Power lines turned into giant antennas (FCC survey)

Smart Meter Grid G3-PLC Creating a Pulsed Low Frequency Ele

 

Published on Sep 20, 2012

These are the side affects from using a system that touts being able to pass over transformers. The power is off at the breaker but the G3-PLC system keeps delivering a pulsed field around the entire perimeter. This all is happening without a smart meter but with an Elstar analog. There is no escaping this weapon. The electrical engineers should get together with some brain surgeons to understand what they are creating. I have pleaded for the power company to stop sending this 500KHz-5KHz frequency but they continue to do so. I’m sure this is wreaking havoc on all my appliances. Why are all the power companies delivering more than 60 Hertz to our appliances?

http://swling.com/blog/2016/12/chris-tracks-down-sources-of-radio-noise/#comment-427456

 

 

High Cost of Smart Water Meters Slows Adoption by Utilities

High Cost of Smart Water Meters Slows Adoption by Utilities

Turn to the nation’s most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental…

By Amena H. Saiyid

In a world of smart phones, smart cars, and smart appliances, drinking water utilities are striving to keep pace, installing smart meters that send real-time data about usage, leakage, and water quality.

The migration has been slow, however, mainly because of their high cost, according to the head of DC Water, the utility serving the nation’s capital.

The cost of installing a smart meter is a “heavy lift no matter what the size of the utility,” George Hawkins, DC Water’s chief executive officer and general manager, told Bloomberg BNA.

On average, a regular analog meter would cost $25. The average cost of installing a smart meter at each house in the nation’s capital is coming out to be $180, according to DC Water, which which distributes drinking water and collects and treats wastewater for more than 672,000 residents and 17.8 million annual visitors in the District of Columbia.

Only about 20 percent of U.S. drinking water utilities have adopted the new technology, while about 60 percent of the country’s electric utilities use digitized smart meters, according to a recent report by the Energy & Utilities practice at business consultants West Monroe Partners.

Cost as Barrier

The report found that two thirds of the 700 surveyed water utilities cite cost as a barrier to implementing smart meter technologies, especially among small- to mid-sized utilities. A smart meter can cost as much as seven times as much as the regular, analog, spinning meter.

“Smart,” or advanced, meters are a vital part of water infrastructure that can provide a remote and constant two-way data link between utilities, meters and consumers. They do so by measuring water consumption or pressure or leaks and transmitting that data digitally at regular intervals to the utility control room. They are usually installed on the utility’s service line between a homeowner’s property line and the public domain.

DC water had to take some of their employees away from their regular jobs to help with installing and configuring the utility’s network to integrate smart metering.

“We can afford to take people offline and spread our costs, but not all utilities can afford to do that,” Hawkins said.

A smart meter incorporates transmitters and fixed “nodes” around the city that collect data and relay it to the utility, Hawkins said. The metering system uses software to receive and analyze the data, and staff has to be trained to interpret the data for day-to-day decisions, he said.

Fragmented Nature of Industry

Other factors inhibiting adoption of smart meters is the fragmented nature of the drinking water utility industry compared to the consolidated electric utility sector, Peter Mulvaney, senior manager for West Monroe’s Energy and Utilities who specializes in delivering water management services, told Bloomberg BNA.

He said 50,000 water utilities provide water service compared to the 3,000 electric utilities that distribute power.

“Fragmentation makes market penetration very difficult because each utility is responsible for making the investment,” Mulvaney said, making the case for regional water utilities that would be able to pool resources and data.

Hawkins agrees with Mulvaney. He said the region’s utilities could benefit from pooling data they receive from their customers in an attempt to make operations better.

Cautious Industry

Water utilities are risk-averse and tend to err on the conservative side because they can’t afford to cause a public health crisis by delivering water that is unsafe, according to Mulvaney.

“Water utilities are late to the game” compared to electric utilities, Mulvaney said.

West Monroe found that most water utilities, including DC Water, are using smart meters to detect leakage in addition to providing billing services based on water consumption. Smart meters also are being used to detect pressure variations, which can indicate a problem in the pipes.

DC Water is among the nation’s water utilities that have been quick to adopt technologies that will improve its capability to respond remotely and immediately to problems with water treatment and delivery, Hawkins said.

In March, the utility announced plans to replace the city’s 89,000 meters over the 18 months with a new version of meters that detect leakage if the consumption rate rises suddenly, utility spokesman Vincent Morris told Bloomberg BNA.

Improved Efficiency

Morris said the new meters, which will be accompanied by a small transponder, will yield multiple benefits for the utility and the consumer. The new meters will transmit the information to six data nodes that the utility has installed around the city that in turn will relay it to the control room at the utility.

“We can remotely respond to any data of leakage by turning off the water delivery,” Hawkins said.

Related to smart meters is another device that the utility is planning to test on its sewer systems. This technology, which Xylem Inc. has developed, would allow the utility to shut down the pumps if it detects a problem.

Mulvaney sees smart meters as the way to make delivery and treatment of water more efficient and reliable.

“If we only use these meters for billing purposes then its use is very limited, but we can use this infrastructure to provide us with a picture of the watershed,” Mulvaney said. “We not only find out about the movement of water through the ground, but also through the pipes.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Amena H. Saiyid in Washington atasaiyid@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Connolly atPConnolly@bna.com

https://www.bna.com/high-cost-smart-n73014451587/

ACC Chairman Gary Pierce Indicted on Felony Conspiracy, Bribery, Mail Fraud and 5 Counts of Wire Fraud

Ex-ACC Chairman Gary Pierce Indicted on Felony Conspiracy, Bribery, Mail Fraud and 5 Counts of Wire Fraud
Information & Perspective by Warren Woodward
Sedona, Arizona ~ May 25, 2017

At a recent APS rate case meeting I was speaking to a seasoned rate case intervenor about former Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) chairman Gary Pierce and how he straight up lied right to my face. Feigning shock, the guy responded with “Gary? Lie? Nooooo.”

Apparently, he was well known for that. Now he’ll be well known for something else.

Here’s the Arizona Republic newspaper story on Pierce’s indictment: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2017/05/25/utilities-george-johnson-former-corporation-commissioner-pierce-indicted-conspiracy-fraud-charges/347500001/

          His wife also got charged. The two were allegedly selling Gary’s influence at the ACC.

You have to wonder if this was a one-off or Pierce’s regular, established practice. Actually, I don’t wonder.

Advice to Pierce: When you get where you’re going, don’t bend over for the soap.

Pushing The RF Envelope-Yet Another !&*%$! Noise Source

RadioHobbyist.org

Pushing The RF Envelope

Yet Another !&*%$! Noise Source

The past few days, I have noticed higher than usual noise levels, generally on the lower frequencies, and particularly on the longwave band, including the 285-325 kHz DGPS band, where I run nightly SDR recordings, to later process the data and decode and detect DX DGPS stations using my Amalgamated DGPS app.

