In January 2021, Winter Park’s City Commission will consider an agreement with telecommunication company ExteNet, which is working with AT&T to implement 5G technology. The proposed project, which was pitched to the commissioners this week, would improve connectivity in the City, especially in high-pedestrian areas with substantial wireless traffic such as in and around downtown.
The commission has been hesitant to approve requests to install the 5G small-cell nodes in the past largely due to aesthetic reasons. Millions of dollars have been spent in recent years to reduce the clutter of poles and wires throughout the City by moving them underground. Vice Mayor Carolyn Cooper and Commissioner Todd Weaver both expressed their worries regarding the looks of the nodes, concerned the installation would be a step backwards in this effort.
ExteNet proposed the installation of 20 nodes, the locations of which would be determined based on where they would provide the best connectivity. The company has also presented the commission with an example of the nodes’ appearance, which is meant to blend in with existing black fluted poles.
Concerns regarding whether the wireless technology could lead to health risks was addressed when ExteNet assured the group that it follows all federal health and safety regulations, which are abundant and strictly enforced.