Editorial: Gov. Brown right to block industry giveaway


Editorial: Gov. Brown right to block industry giveaway



October 16, 2017
Updated: October 16, 2017 4:59pm

Brent Palmer, a contractor with Verizon Wireless, asks one of his crew members for a tool while he installs a remote radio unit (RRU) on a telephone pole in San Francisco, California, on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. The RRU is a part of the cellular site that transmits the signal to the antenna. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie, Special To The Chronicle



Photo: Gabrielle Lurie, Special To The Chronicle

Brent Palmer, a contractor with Verizon Wireless, asks one of his crew members for a tool while he installs a remote radio unit (RRU) on a telephone pole in San Francisco, California, on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. The RRU is a part of the cellular site that transmits the signal to the antenna.

Brent Palmer, a contractor with Verizon Wireless, asks one of his…

A bill to give the wireless industry largely unchecked access to public property across California brought loud objections from local officials in the Bay Area and beyond. Can the industry hear them now?

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the legislation Sunday, acknowledging the value of deploying wireless technology “rapidly and efficiently” but adding that he favors “a more balanced solution than the one achieved in this bill.” Indeed, Senate Bill 649, authored by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, and passed by the Legislature last month, would have all but given away public infrastructure to wealthy corporations.


Verizon, AT&T and other wireless providers have pushed such legislation here and elsewhere to ease deployment of so-called small-cell equipment that boosts coverage provided by larger cell towers, particularly in urban areas and in anticipation of fifth-generation (5G) network technology. The bill would have granted the companies rights similar to those of utilities, leaving local governments with limited power to set fees or restrict placement on streetlights and traffic signal poles.

The companies, which have spent tens of millions of dollars on political contributions in California over the past few years, already enjoy generous state and federal protections. They shouldn’t get unfettered use of what was built and paid for by the public.

This commentary is from The Chronicle’s editorial board. We invite you to express your views in a letter to the editor. Please submit your letter via our online form: SFChronicle.com/letters.

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