Letters to the Editor

Letter: Jerry Brown should put public interest ahead of ‘Big Telecom’ and veto SB 649

Re: “Jerry Brown can help bring a wireless revolution” (Viewpoints, Oct. 6): We all agree on the importance of rapidly deploying wireless networks to improve connectivity. Sen. Ben Hueso's Senate Bill 649, however, amounts to a billion-dollar corporate handout. It provides telecom companies with below-cost leases for using public assets, courtesy of California taxpayers, without reducing prices to consumers, or helping connect low-income neighborhoods or rural California communities languishing on the wrong side of the digital divide. Big Telecom claims that cities overcharge for the use of street poles to justify the taxpayer subsidy for their proposed below-cost lease rates; Hueso asserted in his The Sacramento Bee op-ed that San Jose charges $14,500 per small cell lease. In fact, we’ve never charged more than $3,000. We might tolerate taxpayer subsidies in SB649 if it required expansion of broadband in underserved communities, or lowered prices to customers. It doesn’t. Gov. Jerry Brown should veto SB 649, putting the public's interest ahead of Big Telecom’s.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

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