Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) leaves no question what side she’s on in the growing debate between state municipalities and advocates of faster cellular networks.
“It’s very contentious, and I’m on the side of the municipalities and property owners,” Ives told the DuPage Policy Journal. “Everybody in Illinois wants their cell phone networks built out with the latest innovation. Everyone agrees that should be done, but you have to involve the local authorities and let them determine where the towers should be located.”
Senate Bill 1451 would allow wireless companies to attach 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless antennas to poles across the state that could make wireless speeds by as much as 100 times faster than cellular connections and 10 times quicker than the most hyper-speed home broadband services. The bill has already passed both chambers of the General Assembly and could soon land on Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk.
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)
In addition to concerns about the effect on property values, critics stress the current deal wouldn’t mean much in the way of added compensation for the city.
“No one wants to halt innovation, but it’s the most responsible thing to do,” Ives, who is also challenging Rauner in the Republican primary, said about the idea of more local municipality officials having a greater say in the process. “You can’t just let any particular entity come in and decide where they want to place stuff in your locale.”
Ives said her advice to municipality officials would be not to give up, even though legislators have already voted in favor of the bill's passage.
“Municipalities should attempt to reverse it, and try to work with the phone carriers,” she said. “This makes it more difficult for municipalities to protect property rights.”
In her run against Rauner, Ives, 52, has vowed to return fiscal responsibility to Springfield and to restore the faith in government for frustrated voters.