California must try again on 5G upgrade

BY KISH RAJAN in the Sac Bee.

California missed an opportunity to bring our mobile communications networks into the modern age with Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of Senate Bill 649, which could have paved the way for 5G to spread across the state.

Brown blocked the bill because he believed it took too much power away from local municipalities that want control over where the small 5G cell towers go, but he left the door open to revisiting the issue.

If a similar bill comes before the Legislature, it will be important for everyone involved to learn from the veto and ensure local officials are motivated to support the policy. This turned into a dispute between technology advocates and local governments. It’s a shame, because it is in everyone’s interest for California to upgrade to 5G.

States that are implementing 5G will have a technical advantage over California. 5G networks are essential infrastructure for self-driving vehicles and delivery trucks. Too much local resistance will result is Federal action to smooth the implementation of 5G networks in the US. Other nations are implementing this technology, which could give them a competitive advantage.

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