5G Promises Ring Hollow in Sacramento

Executive Summary

The public-private partnership between the City of Sacramento and Verizon Communications promised to make Sacramento one of the nation’s first “5G cities.” Yet the deal has failed to deliver promised benefits, and residents may wonder whether this partnership is a corporate giveaway.

The agreement with Verizon lacked transparency in passage and accountability in the provision of community benefits. In the past two years, Verizon has seriously delayed or completely dropped key benefits.

Under the agreement, Verizon is not required to build its network to all parts of Sacramento, leaving the city’s substantial digital divide unaddressed. Further, the promised 5G network reaches only a tiny portion of city households and may wither on the vine as analysts question the financial viability of Verizon’s 5G home Internet service.

The agreement with Verizon also fails to address employment standards and hiring practices for workers building and maintaining the network. In 2018, Verizon employed at least ten subcontractors, most from outside California, some with highly questionable employment track records. These subcontractors have been responsible for a large number of utility disruptions across the city, costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

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