Local Voices Should Speak Louder than ISPs (Common Cause Maryland)

Large wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T are in the process of deploying the next generation of wireless broadband technology known as “5G.” 5G will use infrastructure called “small cells” that will be deployed on street lights, poles, buildings, and homes to boost wireless signals.

Local communities through their elected officials have a lot of power to oversee the deployment process for broadband infrastructure including 5G. In communities across Maryland, citizens and local government have come together to design a roll out for 5G that works.

But ISPs like Verizon and AT&T are using their big money leverage to control the deployment process by ramming state bills that remove local oversight of small cell deployment. Local oversight is important to make sure small cell deployment meets public safety, aesthetic, and quality of life standards that our communities expect.

Big ISPs have now turned their efforts to Maryland where they got HB 654 introduced. This bill would remove local zoning review in approving small cells and kneecap local government oversight in the deployment process. This means small cells will be deployed on Maryland street lights, buildings, and near homes without any say from local voices.

On Thursday, February 21, HB 654 will be heard in the House Economic Matters Committee. We need to tell our legislators loud and clear WE OPPOSE removing local community voices from 5G deployment.

You can also make an impact by submitting testimony to the House Economic Matters Committee. Here is the important point for your testimony: “I’m a Maryland voter who believes local communities should have a say in the 5G deployment process. 5G can offer benefits but it should not come at the expense of cutting local communities from the process. As a Maryland resident, small cell placement could impact public safety, aesthetics, and my quality of life. I oppose HB 654 which would remove local oversight from 5G deployment.”

We need you to speak out now!ISPs are using their big money influence to push these bills across the country and now they’ve turned their sights to Maryland. We need to show our legislators our voices speak louder than ISPs and we want a say in 5G is deployed.

Thank you for all you do,

Damon Effingham, Executive Director

and the team at Common Cause Maryland

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