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Inside the War Over 5G Equipment in Northern California

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A journalist takes pictures of a projection screen prior to the start of Germany’s auction for the construction of an ultra-fast 5G mobile network.

As soon as the first 5G poles went up, the residents of Upper Cole Valley wanted them down.

Later, residents would take issue with the notice that informed the community of plans to install 5G wireless Internet equipment—they say it was “poorly affixed to the single pole,” allowing it to either fall off or be blown off; and that San Francisco’s Public Works Department didn’t give them enough time to weigh in on the process.

But adequate warning or not, when Sprint mobile vendor Mobilitie came to the San Francisco neighborhood hawking super-fast Internet service, residents had more fundamental concerns.

“Our Upper Cole Valley … neighborhood would suffer harm if the large pole-borne equipment box is installed, on an even taller pole, directly in front of our Excellent Views,” read a complaint from a group of more than 100 residents, which they submitted to the DPW in the hopes of getting Mobilitie’s permit denied. “This indeed ‘detract(s) from the streetscape … that defines (this) individual neighborhood’ and that would adversely affect our home’s and our neighborhood’s … value.”

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