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Opinion: Robust connectivity is critical to Palo Alto's future

Original post made on Jun 19, 2021

Our nation's leaders understand robust connectivity is critical to our country’s future growth. Unfortunately, Palo Alto has adopted fairly onerous standards that effectively halt the expansion of modern communications infrastructure.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, June 19, 2021, 8:54 AM

Comments (32)

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2021 at 10:43 am

Bystander is a registered user.

This is timely and well thought through. I am not technical enough to understand all the issues, but if nothing else, we have all had to depend on our internet connected devices so much more over the past 15 months.

Even the least technical of us have had very little choice but to learn how to deal with things in ways we had not done so before. From ordering food where there are no longer paper menus, to signing up for vaccine appointments, anyone without a smart phone let alone internet connection have been at a distinct disadvantage. Without libraries being open, those who were library dependent for checking email, or even signing up to reserve a book for curbside pickup, were in an impossible situation.

It is so easy for us to forget what life is like for those who for one reason or another do not "do" technology. There are many of those living like that in Palo Alto.


Posted by AM
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 19, 2021 at 1:38 pm

AM is a registered user.

Joint Venture Silicon Valley receives extensive funding from the telecom industry and has consistently advocated for the diminishing local authority in favor of advancing the telecom industry’s goals.

The bias of the writer comes without a “Disclosure“ and his bottom of the page associations do not mention the financial associations.

From Regional Alignment of Wireless Communications Prepared for City Managers Conference, February 2020 you will see this PDF: Web Link which has a section about the anti-5g protest.


Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2021 at 1:51 pm

Anne is a registered user.



Mr. Hancock fails to mention the noise pollution these cell sites produce. There is one right in front of my house, which contributes to the general increase in noise pollution we're experiencing all over Palo Alto.

Let's just increase wired Internet, which is what Palo Alto wants to do anyway.


Posted by Laurian Decker
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 19, 2021 at 3:10 pm

Laurian Decker is a registered user.

Though 5G coverage has yet to be fully expanded (with the possible exception of the T-Mobile network), it is the wave of the future and Palo Alto should allow as many 5G cell towers as it can reasonably accommodate.

The tin hat carcinogenic theorists and cell tower noise sensitive can either go back to using a landline or a payphone (if one is even accessible).

Just don't hold up technological progress.


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2021 at 5:33 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"Though 5G coverage has yet to be fully expanded (...), it is the wave of the future and Palo Alto should allow as many 5G cell towers as it can reasonably accommodate."

4G was the "wave of the future" only a few years ago. 6G is already being designed, so get ready to dump your newly obsolete 5G gear. Nobody will die if we don't have all the newest shiniest toys the kids in the next town have. Will they?


Posted by Wesley James
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 19, 2021 at 7:30 pm

Wesley James is a registered user.

5G is somewhat overhyped and will eventually be superceded during the next decade (2030s).

That said, smartphones should be replaced every 4-7 years due to operating system revisions and security patches.

An Apple iPhone is good for about 6 years and an Android (i.e. Samsung, Google etc.) around 3 years at best.

4G is more than adequate for most people and far more advanced than the soon-to-be phased out 3G network and the antiquated flip phones you see older people using.


Posted by Seer
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 19, 2021 at 10:12 pm

Seer is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Leslie York
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2021 at 1:44 am

Leslie York is a registered user.

Mr. Hancock's editorial ignores a few basic facts.

Any wireless transmission medium is vulnerable to interference. This is as true today as it was in Marconi's day. With little effort a miscreant could equip a vehicle with equipment to jam a 5G signal. By periodically relocating the vehicle, the source of the interference would be impossible to detect. You then have zero connectivity to anything.

That scenario may seem implausible at first blush, but who ever thought a miscreant could remotely shut down an oil pipeline? Well, it happened.

Wireless technology is inherently not secure. It would be foolish to hitch your wagon to a wireless solution.


Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 20, 2021 at 10:50 am

rsmithjr is a registered user.

A large and growing number of people want to access the internet through their cell phones. Apps are now proliferating for a variety of purposes, and people like the freedom of being able to do their work on the cell phone. This is especially true of younger folks.

I don't fully understand this myself but it is certainly a trend.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Jun 20, 2021 at 11:10 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Beppo Becera
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 20, 2021 at 11:36 am

Beppo Becera is a registered user.

"...people like the freedom of being able to do their work on the cell phone. This is especially true of younger folks.

I don't fully understand this myself but it is certainly a trend."

° This is why smartphones have gotten larger and with minimal bezels surrounding the screen.

