Orlando Sentinel: Mayor Buddy Dyer: Fight bills that would blight city
Lake Eola is a stunning symbol of the inviting community we have worked so hard to create here in Orlando. Imagine if this iconic park were cluttered with refrigerator-sized private equipment boxes — and the city had no say about it.
This could be the unwelcome future of public spaces, like Lake Eola, under bills currently being considered by the Florida Legislature. Beyond our public parks, these bills would allow placement of telecommunications equipment in our neighborhoods, along our roads — maybe right in front of your home.
Senate Bill 596 and House Bill 687 are being pushed by telecommunications companies. This legislation would grant these private corporations unrestricted access to our public rights of way, shortcut regulatory procedures and require taxpayers to subsidize for-profit businesses. This would deny cities, like Orlando, the ability to make major decisions about the character of our hometown, as telecommunications companies would be allowed to install large, unsightly equipment in places that are supposed to be reserved for use by the public, like park space, roadways and areas designated for public-safety equipment.
I am proud of our city’s commitment to innovation. We embrace new technology and have emerged as a globally recognized tech hub. We can continue to lead in the roll-out of technology, while keeping Orlando beautiful. The proposed legislation is unfair to our community and unnecessary. Our current rules for telecommunications equipment are fair and efficient, balancing infrastructure advances with the need to protect our parks, residential areas and historic properties.