5G could be fast enough to replace home Wi-Fi a few years from now. But carriers will need to add new antennas much more densely than the current system – building on existing utility poles and street lights.
Local governments want to negotiate carriers’ use of that infrastructure. But Democratic Senator Ben Hueso says in some cases, cities and counties want too much money – potentially thousands of dollars for each “small cell” facility.
"While they’re looking out for their cities, and their revenue, this is going to dramatically impact the cost of providing this service to the people of our state," Hueso says.
Hueso’s bill would cap how much carriers have to pay, and limit local governments’ input. That’s a problem to Chris Lee with the California State Association of Counties/
"We think it’s important that we have some level of review to make sure that these facilities fit in," Lee says, "both in terms of aesthetics and just the practical implications of putting wireless antennas on stoplights and streetlights.""
The bill passed the Senate late last month 32 to 1, and heads to an Assembly committee next week.
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