Montgomery County: Support for ZTA 19-07

As members of the MD5G Partnership, we support ZTA 19-07 to ensure the streamlined deployment of small cells in Montgomery County and position our community to benefit from enhanced 4G as well as 5G, which will make it easier for people to find information about jobs, for students to complete their homework, and improved access to vital healthcare, transportation, safety, and public resources.

Representing more than 25 organizations statewide, our partners span industries, including education, health, transportation, and tech, and have come together in support of building connected communities through 5G—the next generation of connectivity. It is more urgent to move forward with the deployment of small cells, a critical element to 5G, than ever before.

During these unprecedented times, connectivity has been a vital link to keeping businesses running, supporting increased telehealth demand, and facilitating distance learning. Those without reliable access are falling further behind. According to the Pew Research Center, minority and low-income individuals are more likely to rely on wireless devices to access the internet. With more than 96 percent of Americans owning a cellphone, 5G is an important tool in addressing the digital divide.

The emergence of 5G will also have an important economic impact on the County as a whole. CTIA, a leading wireless organization, has estimated that in a city like Rockville, 5G will create over 637 jobs and increase GDP by $104 million. In addition, it will have an untold economic impact as it accelerates innovation across industries.

Without countywide small cell legislation, Montgomery County risks falling behind. Today, 30 states have passed statewide small cell bills, including our neighbors in Virginia, Delaware, and West Virginia. Similarly, Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County and the District of Columbia have all adopted policies that authorize and streamline the deployment of small cells and realize the benefits of enhanced 4G and 5G networks.

But the value of 5G is not just about the future. Current networks are strained, especially in densely populated areas like Montgomery County where resident’s data demand can exceed network capacity. With education, business, and healthcare providers depending on reliable access to the internet, we simply cannot afford to be left behind in the race for 5G.

Reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens to promote mobile broadband deployment should be a top concern for the County, and we urge the Council to support ZTA 19-07. Thank you for your consideration.

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