Thinking back to what new electronics devices have been added to the house, two came to mind, a new cable modem, and a new ethernet switch. The switch is up here in the shack, so it seemed to be a likely candidate. The switch is a D-Link DES-1008E 8-Port 10/100 Unmanaged Desktop Switch. It uses a mini USB port for power, using either the included AC adapter, or power from a USB port. When I installed it, I decided to not use the AC adapter, but rather a USB port on my UPS, figuring it was better to not add yet another potentially noisy switching power supply to the mix.

The test was easy, I just unplugged the power to the switch. Sure enough, the noise vanished. Great, the switch is a RFI generator. Or is it? As another test, I plugged it into a port on a USB hub. No noise. Hmm… so it seems that the noise is indeed from the USB port on the UPS. I did not notice any increase in the noise floor when I got the UPS a few months ago, but It’s something I should look into again, just to be sure. The UPS is a CyberPower CP1350PFCLCD.

Here’s a waterfall from the SDR, showing the DGPS band, 280-330 kHz. You can see where I changed the power to the switch from the UPS USB port to the USB hub, the bottom part of the waterfall is when the switch was still powered by the UPS (click to enlarge it):

I still have a noise source just above 305 kHz to hunt down.

Update

I decided to see what I could do to improve things, and reduce the noise floor.

Here is the baseline, after no longer powering the switch from the UPS:

First, I relocated the AFE822 away from the computer and rats nest of assorted cables behind it, powered from an HTC USB charger:

The squiggly noise around 305 kHz vanished!

I then switched to an Apple USB charger / power supply, as their products tend to be a bit better made:

Another improvement, the overall noise floor is a bit less now.

But can we do better? I then switched to an older USB hub for power to the AFE822, that I thought might be better filtered:

I then changed to a linear supply plugged directly into the AFE822. I don’t notice any obvious improvement? Maybe it even looks like a little more noise? Difficult to tell. You can see a DGPS station popped up on 304 kHz while I was switching things around, between the last two tests, it was likely Mequon, WI.

2 THOUGHTS ON “YET ANOTHER !&*%$! NOISE SOURCE”

  1. I have found some laptops which generate noise on the FRS band enough to break squelch if the receiver is in the same room. But I have a new issue which eclipses everything now:

    I frequently listen to several high power distant stations and low power local stations on the AM broadcast band. After my neighbors “smart” electric meter was installed, I suddenly could not receive these stations due to interference. I quickly discovered that this interference also completely destroyed my shortwave reception. I conducted a survey by carrying a portable AM receiver towards the smart meter and positively confirmed that the meter is the source of interference. At close range the digital pulses completely overwhelmed audio signals on many frequencies across ALL broadcast bands. This RF leakage was so intense that nearby underground telephone lines could be followed just by walking along with the receiver in hand, listening for digital noise. The same noise appeared at lower RF power levels near some electrical outlets and the main AC panel within my home. Strong interference was also present on the lower end of the AM broadcast band while driving past the neighbors house.

    I wondered if the meter could have been improperly installed, since other nearby smart meters do not radiate the same high levels of RF noise. After a friendly complaint, it appears that the power company might have made some adjustment which reduced the RF radiation. For all I know, this could have been addressed through a remote firmware update rather than some electrical modification. Some of the stronger shortwave stations can now be heard again, but the smart meter noise is still audible. I still cannot receive several AM stations which I could copy reliably prior to the smart meter installation, particularly at night. On some frequencies this interference presents as clearly audible digital pulsations, but on many other frequencies it presents as a hissing sound which is almost indistinguishable from ordinary background noise. In the latter case the average listener might not be aware that a nearby smart meter is the cause of his inability to receive a radio broadcast.

    While researching this I found some broadcast engineers who said that many smart meters are actually violating the legal RF power limits on unlicensed transmitters, but these violations can only be detected on a peak reading signal meter (not RMS) because the digital pulses are so brief. Anyone can see that it is not feasible to audit millions of smart meters on a regular basis for such violations. If a pirate broadcaster or radio jammer stole a million listeners from a licensed broadcaster, no doubt they would howl in protest. But the same broadcasters seem oblivious to the loss of audience due to increased background noise from smart meters!

    Smart meters could be using two different networking methods here: peer-to-peer wireless and RF over power lines. It seems to me like noise is leaking from one side to the other, but is not clear which direction. I understand why the power company would like to possess the ability to turn electric service on & off by remote control, but this is absolute madness when a hacker or virus could use the same network to shut down entire cities at once. Even if this network could be secured, the constant and unnecessary transmission of excess digital data should not be allowed if it harms the broadcasting industry.

    Now I am seeing other posts which report that millions of good working power meters are being replaced simply for the sake of collecting real time data from the customer, and this is being financed with rate increases or government subsidies. There is also a total news blackout on this subject in the establishment media. And the same politicians who are blaming the russians for the democrats defeat are trying to hide the national security implications of the smart meter threat! The potential for politicians and regulators to profit immensely through kickbacks by spending the taxpayers money on unnecessary meter replacements would certainly explain WHY they are racing to deploy smart meters with absolutely ZERO concern for protecting critical infrastructure and preventing interference to radio services. Only a fool or a crook would be so reckless and irresponsible.

    • We have concrete forensic evidence pointing to the Smart Grid technologies as the culprit of the constant Noise pollution in our air. This is illegal, yet regulatory stonewalling is going on to dismiss the complaints regarding this issue.
      http://www.sandaura.wordpress.com
      contact us for more info.

  2. Pingback: More adventures in filtering the power supply for an AFE-822 SDR | RadioHobbyist.org

http://www.radiohobbyist.org/blog/?p=1995#comment-38961

Noise Floor: Where Do We Go From Here?

 

December 12, 2016

This article summarizes comments that were filed in a noise floor technical inquiry conducted by the Technological Advisory Council of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology. The TAC had asked users of public communications spectrum, including broadcasters, for input to help it set goals for a radio spectrum noise study.

The author is president of Kintronic Labs Inc.; he was invited to prepare this summary for a presentation to the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society. This paper summarizes responses and concludes with the author’s recommendations. A copy also was filed with the commission.

iStockphoto/zhengzaishuru

The subject of this paper concerns the licensed and unlicensed users of electromagnetic spectrum and the growing concern over the degradation in achieving reliable (1) analog and HD AM and FM as well as DTV broadcast reception, (2) wireless communications service, (3) amateur radio reception and (4) broadband internet service as a result of a decreasing signal-to-noise ratio due to an apparent increase in the noise floor in the DC to >1 GHz frequency band.It is for this reason that the Federal Communications Commission Technical Advisory Council under the direction of the Office of Engineering and Technology issued a Technical Inquiry under ET Docket No. 16-191 in order to request spectral noise measured data from any and all licensed and unlicensed users of electromagnetic spectrum and to respond to a list of questions that included the following:

  • Is there a noise floor problem?
  • Where does the problem exist? Spectrally? Spatially? Temporally?
  • Is there quantitative evidence of the overall increase in the total integrated noise floor across various segments of the radio frequency spectrum?
  • How should a noise study be performed?

