Austin is far behind other communities in permitting small cells, technology that will bring 5G – the next generation of high-speed wireless service. In fact, a recent Texas Senate hearing revealed that among the major metropolitan areas in the state, Houston had approved 548 of 580 small cell permit applications, Dallas had approved 288 of 305, and Austin had approved only two of 80.
It’s critical for Austin’s tech sector and the entire community that Austin get access to the benefits of the 5G future. That’s why facilitating the introduction of 5G is part of ATA’s local policy agenda.
Make your voice heard by adding your name at the bottom of this page to ATA’s community letter to the Austin Mayor and City Council urging them to make the 5G future a priority.
The letter will be sent on Monday, July 2, and a copy with the signers’ names will be published on ATA’s website.
Full text of the letter:
Dear Mayor and Council Members:
We write you as employees, entrepreneurs, and executives from Austin’s thriving tech sector who are discouraged to learn that Austin is falling behind other cities in deploying technology that will bring 5G to its residents and visitors.
5G is the fifth generation of wireless network technology that will bring faster, more reliable connections by increasing download speeds up to 10 gigabits per second and offering a latency as low as 1 millisecond – vastly faster than the 40-60 milliseconds available via 4G networks. In order to roll out 5G, small cells need to be installed, as they are an essential part of eventual 5G deployment. Small cells are radio equipment and antennas that are much smaller than traditional cell towers, as their name implies. Around the size of a pizza box, they are often placed on street lights, the sides of buildings, or utility poles.
But Austin is behind in small cells permitting. A recent Texas Senate hearing revealed that amongst the major metropolitan areas in the state, Houston had approved 548 small cell permit applications, Dallas had approved 288, and Austin had approved only two.
Austin has worked too hard to see its place as a tech leader fade due to delays in processing small cell permits. It is critical that Austin maintain our reputation as a technology leader, as other cities across Texas and the country may leave us behind if we do not support 5G technology. Not only will 5G become the standard that residents and visitors come to expect, but entrepreneurs and companies with the next big idea in mobile technology will demand it.
5G technology is also important to the future of our entire community, not just the tech sector. 5G will increase capacity to provide more reliable cellular service, close the health equity gap by powering improvements in telehealth like remote surgery and remote clinical services, and support smart city technologies that will move people and goods more safely and efficiently. Plus, it will help to enable technologies that the City of Austin is already planning for, including autonomous delivery bots and the shared, electric, autonomous mobility future.
We encourage the City of Austin to find ways to speed up its permitting process to help bring more small cell technology to our city. Austin should be a city built for the future, and small cells will play an important role in making that happen. Thank you for your continued commitment to our community.
Add your name:
[July 2 update: we are no longer collecting signatures, as the letters have been mailed]