State CDP to Provide Essential Backbone Structure on Hwy 1 AND 92; County still needs to Fund Feasibility Study to Create a Locally Controlled Coastside Community Fiber Provider

Wireless carriers make some Coastside progress

Since our report in March, 2023 some of the wireless carriers have made some changes to their network, and id like to take a brief moment to help report on some of that progress.



AT&T has applied to add a new cellular service tower at the top of Alta Vista Road on MWSD Property. This tower should help improve AT&T cellular coverage in the northern and eastern regions of Montara, Along Sunshine Valley Road and along Cabrillo Highway and Montara State Beach, with the possibility of the area around Gray Whale Cove Beach/Parking Lot (an area prone to car accidents that EMS and CHP have communications in).

AT&T Wireless supports FirstNet a wireless network that supports our first responders, its allowed to work at a higher power to reach places that normal cellular phones can, it also requires that first responders have special high power vehicle mounted cellular devices.

This Cellular tower Will also provide high speed wireless access to the area near the tower, currently the north eastern parts of Montara lack cellular signal and generally the ability to call for EMS during an emergency.

This cellar site will be equipped with backup batteries and a backup generator, meaning it can run for extended periods when the power goes out in storms.

This tower and its location would be essential to public safe in and around Montara.

Currently there are 2 residents who have some objections to the tower due to concerns of radiation exposure. There are also some environmental concerns due to the modification of a 441 Sqft pad, and 12′ wide access road that could connect to a preexisting gravel access road about 13′ away.

The Radiation concern is can addressed by some background about radio frequency, cellular towers and how these studies are conducted. Most scientific studies that aim to prove that cellar tower cause cancer use lab mice that are bombarded with high amounts of cellular radiation at close very proximity with the intension of demonstrating long term exposure from close proximity. The problem with studies like this is they are radiating these mice with much higher levels of radiation levels much closer than even a home located near a cellular tower. In one study conducted by the National Toxicology Program funded by the NIH the highest exposure level in the studies was four times higher than
the maximum power level permitted for local tissues. The studies also expose the entire body of the mice. Ambient radiation is nowhere near as harmful as the radiation produces by a cellular phone in an active call next to someone’s head.

HHS & NTP Program Overview

Cellular towers deployments are highly regulated and measured, prior to constructions, radiation calculations are done to ensure that their presence meets and exceeds all safety regulations set forth by the FCC.

FCC Radio Frequency Safety

To add to this cellular towers do not just emit radiation in all directions, they are incredibly directional both vertically and horizontally so that they can achieve long range coverage. In this specific case the tower is both at least 450′ from concerned residents, with the base of the tower higher in elevation, and the radio equipment mounted 75′ above the base of the monopole.

Because of the directionality of the tower antenna elements and the height above the residents in question, its highly unlikely that the residents would even benefit from the new tower, in the cellular industry this is called the “Umbrella Effect”, see the image below for an example.

Below is the actual RF Study conducted by AT&T:

To address the environmental concerns, examine the information. The environmental assessment has stated that there is the possibility that the proposed work area may contain a host plant including the Lupine species in the genus (Lupinus) and these plants may host larve of the Mission blue

(Icaricia icarioides missionensis)

Butterly and San Bruno elfin (Callophrys mossii bayensis) butterfly both listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. The study asks that Lupine clearing be done when seasonly appropriate to avoid the harm of the listed butterflies.

The proposed cellular site lease area is about 20’x20′ and sits next to a pre-existing 500,000 Gallon water tank.

The site plan can be found here:

The next hearing about this cellular site will be held in person at:
455 County Center, Redwood City
Room 101 First Floor

Thursday December 21st at 10am

For more information see below:

I Encourage all residents to participate in these hearings and advocate for the installation of the critical part of safety infrastructure.