The responses to these questions will serve to establish a basis from which the TAC could develop a set of achievable goals to present to the chairman of the FCC to act on in an effort to improve the reliability of broadcast and communication services that are being adversely affected by an increasing noise environment. The responsibility for this noise study will be the responsibility of the TAC Spectrum and Receiver Performance working group that is currently co-chaired by Dr. Greg Lapin, who represents the American Radio Relay League, and Lynn Claudy, senior vice president for technology at the National Association of Broadcasters.

GENERAL RESPONSE SUMMARY TO THE TAC TI
According to a summary report prepared by Geoff Mendenhall, consultant to Gates Air Corp. and who is currently serving on the TAC Spectrum and Receiver Performance working group, a total of 93 submissions were received at the FCC Electronic Filing System, some of which were duplicates. Responses were received from 73 different people or organizations. The breakdown on responders was as follows:

  • 23 companies/industry organizations
  • 39 RF professionals (broadcast and wireless)
  • 31 licensed radio amateurs
  • 9 responders did not reply to the questions asked

The four [bullets] below illustrate the most widely used services that are affected by the increasing noise floor.

  • Cellphone and broadband internet service
  • AM/FM/DTV reception
  • Police, fire and emergency responder communications
  • Amateur radio two-way communications

Individuals and companies representing each of these sectors of public communications submitted responses to the TAC TI.

HIGHLIGHTS OF SPECIFIC RESPONDERS
[The sections below summarize the filed comments of the named organizations.]

I. ARRL
The FCC classification of noise emitters is as follows:

  • Intentional emitters, such as broadcast stations or mobile telecom cell sites.
  • Unintentional emitters, such as high-efficiency fluorescent and light emitting diode (LED) lights, computers, plasma TVs and switching power supplies
  • Incidental emitters, such as overhead power lines and motors

Man-made noise sources fall under one of these three categories and together attribute to the overall spectral noise floor with the highest levels being in the large, metropolitan urban areas and the lowest levels being in the rural areas. The ARRL response noted that Section 15.5 of the FCC rules calls for operators of an interference-causing RF device to cease operating the device if interference to authorized services develops.

Operators should be aware of this rule and seek FCC enforcement with supporting documented evidence.

In addition Chris Imlay, the author of the ARRL response, referred to an IEEE Recommended Practice on the resolution of power line noise complaints (P1987) that is being developed by the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society Standards Development and Education Committee. This document should be distributed to all operators of broadcast and wireless communications services when available.

 

II. Society of Broadcast Engineers
On May 26, 1999 the FCC requested that the TAC study the noise floor and propose new approaches to spectrum management based on emerging and future technologies. The commission has since 1999 skipped the urgent step of evaluating the RF environment before repeatedly and constantly making allocation decisions. The time is now to proceed with a well-planned comprehensive nationwide noise floor study.

The commercially available range of RF devices has expanded significantly resulting in a previously limited range of 30 MHz to 3 GHz as per the current FCC Part 15 and 18 rules to an expanded range up to 70 GHz; hence a review and updating of the current rules relating to noise interference is in order.

The IEEE is in the process of revising Std. 473, a standard on site surveys, which does include test methodology for the measurement of signals and noise at test sites and at locations of equipment. This should be made available to TAC when completed.

SBE recommendations to the TAC:

  • Increased cooperation is needed between manufacturers of Part 15 devices and users of radio spectrum to identify noise sources and take appropriate remedial action.
  • Radiated emission limits below 30 MHz in the FCC Part 15 rules for unintentional emitters should be enacted. There are presently no radiated emission limits below 30 MHz for most unintentional emitters.
  • Reduced Part 15 limits for LED lights should be enacted to be harmonized with the Part 18 lower limits for fluorescent bulbs.
  • Better labeling on packaging for Part 18 fluorescent bulbs and ballasts to better inform consumers of potential interference to radio, TV and cellphone reception in the residential environment.
  • Specific radiated and/or conducted emission limits for incidental emitters, such as motors or power lines, should be enacted.
  • Conducted emission limits on pulse-width motor controllers used in appliances should be enacted.
  • Substantially increase the visibility of enforcement in power line interference cases.

 

III. National Association of Broadcasters
The FCC was created to address the interference chaos that threatened to destroy nascent radio services in the early 20th century. The FCC has unfortunately relinquished this role to self-regulation of the manufacturers of consumer products with associated RF emissions, which clearly has led to deregulation of the noise floor contributors and a resulting increase in the noise floor.

The NAB pointed out that (1) FM HD injection was increased from –20 dBc to –10 dBc in some cases due to the need to overcome the ambient noise floor, and (2) numerous VHF DTV stations moved to the UHF band to avoid noise interference issues. These are examples of how the FCC has avoided attacking the real source of the problem, which is a rising noise floor.

NAB’s recommendations to the TAC:

  • The FCC should review the general Part 15 emission limits to determine what improvements are necessary to protect licensed services and adopt strict and enforceable limits that will limit noise interference. As a minimum the commission should adopt and enforce a radiated emissions limit of 0.025 mV/m measured at a distance of 10 meters to protect AM radio operators.
  • The FCC should reexamine Section 15.13 of its rules that states that manufacturers of incidental radiators should employ “good engineering practices to minimize the risk of harmful interference.”

 

The NAB proposed the following harmful interference levels shown in Table 1 below.

IV. National Public Safety Telecommunications Council
Public Law 110-140-DEC.19, 2007, Subtitle B, Lighting Energy Efficiency: Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 established requirements for improvements in energy efficiency of lighting equipment, which set the transition from incandescent to high-efficiency fluorescent and LED lighting on a fast track. Section R404.1 of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code requires that a minimum of 75 percent of lamps in permanently installed lighting fixtures should be high-efficiency lamps. High-efficiency lamp types include:

  • Compact fluorescent lamps
  • A T8 or smaller linear fluorescent lamp
  • Any lamp meeting minimum efficiency requirements:

A. 60 lumens/watt for lamps over 40 watts
B. 50 lumens/watt for lamps over 15 watts, but no more than 40 watts
C. 40 lumens/watt for lamps rated at 15 watts or less

 

The NPSTC response included a list of noise interference to public safety communications examples among which are the following two examples:

1. Reported by the New York Department of Transportation: Multi-voltage ballasts for fluorescent lighting in a particular building resulted in noise in the VHF low band, loss of coverage, and garbled transmissions impacting portables, mobiles and base receivers within 50 yards of the building.

