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5G antennas have been installed across the city, including at 82nd Street and Allison Pointe Boulevard. (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)
Telecom companies are putting 5G antennas by the hundreds in neighborhoods across Indianapolis, escalating tensions with residents who complain they have little say over where they’re built.
The small towers will enable AT&T, Verizon and other providers to blanket the region with wireless 5G service, which is faster and more reliable than the prior technology, 4G LTE, and can support automated cars and other innovations.
Workers have installed more than 350 poles, or small cell towers, in Indianapolis neighborhoods and other non-residential locations in the past five years. Hundreds to thousands more are in the works.
5G relies on many nodes of small antennas rather than the far fewer and much larger cell towers of past wireless generations. The greater the concentration of poles, the stronger the 5G signal.
Federal and state laws, including a measure passed by the Generally Assembly in 2018, generally handcuff municipalities in regulating the installation of the poles—as long as they meet general zoning standards and are in rights of way or other city-owned areas.
The only time a variance …
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