By Phil Matier

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX 5) – Up to 50,000 cell phone towers coming to cities across California.

But will you get a say on where they pop up?

California cities are now fighting back at a proposed law that is moving quickly through the legislature.

They say it would allow phone companies to put up new antennas in your neighborhood, like it or not.

State Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) says, “5G wireless has the potential to be a game changer.”

But to pave the way for that game change, telecom companies need to put up between 30,000 and 50,000 of cell antennas — including in your town — over the next five years with only limited local say.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said, “Neighborhoods would be seeing something the size of refrigerators going up on street poles and could say nothing to stop it.”

Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan said, “Could be on a library, could be on a school.”

“On traffic signals, light polls,” Liccardo said. “This would give the companies the right to install on any public infrastructure and we would have zero ability to say ‘no.'”

On the other hand, the new network could also mean much faster Internet service to keep California on the innovation forefront.

The use of smart devices and mobile Internet has increased 2,300 percent statewide since 2010.

Steve Carlson with CTIA-Wireless Association said, “California was the epicenter of the last Internet revolution and can and should be the epicenter of the next one.”

Huesso said, “Business investment and job creation will follow.”

As for local say?

Huesso said, it “preserves local government right for reasonable concerns.”

There is also the issue of money.

The new rules would cap how much local jurisdictions could charge telecom companies at $250 per antenna, a far cry from the $1,250 that cities like San Jose now get.

Liccardo said, “You are talking about an industry that will net $500 billion after full build out.”

Telecom contributed $2.4 million to California’s Democratic and Republican parties in the 2016 election.

Comments (60)
  1. Because it’s California, I would bet anything that there’s an ulterior motive. Maybe it has to deal with total surveillance. Or the pervasive waves cause physical damage. Don’t trust California state government, it is one of the most evil around.

  2. Stop the cellular companies in California NOW! At the rate their population is leaving, it will just bleed money from the providers that could be better used in states where people WANT to live!

  3. If the folks in some part of California weren’t such Luddites maybe a much smaller number of cell towers would suffice. Stayed a week in Aptos on the cliffs overlooking the beach. No cell service at all until you went about 200 or more yards inland. It’s just insane.

    1. Hate to tell you this but Luddites are against technology and not for it. It just shows you what a 2.4 Million dollar bribe can get you. So they can make billions from the transaction. Besides, already crippling our national defense by using a bandwidth that should be better used for extraterrestrial communications, has this ‘instant access’ to the Internet, with all of the chatting and game playing really benefited the citizenry of California? From the looks of it, since the advent of cellular telephone technologies the social structure of California, in general, looks worse than it did before you could broadcast selfies of yourself doing stupid things for the entire world to see. And from an RF Engineering standpoint of well over 35 years I wouldn’t want one close to my home. The statement being that regardless of what you are being ‘sold’ there is an element of risk to using these things. But hey, what do I know? I’ve only been a senior RF Engineer for a major communications user of these frequencies for over 35 years. I all of that time I learned absolutely nothing regarding dangers of RF at those frequencies. Nothing at all. So go trust the guy that’s trying to sell you the device and remember that he’s your best friend as long as you are a paying customer.

  4. The authors demonstrates a lack of knowledge of 5G “towers.” The Antenna is typically mounted on a pre-existing telephone pole which connects, in turn, to the fiber optics cable already on the pole. The typical antenna is about the size of a 4 slice toaster (hardly a refrigerator!) The city “antenna” fees proposed in the article are absurd and will cause such cities to miss out on the 1 gigabyte/ second potential speed which will be available in late 2017.
    Check out the search terms [Indianapolis, AT&T, 5G]. Yes, folks, this does mean that people will get “fiber optics to the home” internet performance via a home located 5G router/hotspot without any fiber optics, cable, or phone line actually going to the home.

    1. All of the 5G speed claims are just hype and NOT guaranteed. The maximum speed is only achievable when NO ONE ELSE is on the channel. During periods of peak use, 5G will suffer the same stoppages and dropouts as DSL.