2. Industry Canada: Electronic ballasts for fluorescent lights in a nearby store produced 20 MHz wide broadband noise in the 800 MHz cellular band resulting in loss of coverage or dropped calls within 2 km of the store location.

V. State of California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services & Public Safety Communications
The response for the CalOES included the following statement: “During the last 20 years, and even more so over the last 5 years, we have encountered more and more interference from sources that were not causing interference prior to that time.” In their response they listed the following major sources of noise interference:

  • Fluorescent lights
  • LED lights
  • Computers and embedded controllers
  • Switching power supplies and battery chargers
  • Industrial equipment
  • Power tools
  • Solar panel inverters
  • Cable TV/internet distribution systems
  • Power line communications (PLC) and Broadband over Power Lines (BPL)
  • Electric automobiles

 

In response to the question as to what levels does the noise floor cause harmful interference to particular radio service, CalOES responded with the following levels shown in Table 2 below.

VI. CTIA Representing the U.S. Wireless Communications Industry
CTIA highlighted the following RF emitters as major sources of noise interference to the US wireless services:

A. Incidental radiators
a. Electric motors
b. Light dimmers
c. Switching power supplies

B. Unintentional radiators
a. High-efficiency lights
b. Computers
c. Garage door receivers

Commercial Mobile Radio Service is impacted by an increasing noise floor as follows:

  • Reduction in carrier’s reliable service area
  • Lost coverage for cell sites at the outer boundary of a carrier’s network
  • More dropped calls traveling between cell sites
  • Diminished voice quality
  • Slower data transmission or lost data packets

 

Considering the number of cell sites that are presently in operation in the USA, the cost to the service providers in reduced quality of service resulting from noise interference has to be a staggering amount.

VII. AT&T
AT&T has had marginal success in working with large manufacturers of industrial lighting to encourage the incorporation of noise filtering in the associated power modules. In the midst of our government’s drive toward the increase usage of high-efficiency lighting, manufacturers are motivated to disregard noise concerns due to the higher product cost of adding filter components.

AT&T is particularly concerned about the potential impact of noise on small cells sharing a support with LED lights. A single faulty power supply conducting noise through power lines can compromise their network service out to a distance of a half mile, which is a significantly large area.

Harmonics from unintentional radiators, i.e. FM broadcast transmitters, are the greatest noise source impacting AT&T Mobility Services. FM station interference can degrade the uplink signal in the 700–2300 MHz band within 2,000 feet of the station. Also data speeds in the 3–4 GHz range between a computer and other ancillary devices, such as a video display, create harmonics and noise products that interfere with cellphone service.

AT&T recommendations to TAC:

  • Noise from incidental radiators could be mitigated through updated industry standards, better testing protocols for device manufacturers, and clarity in commission regulations for spurious emissions
  • Improved testing at a wider frequency range up to 6 GHz would identify the potential for interference to commercial mobile and public safety licensees, avoiding the inefficient and piecemeal approach of identifying and mitigating noise after it occurs.
  • The commission should create incentives for FM broadcasters to encourage the use of FM transmitter cabinets that are properly bonded and shielded in an effort to comply with mobile service providers’ minimum receiver signal levels.
  • Better and updated standards and specifically higher frequency standards for designing, constructing and testing incidental radiators would minimize noise from data busses and interfaces in computing devices.

 

VIII. National Electrical Manufacturers Association

The NEMA response made reference to two publications on the subject of manmade noise measurements in the United Kingdom and in the U.S. [The publications are Wagstaff & Merricks, “Manmade Noise Measurement Programme,” 2009; and Achatz & Dalke, “Man-made Noise Power Measurements at VHF and UHF Frequencies,” NTIA Report 02-390, US Department of Commerce, 2001.]

As a result the noise measurements were found to be in good agreement for the most part and resulted in the following recorded noise floor levels as shown in Table 3 below.

This data clearly shows that the Medium-Frequency AM band is significantly more affected by the noise floor than the VHF, UHF or mobile cellphone service bands. A reduction of 9–11 dB in the noise floor level is realized between the city and rural environments over the 300 kHz to 100MHz band.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
There is a clear consensus from the great majority of the responders to the TAC technical inquiry that a noise floor study is not only needed, but is way overdue. Even though the measured evidence of noise interference was very scarce in the responses, the experiences of broadcasters, public safety communications service providers, amateur radio operators and mobile phone and internet service providers that specifically stated the reduction in service reliability that they have been experiencing in recent years on an increasing scale should be sufficient evidence to the TAC to prove that a thoroughly planned and implemented noise study with inputs from all parties concerned is definitely needed.

Furthermore in these times of natural disasters, war or terrorist activities, secure, clear wireless communications are of the utmost importance. The growing vulnerability of the internet to hackers has to be causing our government, military and the banking industry to consider other forms of communication that are more secure. We cannot afford to allow the producers of products with associated RF emissions in our limited electromagnetic spectrum to be proliferated without regulatory action. The matter of our understanding the noise floor versus frequency and what sources contribute to it is of great strategic importance to assure reliable and secure public communications for the safety of all citizens of the USA. The SBE response made reference to the following statement: “It would be impossible for the commission to engage in effective spectrum management until it develops a more complete understanding of the current state of the radio noise environment.” [FCC TAC, Second Meeting Report at 1, 9 (Oct 28, 1999).] This further substantiates the need for the noise floor study.

Comment on this or any story. Email radioworld@nbmedia.com.

New paper on wireless radiation and diabetes

logo

  • 23 MAY 17

New paper on wireless radiation and diabetes

Published in Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine. Published online: 19 May 2017

Radiation from wireless technology elevates blood glucose and body temperature in 40-year-old type 1 diabetic male
Catherine E. Kleiber

ABSTRACT

A type 1 diabetic male reports multiple instances when his blood glucose was dramatically elevated by the presence of microwave radiation from wireless technology and plummeted when the radiation exposure ended. In one instance, his body temperature elevated in addition to his blood glucose. Both remained elevated for nearly 48 h after exposure with the effect gradually decreasing. Possible mechanisms for microwave radiation elevating blood glucose include effects on glucose transport proteins and ion channels, insulin conformational changes and oxidative stress. Temperature elevation may be caused by microwave radiation-triggered Ca 2+ efflux, a mechanism similar to malignant hyperthermia. The potential for radiation from wireless technology to cause serious biological effects has important implications and necessitates a reevaluation of its near-ubiquitous presence, especially in hospitals and medical facilities.

