Bad Reception:  The Wireless Revolution in San Francisco

The Telecommunications Act of 1996, passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, preempted local governments in the U.S. from considering the environmental effects of wireless facilities if they met F.C.C. exposure guidelines.  These guidelines were designed to be protective solely of thermal (i.e., heating) effects of radiofrequency radiation, not all potential biological and health effects.

Armed with this federal preemption, the wireless industry in the late 1990s-early 2000s began the rollout of so-called 3G (i.e., digital voice and data) cellular phone technology and the infrastructure to run it.  Across the country, local communities were faced with the sudden appearance of cellular phone towers and antennas mounted to buildings and other structures, oftentimes in close proximity to where people lived, worked and played.

Bad Reception: The Wireless Revolution in San Francisco, which premiered in January 2003 at local venues in San Francisco, California and was subsequently broadcast nationwide on Free Speech TV, focuses on San Francisco as a case study of one of many of these communities where concerns were raised about the potential health and environmental consequences of this revolution in wireless communications.  Bad Reception tells the compelling story of residents from backgrounds as diverse as the city itself as they take on one of the most powerful corporate entities in the world.

Produced and Directed by Doug Loranger.  Co-Produced by Gordon Winiemko.  USA.  Running time:  55:23 minutes

Share Source: Environmental Health Trust