Fortner in favor of bill allowing 5G wireless antennas in Illinois
Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) wasn’t about to stand in the way of progress.
“I am very aware of technology and that 5G is coming,” Fortner, who once opposed local wireless expansion plans and more recently co-sponsored a bill paying the way for advanced technology, told the DuPage Policy Journal. “We’re going to have 5G, the public is going to demand 5G. The question is just how do you go about doing it?”
With that in mind, Fortner made it a point of having a voice on the matter and becoming part of the process.
“I spent at least 25 hours in face-to-face negotiations,” he said. “When Senate Bill 1451 first came over from the Senate to the House last spring, it was extremely weighted in favor of the telecommunications industry, and I was one of those against it.”
But all the talking came to matter, with the bill now having passed through both chambers of the General Assembly, meaning it could soon find its way to the desk Gov. Bruce Rauner.
With that, wireless companies could soon be attaching their 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless antennas to poles across the state, operating at speeds 100 times faster than current cellular connections and 10 times faster than the fastest home broadband services.
But critics charge the deal being proposed isn't good for everyone and that the city stands to derive little compensation from it.
“You don’t get everything you want, but those who participated in the negotiations are no longer opposed to it,” Fortner said.
Still, nothing has crossed the finish line, and this isn’t the first time 5G wireless advocates have met with such resistance.
In Ohio, 17 cities recently filed suit to stop 5G towers from popping up across the state.
Fortner is hoping for a different trajectory in Illinois.
“There will probably be a trailer bill,” he said. “And I understand, there might be some additional language before the final version comes out of the House.”