KEYWORDS: Blood glucose, cardiac arrhythmia, diabetes, hyperthermia, insulin conformation, insulin resistance, ion channel, wireless

Link to journal

https://www.emfacts.com/2017/05/new-paper-on-wireless-radiation-and-diabetes/

PA-Borough addresses new meter concerns

Ephrata Review

Borough addresses new meter concerns

By on May 10, 2017
Charles Adkins, of NexGen Utility Solutions checks the newly installed unit. The entire process takes about one minute. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Since early April, Ephrata Borough staff have been switching out existing analog electric meters on residential homes to new advanced meters, which are more efficient when recording electric usage.

But some residents don’t want the new automated meters because they are concerned the RF frequency emitted by the meters, similar to radio waves, could cause health problems.

The new meters will be read via radio frequency, and will have a greater reliability than the older type of meter, according to Borough Manager D. Robert Thompson.

Although the new meters reportedly emit less RF waves than a cell phone, a number of people have expressed concerns about that aspect of the meter, Thompson told borough council.

Monday evening, council passed an ordinance giving residential service electric customers the opportunity to apply for a waiver so they could keep existing meters which would continue to be read manually.

“For those in opposition to RF frequency, this will give them an opportunity to opt out,” Thompson said.

Susan Rowe, borough president, was the only dissenting vote for the ordinance.

“I’m not opposed to letting people exempt out (of the RF meters) but this is a state regulation (the installation of more efficient meters),” Rowe said.

She questioned if Ephrata Borough could legally allow some people to continue to use the analog meters, and said it is possible that installation of the more efficient meters could become a federal law.

At this time, only about a dozen borough residents have complained about the new meters.

Installation of the advanced meters should be complete by the end of June, when 6,700 households will have them in place.

There are no additional costs to homeowners for the advanced meters, Thompson said.

While the RF signal has less ionizing radiation than a cell phone, the meters don’t emit a constant RF signal, either, Thompson said.

They flash on, assess meter recordings, and turn off; a pattern done several times a day.

The radio waves from the meters only have a four-meter radius of influence, Thompson said, so the RF frequency dissipates before it reaches a person standing about 12 feet from the meter.

At last week’s borough meeting, Rowe supplied information about ionizing radiation to explain RF waves associated with the new advanced electric meters.

It’s unlikely that a “smart meter” can increase cancer risk, according to information from the American Cancer Society, Rowe said.

Ionizing radiation (like RF waves) can produce heat, but cannot damage DNA directly, Rowe said.

Because the meter’s antenna is outside the home, the house walls and the extra distance from the antenna can reduce or even eliminate RF exposure, she said.

Council Vice president Thomas Reinhold said it was time to go with the advanced meters.

“We’ll have more information at our fingertips to run the utility more effectively,” Reinhold said.

When the new automatic system is completely installed, the demand for meter-readers will be reduced, Thompson said, a fact that should hold down costs.

Before the new meters are installed, customers are receiving notification of the upcoming change by automated calls.

The impact of the few people who want to opt out of the advanced meters would be negligible, Thompson said, explaining that charges would not be passed onto rate payers who have the advanced meters.

http://www.ephratareview.com/news/borough-addresses-new-meter-concerns/

How Wireless Technologies May Affect Childhood Development

The BioInitiative Report

Electromagnetic Fields, Pulsed Radiofrequency Radiation, and Epigenetics: How Wireless Technologies May Affect Childhood Development

Announcing a Special Section of Child Development
from © The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.

Contemporary Mobile Technology and Child and Adolescent Development,
edited by Zheng Yan and Lennart Hardell, May 15, 2017

Article by
Cindy Sage and Ernesto Burgio

Abstract

Mobile phones and other wireless devices that produce electromagnetic fields (EMF) and pulsed radiofrequency radiation (RFR) are widely documented to cause potentially harmful health impacts that can be detrimental to young people. New epigenetic studies are profiled in this review to account for some neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral changes due to exposure to wireless technologies. Symptoms of retarded memory, learning, cognition, attention, and behavioral problems have been reported in numerous studies and are similarly manifested in autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, as a result of EMF and RFR exposures where both epigenetic drivers and genetic (DNA) damage are likely contributors. Technology benefits can be realized by adopting wired devices for education to avoid health risk and promote academic achievement.

Citation Sage, C. and Burgio, E. (2017), Electromagnetic Fields, Pulsed Radiofrequency Radiation, and Epigenetics: How Wireless Technologies May Affect Childhood Development. Child Dev. doi:10.1111/cdev.12824

Contact Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Cindy Sage, Sage Associates,
1396 Danielson Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108. Electronic mail may be sent to sage@silcom.com.

Discussion

The wide array of pathophysiological effects of EMF and RFR exposures from wireless sources do not require “the breaking of molecular bonds” as done by ionizing radiation in order for physiologically damaging effects to occur. Epigenetic mechanisms alone can change fetal development in profound ways, disrupting health by causing changes in gene activation and expression without change in gene sequences. Environmental epigenetic influences in the fetal and neonatal development (i.e., epigenetic regulation of genes rather than direct genetic effects by gene mutation) have been plausibly established to cause pathophysiological changes that can result in altered neurological development. Symptoms of neurodevelopmental problems in children like retarded memory, impaired learning, cognition, attention, and behavioral aberrations that are similarly expressed in autism and ADHD have been reported in numerous scientific studies to occur as a result of EMF and RFR exposures. Epigenetic drivers are the most likely causes, and persistent exposures contribute to chronic dysfunction and addiction that can overwhelm adaptive biological responses.

Epigenetics provides an under-recognized mechanism for the cell phone radiation damage seen in epidemiological studies on humans, and in animal toxicity studies. Epigenetics is redefining the traditional interpretations of ‘Mendelian genes and genetic inheritance’, and legitimizing mechanisms that account for health effects that are already epidemiologically visible.

Epigenetic mechanisms rebut the outdated thinking for experts like David Savitz, a leading US epidemiologist to argue that ” (C)ell phones (and to a lesser extent cordless phones) give off non-ionizing radiation, which unlike ionizing radiation such as X-rays, CT scans and radon do not have the potential to damage DNA. “There is no known pathway for any adverse health effects,” http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/28/health/cell-phones- brain-tumor- risk-berkeley/

Global saturation by wireless device emissions is our largest modifiable and preventable childhood contaminant. It may exacerbate health harm from chemical toxins such as environmental tobacco, mercury, lead and pthalate toxicity that already burden the developing child. We should think first of reducing the body-burden of wireless emissions which cause epigenetic changes leading to cognitive and behavioral issues in the young child, as well as the underlying neurodevelopmental problems of the fetus, before widely prescribing chemical and/or behavioral interventions.

