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Syracuse Common Councilors Postpone Vote to Install 5G Network Across the City


Syracuse common councilors are postponing approval of an agreement that would give Verizon blanket permission to install a high-speed 5G wireless network across the city. 

Councilor Bryn Lovejoy-Grinnell says lawmakers want more answers about whether they can leverage better labor standards for the “small cell” installations on utility poles.

"We know that Verizon has not paid prevailing wages.  We know that Verizon has used non-union workforce.  We know that, in some cases, there may have been undocumented workers doing these installs.  We think they should be held to the same standard as if we were doing any other install or build within the city."         

Mayor Ben Walsh says he's disappointed but undeterred.  Installing the network is a key component of his administration’s efforts to make Syracuse one of the first 5G cities in the nation.  

"This is too important for the future of the city of Syracuse to let up on.  We're going to continue to push hard to get this agreement approved.  We feel that we went above and beyond in trying to answer the questions raised both by our constituents and the councilors."

The city’s lawyers question whether the council can dictate the terms of such an agreement without running afoul of the Federal Communications Commission.  There were also concerns about the health impact of the technology, but councilor Lovejoy-Grinnell says that’s been resolved for now.  The 5G agreement with Verizon is scheduled for a vote again in two weeks.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at