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23 March 2016

World’s First Wi-Fi Confab Sparks Protests

World’s First Wi-Fi Confab Sparks Protests
by Jack O'Dwyer, odwyerpr.com, 
21 March 2016

Thousands are expected at "Wi-Fi Now 2016" described as the “World’s premier Wi-Fi conference” April 19-21 in the D. C. area. Wi-Fi health advocates say they will protest. New York’s Con Ed is spending $1.5 billion on Wi-Fi utility meters. Wi-Fi is also coming to NY buses.

Wi-Fi Now is at the Sheraton Tysons Hotel in Tysons Corner, Va. Full registration is $1,499.
Opening today in Las Vegas and running to Friday is the International Wireless Communications Expo which has been conducted since 1977. More than 7,000 attendees will view 370+ exhibits at the Las Vegas Convention Center. More than 200 speakers are on the program.

IWC says its expo is “the leading event for communications technology professionals, bringing everything you need all together in one place.” Displays of products and workshops on all relevant subjects will be featured.

Con Ed’s March 8 announcement that it will install wireless meters, also known as “smart meters,” throughout New York City and Westchester puts it in conflict with critics who claim such devices are harmful to health.

Some See Wi-Fi Health Hazard

The Santa Cruz, Calif., Board of Health has declared the meters to be “an immediate threat to public peace, health and safety” and issued a “Smart Meter Moratorium.”

Critics say the meters are dangerous to all and especially to those with acute sensitivity to wi-fi radiation. Consumers are radiated in their homes and from nearby homes and are forced to supply data to utilities, they say.

Protests by scientists, health workers and educators against forms of wireless transmission have sprouted in the U.K., France, South Korea, Canada, Israel and Russia, among other countries. One compilation tracked 29 such protests.

Schools and libraries have also been hit with pleas to remove wireless devices from their facilities. Kill Zones USA is one of the most comprehensive websites on the subject of the dangers of radiation from numerous sources including the 205,000 cellphone towers.

Con Ed Replacing 4.7 Million Meters

Con Ed, announcing an eight-year “advanced metering initiative” to replace 4.7 million meters, says they will provide “real-time, two-way communication between customers and the utility, allowing for precise voltage control, demand response and a more streamlined incorporation of the myriad renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies envisioned for New York’s power grid.”

Thomas Magee, general manager, Smart Grid Implementation Group, said “They facilitate the ease with which you can integrate these resources into the grid.”

Customers would be able to track when energy is most expensive and adjust their use, conceivably doing so remotely by using smart phones, Con Ed said. If voltage can be lowered to certain areas, the utility can send it to areas that need it more, it was further explained.

Hudson Valley Residents Beefed

Hudson Valley residents voiced their complaints about the meters at a nearly five-hour hearing Feb. 5, 2015 in Kingston conducted by the Public Service Commission. An hour PSC presentation was followed by nearly four hours of comments.

Residents said the meters produce electromagnetic pollution and the microwaves they emit when transmitting data are carcinogenetic.

“Those so-called smart meters are not smart and they’re very dangerous, so please don’t dismiss the anti-smart meter movement,” said Joel Tyner, (D-Clinton), Dutchess County legislator.

There were also hearings on the topic in New York City and Buffalo that did not last that long, reported the Mid-Hudson News Network.

New York Buses to Get Wi-Fi

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced March 8 that the 2,042 buses of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, to be introduced over the next five years, will have free Wi-Fi and USB charging ports. This will replace nearly 40% of the fleet and cost $1.3 billion. The first buses are due in April.

“Today’s world demands connectivity and we’re meeting that challenge with state-of-the-art buses and a major overhaul of the MTA’s fleet,” said Cuomo.

“Wireless connectivity is prevalent in the lives of our customers,” he said. “More and more people are using Wi-Fi enabled devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and e-book readers on a daily basis and the MTA can accommodate this trend by introducing high-speed connectivity and charging ports on buses.”

The 2,042 buses will be equipped with “Wi-Fi hotspots,” he said, with 75 making their debut later this year in Queens. About 300 more will join the fleet in New York, the Bronx and Brooklyn in the next two years. The project will be completed by 2020.

NYC Getting 7,500 “Hot Spot” Outdoor Terminals

New York City and the boroughs are also getting in the next few years 7,500 wireless phone and Wi-Fi terminals that will replace the current curbside facilities.

The program, in which Sidewalk Labs is one of many partners, has been called “Wi-Fry” because of alleged dangers from radiation that is emitted up to 200 feet from the terminals; “Wi-Spy” because data will be collected from anyone who uses the terminals, and “Wi-Lie” because the major powers behind the $200 million program are hidden from public view—Google and Titan Outdoor Advertising.

Critics say viewing the 4.5-foot digital ads on both sides of the terminals will be the principal experience most New Yorkers will have of them since most people already have Wi-Fi and cellphone access.

Qualcomm, Oracle, Samsung at Wi-Fi Now

Main sponsors of Wi-Fi Now 2016 are WiFiForward, Oracle and Samsung. More than 40 other sponsors are also listed.

The more than 30 Q&A panel sponsors include Qualcomm, one of the funders of Sidewalk Labs; Oracle, Samsung, Wifi Forward, Edgewater Wireless, and ABI Research.

Speakers include John D’Annunzio, VP, Samsung Wireless Enterprises; Rob Carbone, VP, Time Warner; Della Conley, director of coverage solutions, T-Mobile; Trond Wuellner, group product manager, Google; David Morken, CEO, Republic Wireless USA; Ajay Patel, PM, India Rail Wi-Fi, Google Access, and Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO, Starry.


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