Public health experts, educators and psychologists have gained a strong new tool to argue against pulsed radiofrequency radiation saturation by wireless devices and infrastructure. Wireless exposures are modifiable and largely avoidable by choosing wired for technology access. This may hold the largest potential for global preventative health action we have. In comparison to chemical toxicants and other neurotoxins and neurodevelopmental contaminants, we have a clear and immediate choice to avoid wireless technologies in favor of wired connectivity. Prevention of environmental exposures that can lead to disease and developmental disabilities is within reach, now that we are coming to understand how epigenetic mechanisms can modify the expression of the human genome.

http://www.bioinitiative.org/how-wireless-technologies-may-affect-childhood-development/

An Electronic Silent Spring – May, 2017 Newsletter

An Electronic Silent Spring – May, 2017 Newsletter

An Electronic Silent Spring 
May, 2017 Newsletter from Katie Singer
www.electronicsilentspring.com

Reality 

According to the Cellular Telephone and Internet Association (CTIA), Americans’ use of smartphones between 2015 and 2016 increased by 14.7%. Use of tablets increased by 16.7%. Data traffic increased 42.2%.

With the introduction of 5G (fifth generation of mobile devices) and the Internet of Things (machine-to-machine communication), device ownership, data traffic and the infrastructure that these require wil continue to grow.

Marketing and use of devices and deployment of the infrastructure that they require continue without due diligence certification that the public’s life, health and property are safeguarded when these devices are used.

Regulation of technology’s impacts on security, privacy, fire, health, social interaction, wildlife, emergency preparedness, energy use or use of conflict minerals…has not kept up with electronic developments.

Proposed federal and state laws threaten to erode existing safeguards.

This newsletter offers introductory-level resources for concerned citizens who want to get informed.

Proposed federal Acts would eliminate local control over telecom infrastructure

In a statement, “Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment,” WT Docket 17-79, Trump-appointed FCC Chair Ajit Pai wrote, “As networks evolve, our rules should too. Historic preservation and environmental review regulations designed for large macro-cell towers just don’t make sense for small cells that can be the size of a pizza box. And cities shouldn’t impose unreasonable demands or moratoria on wireless siting requests. This simply penalizes their own constituents who want better mobile service. To address these issues, we are seeking ideas for updating state, local and Tribal infrastructure review to meet the realities of the modern marketplace.

“If we do our job–if we can make the deployment of wireless infrastructure easier, consistent with the public interest–then we can help close the digital divide in our country.”

Former counsel to Verizon, Mr. Pai’s idea of “doing our job” does not include safeguarding the public’s life, health or property. It fails to recognize that wireless electronics and the infrastructure they require increase risks of hacking, privacy loss, fire, harm to children’s brain development, cancer, addiction, electronic interference with medical implants, etc. Further, Pai believes that every municipality should have 5G telecom facilities (antennas on public right-of-ways such as utility poles) whether or not they want them. This is loss of democratic process coupled with lack of professional engineering due diligence. For whose benefit?

Proposed federal and state legislation will erode local authority and increase exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR)

The U.S. Congress now has two proposed bills to expand broadband, deploy millions of antennas on public right-of-ways (PROWS, aka utility poles) and remove local authority over telecom facilities: The Mobile Now Act, S.19 and the Digit Act.

For citizens who want local authority over antenna placement, each of these bills makes the 1996 Telecom Act’s Section 704 look protective. Read journalist Blake Levitt’s assessment, “Meet Another New FCC Docket – WT -17-29: Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment.”

Proposed and enacted state bills support the federal bills that would eliminate local authority over cellular antenna placements on PROWs. Millions of “small cells” could be deployed, including in neighborhoods and parks, on PROWS. An antenna could be placed ten feet from a bedroom window. States with bills pending or passed that would pre-empt local zoning authority over telecom facility placement include: AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, MN, MO, NB, NC, NE, OH, PA, RI, TX, VA and WA.

For a former local planner’s opposition to California SB 649 (including pictures that show what happens when wireless facilities are not well regulated), see http://tinyurl.com/kl4xw8a.

For reports about responses to California’s SB649, see Nina Beety’s update.

In Ohio, 80 municipalities are suing their state to protect their authority over telecom facilities.

Check out the League of Minnesota Cities’ “Small Cell Wireless Talking Points for HF739/SF561.”

Already, “small cells” are being installed in Sacramento and 10 other cities.

In response to a Long Island neighborhood’s outrage over waking up to “cell phone repeaters” on their PROWs, a legislator called for studying the antennas’ health effects. Given federal laws that prohibit municipalities from considering health effects of antennas’ radiofrequency radiation emissions, what benefit would such a study provide?

Preventing new antennas from going up may be easier than getting them taken down. (And preventing them from going up is Not Easy.)

For more updates about state happenings, check out
California: www.stopsmartmeters.org
Florida: www.stopsmartmetersfl.org
British Columbia, Canada: www.stopsmartmetersbc.com
N. Carolina: http://www.wral.com/small-cell-tower-compromise-moves-ahead/16709339/

While Massachusetts utilities press for “grid modernization,” citizen Patricia Burke asks for expedited passage of Rep. Kulik’s House Bill 3400, which would give ratepayers and elected officials the right to intervene in Dept. of Public Utilities dockets. At a listening session, Burke explained to legislators that in the 1990s, use of “energy efficient” devices overloaded the grid, caused neutrals to overheat, motors and transformers to burn out and electronic equipment to fail. Instead of addressing power quality issues, regulators allow electric utilities to use ground rods on telephone poles. Grid “modernization” has not addressed these flaws. Adding digital, transmitting utility meters (that pulse radio-frequency fields) to a grid designed for 60Hz increases power quality problems. So does adding solar systems with unfiltered inverters.

Burke encouraged legislators and utility officials to aim to minimize using electronics that require high frequencies on this grid, to filter where needed, to enlarge the neutrals and/or go to a 5-wire system. She also noted that bonding a home’s electricity system to copper water pipes can create unsafe levels of contact current (radiation) in plumbing pipes.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, national security threat analyst Cynthia Ayers spoke before the House Committee on Energy Policy. Her testimony concentrated “on the possibility of a catastrophic cyber attack to the systems we depend on for the delivery of electricity–the lifeblood of our modern civilization.” Because of “threats to personal safety as well as the safety of the grid,” the lack of surge protection associated with the new meters, and hacking, Ayers (a consultant within the Mission Control and Cyber Division of the Center for Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College) recommended retaining “analog systems to the extent possible.”

