Wi-Fi in the Sky

“Just a little rain falling all around

The grass lifts its head to the heavenly sound

Just a little rain, just a little rain

What have they done to the rain?”

- Malvina Reynolds

On September 23, 1998, 66 satellites, launched into low orbit by the Iridium Corporation, commenced broadcasting to the first ever satellite telephones. Those phones would work equally as well in mid-ocean, and in Antarctica, as in the middle of Los Angeles—a remarkable achievement.

But telephone interviews revealed that on that day exactly, electrically sensitive people all over the world experienced stabbing pains in their chest, knife-like sensations in their head, nosebleeds, asthma attacks, and other signs of severe electrical illness. Many did not think they were going to make it. Statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control reveal that the national death rate rose 4 to 5 percent during the following two weeks. Thousands of homing pigeons lost their way during those two weeks, all over the United States.

Several companies are now competing to provide not just cell phone service, but Wi-Fi, to every square inch of the earth from satellites in space, or from balloons, or from drones. Their target dates are three to four years from now. They are planning not 66 satellites, but thousands of satellites. There isn’t much time to prevent a global ecological catastrophe.

The companies include:

SpaceX:    4,000 satellites, 750 miles high

OneWeb:    2,400 satellites (648 satellites initially), 500-590 miles high

Facebook:    Satellites, drones, and lasers

Google:    200,000(?) high altitude balloons (62,500 feet) (“Project Loon”)

Outernet:     Low-orbit microsatellites

Honeywell, which already has signed a memorandum of understanding to become OneWeb’s first large customer—it plans to provide high-speed WiFi on business, commercial, and military aircraft throughout the world—has posted this on its website:

“OneWeb is building a constellation of more than 600 satellites, which will provide approximately 10 terabits per second of high-speed Internet access to billions of people around the world, even in the most remote areas. Once launched, OneWeb’s constellation will be the largest telecommunications constellation in orbit, enabling more capacity with higher speed and lower latency than any satellite technology to date.”


Press image from OneWeb’s website

In addition to microwaving the Earth, these plans have the potential to destroy the Earth’s ozone layer.

The New York Times (May 14, 1991, p. 4) quoted Aleksandr Dunayev of the Russian Space Agency saying “About 300 launches of the space shuttle each year would be a catastrophe         and the ozone layer would be completely destroyed.”

At that time the world averaged only 12 rocket launches per year. These were thought to cause less than 0.6% depletion of the ozone layer. Research into the effects of rocket exhaust on   the ozone layer has virtually ceased, but the number of launches is poised to increase astronomically.

If 12 rocket launches per year reduced the ozone by even 0.3%, then Dunayev was correct, and 300 launches in a year would destroy the ozone layer totally. To maintain a fleet of      (ultimately) 4,000 or 2,400 satellites, each with an expected lifespan of five years, would involve enough yearly rocket launches to be an environmental catastrophe.

12 New Cell Towers for AT&T

AT&T applied, or will apply, for cell towers at the following locations:

  1. Parking lot at Baillios (across the street from Vitamin Cottage)
  2. on the roof of Quail Run Clubhouse, 3101 Old Pecos Trail
  3. at Saint John’s College, near the Lower Dorm
  4. on the roof of Hotel Santa Fe
  5. at Burger King at the corner of St. Francis and Alameda, in the Dumpster area next to the gas station
  6. a co-location on a Qwest tower on City-owned land (I am unaware of the location)
  7. additional antennas on the Marcy Street tower
  8. Next to Capital High School, at 4851 Paseo Del Sol — already approved
  9. St. John’s Methodist Church (approved last year but under litigation)
  10. 2706 Senda Jarosa
  11. atop the PERA Building
  12. at the Agua Fria Fire Station
  13. Route 599 and North Saint Francis Drive
  14. Tano Road and US 84/285

Please contact Arthur at (505) 471-0129 if you live in the neighborhood of one of these locations and would like to get involved in fighting these proposals.


Saint John’s Methodist Church

This AT&T tower, concealed in a false chimney, is in operation. It was turned on on September 22, 2012.  What used to be a small chimney now looks like this:

The new AT&T tower on St. John's Methodist Church, Santa Fe

The new AT&T tower on St. John’s Methodist Church, Santa Fe


Hotel Santa Fe

To passersby, it looks like the hotel has built a fourth story. But it is really a façade for antennas: AT&T has installed a cell tower on the roof of the penthouse, whose walls have been extended upwards another nine feet to hide it. The hotel’s spa and fitness center are in the adjoining building on the second and third floor, just twenty feet away from where twelve antennas have been installed.

The hotel is owned by the Picuris Pueblo.

This project is still under appeal in New Mexico District Court, but construction was completed in June 2013 and the tower is fully operational.


Hotel Santa Fe

Hotel Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM


Marcy Street Tower

New antennas will not be added to this downtown tower by AT&T.  AT&T never picked up its permits for these antennas, and the permits have expired.



A new 75-foot “monopole,” at this site, described by some as resembling a giant tampon, went into operation in early 2013.  It is across the street from Vitamin Cottage.


Baillios, Santa Fe, NM


Capital High School

A new 100-foot-tall fake pine tree, adjacent to both Capital High School’s football field and its day care center, is also up and running.


Capital High School

Capital High School, Santa Fe, NM


Burger King

This project will require a public hearing because AT&T is applying for exemptions from height and setback requirements, and also because it is a new tower in a historic district. The hearing is scheduled for November 12, 2013.  The plans shows a 64-foot tower similar to the one recently built at Baillios.


Quail Run Clubhouse

This was originally planned as a 28-foot tower, but the Quail Run management decided that would be an eyesore, and so invited AT&T to put hidden antennas on the Commons Building instead. Unfortunately, the Commons Building doesn’t just house Quail Run’s administration. It also has a library, gym, spa, restaurant, and other facilities on the first floor. And on the second floor, directly beneath the planned antennas, are condos where residents live. This tower has been defeated. Due to opposition from Quail Run residents, the Quail Run board has voted not to sign a contract with AT&T.


St. John’s College

AT&T is preparing to apply for a 50-foot cell tower, disguised as a pine tree, to be located near the lower dorms at St. John’s College.  The Early Neighborhood Notification meeting was held September 4, 2013.