Outspoken Mayor of San Jose, California, Sam Liccardo, has proclaimed his support for labelling 5G as a public utility, reports StateScoop.com. Liccardo has tried challenging the FCC in court because of his dissatisfaction with federal regulations limiting a city’s ability to set rates for 5G and small cells. “If we’re not going to put this burden on local taxpayers, then it needs to be on either industry or the federal government,” Liccardo said.
During a virtual event on wireless technology hosted by The Washington Post, Liccardo told the audience his belief that 5G should be regarded as a public utility. Classifying it as such would then force the FCC and other government agencies to fund the 5G rollout. “Now the federal government’s not stepping up with money, so the industry needs to be paying fees that compensate local taxpayers for the cost of the infrastructure, the maintenance of the infrastructure, that they’re utilizing,” he said.
“As we think about some of the great applications of 5G, particularly around autonomy and vehicles, we’re looking at how we can transform an aging light rail fleet into a fleet of autonomous buses,” Liccardo stated. “That’s going to require very rapid deployment of hardware, sensors and small cells in the city to dramatically reduce latency to ensure these vehicles can operate safely and pivot in a moment as soon as data becomes available.”
While the mayor and others are intrigued by the possibilities of 5G, development does have a cost. Figuring who should pay for 5G expansion is likely to require the cooperation of the federal government with both local governments and businesses, no matter who gets the final bill.