The next NIMBY battle: 5G small cells in neighborhoods
A wireless tower housing 5G small cell technology in the front yard of a home in Brookhaven, Georgia. Photo: Screen shot from Axios video
The not-in-my-backyard battles may soon have a new target: 5G small cells.
Where it stands: When it comes to 5G small cell acceptance, a PwC survey of 800 consumers suggests most people are willing to deal with unsightly 5G antennas, especially if they are in someone else's backyard.
By the numbers: 86% said they will accept small cells that "blend into their surroundings."
- 73% will accept small cells that don't blend in as long as they are not directly in front of their homes.
- 60% don't care about aesthetics if they can have faster internet service.
"It's one thing to see the installation of the 5G boxes on poles on a main corridor that doesn't offend people. But if you're in a heavily residential area and you're not expecting to see that type of thing, it's almost like having a power transformer in your front yard. People are not going to like those."— Christian Sigman, city manager of Brookhaven, Georgia
Still, consumers are excited about 5G — and willing to pay more for it — even though they don’t really know what it is, according to a recent Morning Consult poll of 5,600 adults in the U.S. and EU commissioned by IBM.
- 49% of consumers are very or somewhat excited about 5G, but only 36% said they were even somewhat familiar with the technology.
- 49% of U.S. consumers said they would be willing to pay more for 5G, but only 4% said they would pay “significantly” more.
- 38% said they understand the differences between 5G and 4G, but only 7% said they understand the differences “very well.”
Between the lines: There has been a lot of hype about the promise of 5G, but consumers are still struggling with the specifics ahead of widespread rollout — and NIMBY backlash may slow down small cell construction in neighborhoods.
Go deeper: 5G will see a wide rollout in 2020