We have evolved from desktop > laptop > tablet and now > smartphones to conduct most of our online priorities and why not?

Vision issues and preferences for a conventional keyboard aside, there is absolutely no reason to lug around a cumbersome laptop.

We are now in an era of techno-downsizing with added mobility options and cellular data (whether it's 4G or 5G) is preferable to conventional internet access (DSL & fiber optics etc.) as wi-fi is readily available at many fixed locations.

And as far as wi-fi security is involved, just use a VPN for added protection and privacy.

It's no big deal and it is amazing how so many of the older folks with their desktop computers and soon to be obsolete 3G fliphones just don't get it.

Travel light.


Posted by David Morrison
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 20, 2021 at 12:40 pm

David Morrison is a registered user.

Russell Hancock's infommercial for 5G is full of misinformation and disinformation. Fiber optic is far more reliable, faster and safer than having an antenna on every utility pole. It has already been paid for through taxes collected by the telecoms but was diverted into wireless or stolen from taxpayers under false pretenses. The "thousands of studies" he mentions that show no harm were mostly industry funded as 70% of industry funded studies show no harm while the reverse is true for independently funded studies. There are many thousands of studies dating back over 60 years from all branches of the military and nasa showing hundreds of pathways to harm. Why has this been studied so much by the military? Because it is the perfect weapon as has been shown and admitted recently by our government in the cases of diplomats in china and cuba that were targeted with microwave weapons. Millions of people internationally are forced from their homes due to microwave sickness. For a perfect example of the reach of industry into our regulatory agencies and media can be found in this recent article in the Washington Spectator ( Web Link ) revealing corruption in the Oregon Health Authority in their recent mandate to review science of harm in wireless technology used in schools. I would like to see another article by Palo Alto online that takes the view of someone that is unbiased and not attached to industry.


Posted by David Morrison
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 20, 2021 at 12:49 pm

David Morrison is a registered user.

This issue is central to the lawsuit that Environmental Health Trust, Children's Health Defense and others have filed against the FCC:
EHT et al. v. FCC (Case Number: 20-1025 in Appellate - DC Circuit).

Web Link
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link


Posted by Lucien Zabriski
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 20, 2021 at 1:09 pm

Lucien Zabriski is a registered user.

@David Morrison/a resident of Stanford

Duly noted but can we actually & realistically go back to payphones and landlines in order to conduct personal business? Add to that social networking and entertainment.

Microwave-generated radiation is now a part of everyday life and perhaps this is yet another form of modern day Darwinism.

In other words, those impervious to the inherent dangers of cellphone generated radiation might survive while others may perish.

Tell Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T as they most certainly will take these concerns under advisement.

Meanwhile, back to the coronavirus and the Delta variant...


Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 21, 2021 at 11:04 am

Local Resident is a registered user.

This editorial is a joke. First the weekly failed to mention that this guy receives and supports the teleco industry. It's basically an informercial. Secondly, 5G for residential homes and small businesses is foolish. Fiber is so much more reliable and faster. Fiber not 5G is the choice for fixed wireless. Putting a cell tower/site 20 feet from a childs bedroom is an unnecessary and unneeded risk. Also, the telecos routinely violate their permits and put stronger transmitters than they are permitted for (including in Palo Alto). Let's keep the 5G cell towers/sites away from residential homes and schools.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jun 21, 2021 at 11:38 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

"This editorial is a joke."

It's an opinion piece. Written by a contributor. The weekly didn't fail to mention anything. Opinion pieces are written by the contributor, and PA Weekly doesn't owe anyone any explanation. They do decide what gets posted, and you don't have to agree with the opinion.

I thought this was an educated, knowledgeable crowd. This is comical.


Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 21, 2021 at 12:43 pm

Palo Alto Resident is a registered user.

As Upton Sinclair said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” The person who wrote this runs a non-profit that gets meaningful backing from the telecoms like Verizon, and then obligingly publishes studies and pieces like this one supporting more wireless infrastructure. So, yes, his salary literally depends on believing that wireless is safe and good - not surprisingly, he does!

He's entitled to his opinion, and everyone needs a job, so I don't blame him for shilling for the telecoms. I'm disappointed that the Weekly made readers dig to figure out the connection between his salary and his opinion - the relationship should have been disclosed in the piece itself, or in the description of the author.


Posted by Byron Whitaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 21, 2021 at 2:22 pm

Byron Whitaker is a registered user.

I just spent $1K on a new 5G smartphone and haven't noticed any major difference in cellular speed from my 2020 4G LTE cellphone.

