’s come together on this one.”
SB1451, which would create the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act, was presented to the floor by Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) and would fast track the implementation of facilities to accommodate the new data technology in Illinois.
Opponents argued against the bill's original language, which would limit municipal authorities to regulate, site or charge permit fees for the installations. The bill also originally limited the maximum time a municipality could review and approve right-of-way permits. Permit requests would be deemed approved if the municipality failed to respond within 60 days.
But Breen said those concerns had been addressed via amendments.
“This thing protects all the local municipal rights,” Breen said. “They can do what they need to do with the utility poles and with the support structures, but what it does is it ensures they are going to put 5G in your community. Your people are going to be happier than pigs in slop. It’s going to be great. They’re going to be happier than folks who walked 200 miles from Chicago to Springfield.”
Changes to SB1451 resolved some concerns, such as areas of installation, adding that facilities cannot be placed near parks, forests, conservation areas or near someone’s window.
Breen said 5G would provide unparalleled services to Illinois.
“This will be a huge improvement to our folks,” Breen said. “5G. That means your cell phone is faster than your in-home high-speed wireless. This is going to be the fastest thing going. The municipal folks, they’ve had their concerns addressed. I’ve looked over this bill backwards, forwards, up and down. It’s a good bill. We’ve cleaned up any of the questions.”
After SB1451 failed, Phelps asked for a postponed consideration.