As utilities modernize, insist that regulators and utility officials answer:

  1. Did a registered, licensed professional electrical engineer (PE) certify that installation of the infrastructure in question (i.e. digital wireless meters), the safeguards the public’s life, health and property?
  2. Given that the property owner owns the electric meter socket, the utility owns the meter, and the utility controls the meter-socket assembly, who is liable in the event of an explosion or fire at the meter?
  3. Will this digital, transmitting utility meter have a properly sized fuse?
  4. Who calculated the proper size for this meter’s fuse?
  5. Who determined that this meter is safe from cyber attack?
  6. Who determined that this meter’s readings are accurate?

E-technologies continue to provide a full range of challenges:

New studies and scientific papers continue to show that EMR exposure from common wireless technologies harms health and wildlife  

Cindy Sage and Ernesto Burgio have published a review of new epigenetic studies that account for some neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral changes in children due to exposure to wireless technologies: “Electromagnetic Fields, Pulsed Radiofrequency Radiation, and Epigenetics: How Wireless Technologies May Affect Childhood Development,” Child Dev., doi:10.1111/cdev.12824.

Cell phone use during pregnancy results in the child’s behavioral problems. Also, prenatal exposure to WiFi affects offsprings’ neurological development and behavior in adulthood.

New study findings confirm risks of nonionizing radiation and present oxidative cell stress as a verified mechanism of damage.

In The Townsend Letter‘s April, 2017 issue, Jim West reports that “the hazards of ultrasound to the human fetus have been confirmed in China since the late 1980s.” An electronic measuring echo used to determine a fetus’ health, ultrasound exposes the fetus to a form of radiation during early gestation, a period of rapid cellular division.

Belgian etymologist Dr. Marie-Claire Cammaerts proposes a way to test the hypothesis that electromagnetism is one cause of bee colony collapse disorder in the Journal of Behavior, 3.28.17.

Children and Schools

Read Lee Sang’s piece in the Nation, “How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Public Schools.”

For an overview about privatization of schools, read Dr. Roxana Marachi’s blogpost.

Chicago school administrators asked Google to comply with the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, which permits federally funded educational institutions to share students’ personal information with vendors who use the information only for school purposes. Instead, Google wanted the Chicago Schools to use an app called Classroom before determining whether it complied with the district’s student-protection policies.

A confidential lease between Milestone Communications and Prince George County (Maryland) Public Schools would allow cell tower development at 73 of the county’s 208 schools. Theodora Scarato uncovered the controversial lease through Freedom of Information Act requests; now, the telecom corporation may back down.

Toy-maker Mattel’s Aristotle, a “digital nanny” designed to “soothe” a crying baby, help toddlers learn to speak and provide constant companionship during the growing years also collects and stores data about the child’s interests and sleep patterns. The data can be shared with partner corporations for marketing, How does replacing a human caregiver with a robot affect a child? How do this digital nanny’s EMR emissions impact developing children?

An 11-year-old Texan showed security experts how he could hack into their Bluetooth devices and “weaponized” a “smart” toy.

The World Health Organization reported on 11 April 2017 that the latest data show a global increase of 13% in childhood cancer incidence over two decades.

My paper, “Inviting Discussion About Safer Tech Use in Schools,” can also apply to safer tech use in homes and businesses. “Shifts” in awareness often happen in one-to-one conversation. Could this piece serve as a focal point for discussion?

Internet Privacy Protections are on the Chopping Block

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed S.J.Res.34, which would overturn an FCC rule that requires Internet providers to get customers permission before selling your data, such as browsing history.

Worker safety

In 2008, the head of  Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) called working on a cell tower “the most dangerous job in America.” Douglas Scott Delaney, a “tower dog” (he works on cell towers), has published Tower Dog: Life Inside the Deadliest Job in America. About 15,000 “tower dogs” maintain the U.S.’s current 215,000 cellular towers. They make an average of $18 per hour.

Meanwhile, Verizon now says workers can be fired if they fix copper phone lines, rather than replace broken copper with wireless.

Driverless cars and vehicle-to-vehicle communications challenge everyone on the road.

The Nat’l Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing to mandate radar (V2V technology) in all new cars and light trucks. The aim of V2V is to improve driving safety and pave the way for self-driving cars.

The SEC has halted some enforcement of its conflict minerals rule. Mining for minerals like coltan (necessary for all wireless devices that need to hold charge) has contributed to mass rapes and more loss of life more than any other situation since WWII. Acting SEC Chair Mike Piowowar says that for now, companies will not be required to conduct a due diligence review or an audit to determine minerals’ origins.

For more info on conflict mineral, read Peter Eichstaedt’s Consuming the Congo: War and Conflict Minerals in the World’s Deadliest Place.

Questions to keep at the forefront

The more complex a system gets, the harder it is to maintain safety. To safeguard the public’s life, health and property regarding the wireless electronics and infrastructure, we need to ask questions:

* Who determines safety? How did they determine it?
* Is the device in question proven safe from fire hazards, hacking and privacy breeches? Has the infrastructure it requires been proven safe?
* In the event of a power outage, will the new infrastructure (i.e. wireless phones) provide emergency services as reliably as copper legacy landlines?
* How will federal and local officials respond when (not if) our electric grid is hacked?
* Could turning on a light (or other device) lead to surveillance? Could using a humble router make your home insecure?
* Is the device and its infrastructure safe for pregnant women, infants, children, people with implants, wildlife and our ecosystem? For what duration? Will it impact children’s brain development?
* How/can users prevent themselves from becoming addicted to the device?
* Is the technology proven safe in combination with other devices?
* Do those who work near equipment receive proper warning about and protection from dangers, including exposure to electromagnetic radiation?
* Do we have the energy and natural resources required to support the manufacturing, shipping, operating and infrastructure for every person owning and frequently replacing personal wireless devices? Who determines we’ve got these resources?
* If someone claims that a device and the infrastructure it requires are safe, ask, Where’s your proof?
* Who is liable in the event that a device (i.e. a smartphone, smart meter, smart appliance, school or work-issued iPad or Chromebook, Distributed Antenna System, small cell on a public right-of-way, etc.) causes fire, a breech of security or privacy, health damage or fatality to a worker, children’s health damage, interference with a medical implant, violation of environmental protections like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

Most states have statutes that require professional engineering (PE) due diligence to safeguard the public before new technology is installed and made available to the public. For example, we mandate PE due diligence before anyone drives a car over a bridge or activates a water system. Why/would electrical infrastructure be different?

Good news:

California’s Department of Public Health has released a fact sheet on cell phone radiation safety.

In April, CBS News’ 60 Minutes aired a story about the mechanism that makes smartphones so addictive: rather than delay response to a Snapchat feature by 15 seconds, they’re programmed to give users immediate feedback. Teens may be the most susceptible users. Tristan Harris, a former Google product manager, is urging corporations “to change the attention economy into a ‘time-well-spent economy.’” Getting all of this into the public’s awareness is very good news.

