San Rafael, CA – Marin County residents who have thoughts about fifth-generation cellular wireless technology – commonly called 5G – are encouraged to participate in a survey offered by the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA).
The County's survey about 5G technology will help engage residents and serve as feedback for decision makers who are considering policy changes.
Through March 31, CDA staff is asking questions about residents’ concerns pertaining to 5G through the use of its Open Marin online tool. Also, the County has a new webpage devoted to 5G. The 5G survey is a focused survey and not to be confused with the County’s broader resident survey launched in November, which randomly sampled 3,200 residents to assess the general quality of life in Marin, local policies, demographics, and ratings of local government services.
Cell service providers are conducting test markets in major cities now, and the first 5G cell phones are expected to be released sometime in 2020. Each generation of cellular technology is defined by its transformative increase in speed and its incompatibility with the previous generation. As an example of 5G technology, a user could download an entire movie on a phone or mobile device within seconds.
Recently, the County joined a court action to take a stand with other public agencies against a federal ruling for 5G deployment. The County took the legal step to protest the Federal Communications Commission’s seizing of local control on the deployment of 5G and how implementation costs can be recovered. Unlike the network of microwave dish and panel antennas, 5G technology requires the installation of a greater number of smaller antennas because they have shorter range (less than 1,000 feet) compared with existing 4G, meaning a potentially denser network of closely-spaced antennas could be installed on utility poles and buildings much closer to the user base.
CDA staff is working with a Board of Supervisors subcommittee comprised of Damon Connolly and Dennis Rodoni to evaluate how existing County policies and regulations governing small wireless telecommunications facilities can be updated considering the FCC’s action. The Board is expected to conduct a public workshop on the matter in early 2019.
Residents are encouraged to log into Open Marin and answer the survey questions. Open Marin is a web-based civic forum that expands options for participation in County government, especially for those who have a tough time attending public meetings in person, watching archived webcasts or watching live on cable television. The format, which the County has been using since 2013, encourages dialogue on specific issues and allows constituents to read what others are saying about hot-button topics.
The idea behind the use of Open Marin is to engage residents in as many ways as possible and gather feedback that could be used to make both the County government and community stronger. Survey answers are considered by decision makers who are considering policy changes – in this case about 5G implementation.
First-time Open Marin users will be asked for a name and home address so that County officials and other Open Marin users know which statements come from local residents. All personal information is kept confidential through a privacy agreement.
Residents still may send an email, mail a letter or attend a public meeting to share thoughts with County officials. Emails may be sent to Immanuel (Manny) Bereket, Senior Planner, at email@example.com. Send letters to Mr. Bereket, Community Development Agency, Marin County Civic Center, Suite 308, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903.