  5. Bob Smithers says:

    They aren’t towers, they’re called microcells and picocells. About the size of a large book. Stop setting your hair on fire, but hey it’s Kalifornica, insanity prevails thoroughly in this silly state

  6. And California needs 50,000 new cell towers because why??? They are nuts out there.

    1. Bob Smithers says:

      Smart phones and data consumption, plus Gigabyte speed. The 5G band is more sensitive to impediments, it’s very much a line of sight technology. It will be the future of wireless service delivery to the home, for your TV, internet and phone services, replacing the wired drop . Embrace it, and no, they are not health hazards, that’s TIN FOIL HAT TERRITORY

    2. Kevin Angus says:

      They need the sites because the existing network runs at 700Mhz~2200Mhz The new 5G towers run at 28000Mhz ~ 60000Mhz – They can’t send and receive as far so they need more cell towers, range is limited but the amount of data it considerably more.

      1. And the potential health hazard is considerably more. 60000 MHz…60 GHz…is in the same range of frequencies as radars and microwave ovens, which demonstrably CAN cause health problems if not effectively shielded.

  7. Vox Veritas says:

    California leftists are all Luddites. Proof? Just look at the whack job they continue to re-elect.

  8. The ultimate NIMBY issue, with all the misinformation and fear mongering directed at local gov’t being able to wring out a few more unneeded tax dollars from already sucked dry Californians. Citizens who continue to vote like lemmings for these far left socialist politicians.

  9. Bobby Orozco says:

    The 5g antennas are microcells. They are not the size of refrigerators. We will barely notice them. The only issue here is they should pay more than $250. They should meet in the middle somewhere. This will be a huge infrastructure upgrade that will keep us ahead in a major industry. Whoever thinks CA’s pop is shrinking is lying. It may not be growing at the pace it once was, but it’s just shy of 40 mil. We need to keep innovating as a state, keep us ahead in tech.

  10. Susan Vue says:

    Add cameras and you have the total surveillance state. Dissention will bring an armed drone directly to your position =/- 3cm

  11. Funny, given how they support mount something the size of a school bus on those windmills that are constantly killing birds.

    Think I found the “refrigerator” they are referring to:

  12. Al Zabel says:

    The cell phone providers, have California politicians, in their pockets.

  13. Gary O'Neal says:

    But that gigabit speed (not Gigabyte) will NOT be accessible on the upcoming iPhone. You’ll have to wait until next year’s model to take advantage of 5G. And, just to bolster what others here have already pointed out, these antennae are small: toaster sized not refrigerator sized.

  14. Craig Hobson says:

    Typical nimby’s. Want all the perks but will sacrifice nothing.

  15. Andy Arett says:

    the internet is fast enough. we don’t need to have access to UHD streaming video on cel phones!

  16. Phil Davison says:

    Put a windmill on them and Californuts will think they are cool. Talk about an ugly landscape.

  17. tngilmer says:

    Read the last sentence again. It explains everything.

  18. Dan Roth says:

    Kalifornia doesn’t need cell phones anyhow. They can pretend their phones work. They pretend everything else, just add this to the list.

  19. Jay Schonts says:

    It’s already over, as far as anyone stopping the propagation of cell phone towers. 5G IS the “game changer” and far more. We are talking about the 5th generation of data speeds and it is very fast. This speed increase is needed for all their plans. They refer to it as the global brain -their words. Phone companies are going to be the most powerful companies in the near future. They will be more powerful than banks, because they will become banks. Roaming fees will become a thing of the past. It will also be a free service at some point. Their intent is to connect everyone on the planet and every thing. The internet of things is well underway. Total connectivity. Once 5G is rolled out world wide you will barely recognize your current world, techwise. The things they want to impliment have already been created and more is in the works. All that is needed is the speed. You have no idea what is in store, because you are in a media bubble, blinded by most current plans. They speak in terms of this soon-to-be tech much like a religion. You’ll see…

  20. Ty Roark says:

    New Technology in CA is like putting new carpet in a burning building, can you even get on a East bound highway leading out or is the traffic still to busy?

  21. Joe Campbell says:

    California should reconsider this plan, should never happen.
    Haven’t you ruined California enough?

  22. Ed Martin says:

    I believe that these microwaves are having an effect on the Human body and the brain, when these wave are in the air and next to your ear.

  23. Dan Delgado says:

    Normally the people who bi## the loudest about those “ugly antennas” are the same ones who bit## the loudest if they don’t get the fastest cell phone service.

  24. Al Krause says:

    We now add these cell phone owners who oppose those towers to that list of hypocrites of anti-global warmers who fly on private jets, the billionaires who complain about income inequality, the anti-frackers who heat their homes with oil/natural gas (think Al Gore) and the anti-coal/nukers who use electricity. (Ted Kennedy vetoing windmills off Cape Cod.)

    Then again, this is California.