Jeromy Johnson has described how to set up a safer Internet connection.

A church in South Africa realized that accepting money to erect a cell tower on their property would “betray the very community we are called to love and serve.”

After the City of Berkeley passed a landmark cell phone right-to-know ordinance on March 21, 2016, the CTIA/Wireless Association sued to block it. On April 21, 2017, a three judge panel voted to deny the CTIA’s request.

Please help keep this newsletter going!

Thanks to everyone who aims to use electronics as safely as possible, reduces their energy use and EMR emissions.

To healthier ecosystems and safer communities,
Katie Singer
www.electronicsilentspring.com

AT&T ready to hang up on traditional landline phone service in Illinois

AT&T ready to hang up on traditional landline phone service in Illinois

AT&T ready to hang up on traditional landline phone service in Illinois

Illinois customers stubbornly hanging on to your old landline telephone service, AT&T has a new plan for you: Switch to a modern alternative or face disconnection.

With traditional landline service dwindling to less than 10 percent of Illinois households in its territory, AT&T is pushing legislation in Springfield that, pending Federal Communications Commission approval, would allow it to unplug the aging voice-only network and focus on the wireless and internet-based phone offerings that have supplanted it.

“We’re investing in a technology that consumers have said they don’t want anymore and wasting precious hundreds of millions of dollars that could be going to the new technologies that would do a better job of serving customers,” said Paul La Schiazza, AT&T Illinois president.

AT&T has 1.2 million traditional landline customers in the state — 474,000 residential and 725,000 business — and is losing about 5,000 each week, La Schiazza said.

At the current pace, the service would wind down by attrition within five years, but AT&T is seeking a more definitive and predictable end.

Critics say the bill would leave behind hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents, particularly seniors, who disproportionately rely on traditional landline telephone service for everything from connecting with family to monitoring life-threatening medical conditions.

“Many seniors have told us that they trust landline service more than any other option,” said Jim Chilsen, a spokesman for the Citizens Utility Board, an Illinois nonprofit watchdog group opposed to AT&T’s proposed legislation. “A landline doesn’t go out in an internet or power outage, it doesn’t need to be charged, it doesn’t need a battery backup, and it doesn’t leave 911 dispatchers guessing.”

If it passes, the Illinois telecommunications modernization bill would take effect July 1, giving AT&T the right to cancel the old landline service with 60 days’ notice. Existing customers would have the opportunity to appeal the decision to state regulators.

While AT&T ultimately needs approval from the FCC to abandon a long-standing obligation to maintain its “plain old telephone service,” it has passed similar legislation in 19 of the 21 states where it is the legacy telephone carrier, with California the only other holdout.

AT&T is hoping to have all of the states on board before moving forward at the FCC, La Schiazza said.

A previous measure didn’t get to a vote in Illinois two years ago, but the current version made it through a state Senate committee in March, and La Schiazza is optimistic that with ongoing changes in consumer phone use, sentiment has shifted toward passage.

The rise of cellular phones certainly has reached a tipping point. The last six months of 2016 was the first time a majority of American homes had only wireless telephones, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. More than 70 percent of adults between 25 and 34 years old live in wireless-only homes, the survey showed.

Many seniors, meanwhile, are still clinging to their landlines. A 2014 survey conducted for AARP by Hart Research Associates and North Star Opinion Research found that more than half of Illinois voters 65 years and older use landlines most of the time.

Carol Kolen, 77, of Chicago, doesn’t have cable or a computer, uses a flip cellphone, and says she depends on her landline to monitor her pacemaker and defibrillator after open-heart surgery six years ago. A “semiretired” clinical psychologist, Kolen lives alone in a house in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

Kolen said her cell service is spotty in her home, making it a less reliable option for transmitting the heart monitor data to her cardiologist.

“If my pacemaker doesn’t work, I die,” Kolen said. “So that’s kind of important.”

While there are internet-based options, Kolen has no interest in cable or broadband service, a requirement for the bundled AT&T package that includes phone service.

“I want my landline,” Kolen said.

One area of particular concern to seniors is 911 calling. While more than 70 percent of 911 calls come from wireless phones, according to the FCC, they present challenges for emergency personnel to pinpoint location.

Some medical monitoring devices and home alarm systems only work on traditional landlines. AT&T said it will certify that “reliable replacement options” are available before retiring the old network.

Julie Vahling, associate state director of AARP Illinois, said seniors shouldn’t be forced to switch until alternative phone services prove as reliable as traditional landlines.

“I think AT&T’s goal is to put everybody on a wireless service,” Vahling said. “I don’t care if it is 140 years old, (traditional landline service) is the most reliable form of communication that we have right now.”

Getting out of the traditional landline phone business has been a priority for Dallas-based AT&T, which is designated as the carrier of last resort by the FCC in 21 states, obligating the company to provide service to all customers in its franchised territory at reasonable rates.

AT&T last year had total revenue of nearly $164 billion, with a net income of $13 billion. Traditional landline phone service is a small slice of the company’s expanding revenue pie, with recent acquisitions likely to accelerate its declining significance.

Revenue for legacy voice and data services fell 11 percent to $16 billion last year and represents one-tenth of total revenue for AT&T, which for much of its history was the dominant phone company in the U.S. AT&T is now a diversified communications giant with broadband, wireless and entertainment offerings.

AT&T acquired pay-TV provider DirecTV in 2015, and its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner is pending regulatory approval.

La Schiazza said AT&T invests $1 billion annually in its Illinois technology but has to divert 20 to 30 percent of that to maintaining its voice-only network.

“In some cases, we have to go to eBay to buy the parts,” La Schiazza said. “We just can’t get the parts in some cases to keep these switches running.”

AT&T touts an array of affordable alternatives for traditional landline customers, such as Comcast‘s internet-based landline and its own “wireless home phone service,” both of which are priced at $20 per month. AT&T does not offer stand-alone internet-based landline service. Traditional AT&T landline service without extra features averages about $31 a month in Illinois.

“We’re going to aggressively market to those customers and inform them of the new modern technology alternatives … we want to retain each and every customer,” La Schiazza said.

They may have a hard time selling that to Katherine Panny, a retired secretary in her early 80s who lives in the Ashburn neighborhood on Chicago’s Far Southwest Side. Panny has no internet, no computer and no cable service. She also has no intention of giving up her landline telephone service.

“I still have my old rotary wall phone, and I’m not about to get anything new,” Panny said. “This phone has been the most dependable phone in the world.”

Panny believes AT&T has an obligation to keep the service going — at least as long as she and fellow holdouts remain customers in good standing.

“We have been their main base customers for many years,” Panny said. “Not everybody can afford everything they want to push.”

rchannick@chicagotribune.com

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-att-landline-phone-service-0507-biz-20170503-story.html