A telecom pole rises out of the middle of a sidewalk on Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami. Photographer: Nathan Crooks/Bloomberg
By Nathan Crooks
Companies rush to build poles despite few 5G phones on market.
‘There was no method to the madness,’ one local official says.
Wireless carriers are facing a backlash for their rush to install 5G towers in South Florida ahead of the Super Bowl. Locals say the new towers, many still unfinished, spring unpredictably from torn-up sidewalks, creating obstacles for bicycles and wheelchairs. They jut out in front of expensive condos and, in at least one case, beside street art.
The blight extends to the pavement, as well as above it: In their haste, installers have been accused of leaving downtown Miami streets marked with red, orange and white spray-painted patterns that workers use to trace underground utility lines.
“It’s very ugly,” said Amal Kabbani, 50, a local resident and the president of the Downtown Neighbors Alliance, whose full-time job is in marketing. “There is no regard for where they are being placed.”
An unfinished telecom pole on Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami with exposed wiring. Photographer: Nathan Crooks/Bloomberg