Help Close the Digital Divide and Make Portland a Smart City Leader: Clear the Way for Ultra-Fast 5G Wireless NOW

Right now, the only thing standing in the way of bringing ultra-fast 5G wireless internet to you and your neighbors is a lack of long-term vision and the forces of stagnation, inertia, and bureaucracy. If you want 5G in the Rose City, it's critical that Portland's leaders hear where you stand today.

What would 5G look like? Lightning-fast mobile connectivity — eventually up to 20 times faster than 4G. And staggering network capacity — imagine sharing crystal clear video from the middle of a sold-out Blazers playoff game at the Moda Center. Or better yet, imagine every school-age child in Portland having access to a state-of-the-art internet connection, regardless of what side of 82nd Avenue they live on. That's what could be possible with 5G.

It's not just the next "G" in your phone — 5G is a societal game-changer on par with the advent of electric power a century ago. And just like a century ago, 5G's greatest breakthroughs have yet to be imagined.

But to make 5G a reality, city bureaucrats need to start prioritizing the needs of constituents like you over the profits they're trying to extract from 5G construction permits and street access fees. Wireless carriers are knocking on Portland's door to bring us high-speed 5G connectivity and give our government a powerful tool to meet its own goals for digital equity and inclusivity. If city leaders don't come together, answer that door, and prioritize access and progress over dollars and cents, the local economy and particularly those residents in need of a helping hand to enter the digital age will get left behind as other cities in the Northwest lead the 5G revolution.

We can't afford to repeat the mistakes of the past. The 4G service we now take for granted was available in many major cities years before it came to Portland. In response to being left behind, the city drafted a comprehensive Broadband Strategic Plan, with detailed recommendations to ensure we would not miss out on the next wave of innovation. Unfortunately, much of this strategic plan has been ignored, and Portland may miss out yet again.

Tell Portland officials to do the right thing and fast-track the 5G rollout now to help open up new ways for our community to live, learn, work, and play.
Dear Mayor Wheeler and Council members,

As a local community member, I'm writing to urge you to clear the way for a true, citywide 5G network and lay the foundation for connecting all Portlanders — not just those in the downtown and on the west side of the city. The benefits to the people who live and work in Portland, to the locally owned small businesses, to students who need high-speed internet to study and do homework, to anyone seeking to change careers and improve their digital literacy skills — to the entire community, in fact — are too great to sacrifice in favor of a bureaucratic prioritization of short-term revenue. As the City of Portland's own Broadband Strategic Plan states: "Portland must initiate bold policy, partnerships and incentives to ensure that our broadband infrastructure is world class in order to protect our economic future."

- 5G will supercharge local job growth — With the potential to attract new businesses, it's estimated 5G will create some 3 million jobs across communities that build 5G and inject $500 billion into the national economy.

- 5G will improve city services, transportation and public safety — First responders could coordinate faster, sharing vital emergency information in real-time. Smart pavement and traffic lights could cut congestion. We may even see safer streets and neighborhoods thanks to better security monitoring and smart lighting.

- 5G will lower health care costs while elevating care — Raising the potential of virtual healthcare to new levels, and making remote care even more effective and accessible to those who need it most.

- 5G will provide a powerful tool to help close the digital divide — With this revolutionary competitive service, we can make concrete progress toward serving ALL Portlanders with high speed internet, not just those in affluent neighborhoods. It could be the first step to bringing state-of-the-art network connectivity to public schools and community colleges across the city, and making sure no child or adult is left behind in Portland's rapidly transforming digital economy.

This is your chance not only to deliver for all of your constituents, but to demonstrate thought leadership and be part of transforming our region into a national Smart City and digital equity leader. Please do whatever you can to help deliver a real, citywide 5G network for Portland.

Sincerely,
[SIGNER]
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