Is 5G hype? The salesman said that as soon as more 5G towers are built there will be improvements in overall speed and that health concerns over microwaves are little more than figments of tin hat imagination.

5G is no different than microwaving popcorn according to him.


Posted by Cameron Rivers
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2021 at 10:11 am

Cameron Rivers is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 22, 2021 at 10:38 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"As Upton Sinclair said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” The person who wrote this runs a non-profit that gets meaningful backing from the telecoms like Verizon, and then obligingly publishes studies and pieces like this one supporting more wireless infrastructure. So, yes, his salary literally depends on believing that wireless is safe and good - not surprisingly, he does!"

Absolutely! And he conveniently ignores Palo Alto's ability to run and service it and whether PA can afford it and its whole new army of consultants. Just ignore all the other budget cuts and growing unfunded pension liabilities.


Posted by Monica Preston
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 23, 2021 at 7:20 am

Monica Preston is a registered user.

Couldn't Palo Alto simply lease 5G access from a major company (e.g. Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T) like many of the smaller cellphone service providers do?


Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 23, 2021 at 9:25 am

rsmithjr is a registered user.

@Monica Preston,

The cell companies are trying to get the city to let them install the necessary towers and other infrastructure. They will do this at no cost to the city.

The problem is that the city won't let them.


Posted by Francisco Alacante
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 23, 2021 at 10:08 am

Francisco Alacante is a registered user.

"The cell companies are trying to get the city to let them install the necessary towers and other infrastructure. They will do this at no cost to the city.

The problem is that the city won't let them."


And why is that?

Is it based on restrictive access to public and private property or tin hat mentalities?

It seems a deal could be struck...mount towers all over town in exchange for free or highly-discounted 5G access to PA residents.


Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 23, 2021 at 5:23 pm

StarSpring is a registered user.

Isn't fiber and (n)G going to be replaced shortly with bazillions of satellites in low earth orbit? I guess that won't help mobile devices though.


Posted by Jim Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 23, 2021 at 5:53 pm

Jim Davis is a registered user.

Modern everyday life has gotten way too complex and we allowed to happen for the sake of various perceived conveniences and entertainment.

How in the world did people get by before microwave ovens, smartphones, cable TV, laptop computers and social networking?

Quite well.


Posted by Jacqueline Marchant
a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2021 at 8:00 am

Jacqueline Marchant is a registered user.

I currently own a beautiful Samsung Galaxy 21 5G folding smartphone in metallic pink and receive many compliments and inquires from others because it is not only expensive (around $2K) but also leading-edge in the smartphone arena.

While it is used primarily for business, the phone also fits nicely in a small clutch purse when dining out.

I used to own Apple iPhones but nearly everyone has one nowadays and they have become too commonplace for my personal tastes.

5G should be expanded everywhere to ensure faster data speed for those who truly need it.


Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 24, 2021 at 10:19 am

StarSpring is a registered user.

Hmmm. A crew is pulling AT&T fiber behind our house at this very moment. Voice over IP will be sweet.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 24, 2021 at 10:45 am

Online Name is a registered user.

How special that Palo Alto just authorized almost $3,000,000 in spending for this without much discussion. So glad we don't have a budget crunch, unfunded pension liabilities or much of a track record in delivering cost-effective, customer-responsive service.

Onward.


Posted by Jack Whitaker
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 24, 2021 at 11:33 am

Jack Whitaker is a registered user.

>>>I currently own a beautiful Samsung Galaxy 21 5G folding smartphone in metallic pink and receive many compliments and inquires from others...

° To be dependent on superficial compliments from others in order to validate one's existence raises a few eyebrows and perhaps why we have those designer handbags thefts being discussed in a previous post.


Posted by Leslie York
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2021 at 12:07 pm

Leslie York is a registered user.

"the phone also fits nicely in a small clutch purse when dining out."

Heaven forbid you should miss an important text while enjoying your sushi.

I think I could spend a half hour enjoying a meal out without attending to email/text messages. I'm old fashioned that way.

Citywide wireless is a great idea until it doesn't work for whatever reason. See my previous post.


Posted by StarSpring
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 24, 2021 at 4:19 pm

StarSpring is a registered user.

Satire wielded well is a delight to read. :)


Posted by Malcom Welby
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 24, 2021 at 4:52 pm

Malcom Welby is a registered user.

Whatever develops from all of this, Palo Alto residents should have an active voice in the final decision-making process & it boils down to one of two preferences/choices...fixed or mobile data options.

Personally speaking, I prefer a mobile network as you have the option to use your smartphone data plan anywhere and 5G is expanding nationwide.


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