The Verizon Wireless Cellular Site had its backup generator replaced, while this cellular tower is poorly placed it does serve some residents in Montara, Moss Beach and along Sunshine Valley Road. This tower was part of a group of Verizon Cellular site that also had AT&T Fiber Optic Service installed as a lower speed backup to their primary source of connectivity from Comcast Fiber Services. This will ensure that the Verizon Wireless customers in close proximity to the MWSD Office in Montara do not loose service when they need it most. I can only assume this replacement was done ahead of the severe storm season

El Granada


The Verizon Wireless Cellular site located in Princeton Harbor was upgraded with “Mid-Band” radio approximately 3 weeks ago, these new radios will help provide faster speeds to customers in the general area especially when the harbor is saturated with tourists.


In the past week T-Mobile Conducted generator maintenance on their cellular site located at the Half Moon Bay Airport, like the Verizon Site in Montara I can only assume that this is to prepare for the upcoming Severe storm season.

Half Moon Bay


On September 7th 2023, T-Mobile has submitted permit requests to add a backup generator to their cellular site located at 113 Miramontes Point Road, if approved this would be the only Cellular site in the area that will have power backup provided by a generator and not a limited life battery.

That plan can be found below:


AT&T has been working on the installation of a cellar site in downtown Half Moon Bay, plans where submitted in 2021, and it seems that the site was approved, but there has been no construction or further action taken after the approval of this plan, it has seemed that engineering plans expired on 3/3/2-23.

The last actions for this project where taken on 1/25/2022

This cellular site would have augmented current coverage in Downtown Half Moon Bay. Many customers of AT&T have experienced slow speed and the inability to make calls especially during any event in Half Moon Bay, this site would also be backed by a generator making a critical part of emergency infrastructure.

The plan submission can be found below:

I have reached out to the City of Half Moon Bay for updated information on this project, I will update on this site if there is any new information.

Entire Coastside

It should be noted that all Utility Providers (PG&E, Comcast Fiber Services & AT&T Fiber Services) have done major arbor work, cutting trees away from both power and fiber optic cables that are strung on utility poles. This has been a major undertaking and will hopefully help reduce outages on the Coastside this season.

The items listed in this post, are personal observations and may not include all progress from mobile cellular service providers

California Fast Tracks The Middle Mile Inititive

California originally intended on building out the middle mile initiative in phases that would take until 2026 to complete. This approach would probably have extended well beyond 2026 for completion, making the project ineligible for federal funds. Internet service providers have historically taken decades to establish similar networks. Instead, California has decided to tackle the implementation of 10,101 miles of publicly available fiber optic “back-bone” of the system by using 4 different methods;

1) Constructing 3,501 miles of their own fiber infrastructure.

2) Leasing 4,699 miles of fiber infrastructure that is not currently being used by other private companies.

3) Purchasing 474 miles currently unused optic strands from private companies

4) Working with private companies who might already be building infrastructure and working together to install 3,501 miles of fiber optic cable.

as of Oct 20, 2023

Click here to open the interactive Statewide Middle-Mile Network Map

While the new project approach should dramatic reduce the fiber installation time, the State of California still estimates that it will take and is required by the U.S. Treasury to complete all projects by December 2026.

As you can see in the map above, the Coastside connection is new construction, meaning this can take quite some time to install. Even with government fast track programs in place there are still about 14 agencies that would have to approve the project area.

The construction for the Coastside will span from the cross section of Highway 1 and Linda Mar Blvd. in Pacifica south to the cross section of Highway one and Highway 92 in Half Moon Bay then run east to the cross section of highway 92 and El Camino Real (where a large portion of the Bay Area fiber optic infrastructure runs from north to south).

You can see this path highlighted in the map below.

For more information head over to the Middle Mile Website.

Request for Innovative Ideas (RFI²)

November 30, 2023 – CDT had released a Request for Innovative Ideas (RFI²) the new RFI² solicitation includes all remaining MMBI network miles. The greatest focus is on the approximately 650 miles remaining from the existing 10,000-mile map that are not currently contemplated in any existing construction, lease, or purchase contracts or master agreements. CDT is also focused on identifying and partnering on any segments of the MMBI network miles located in dense urban areas with a focus on minimizing the community and traffic disruptions associated with construction as well as areas where the pace of development can be increased. The RFI² is open through January 26, 2024 and can be viewed online.

Detailed Middle-Mile Broadband Network Map

(from MMBI Website)

September 15, 2023 – The more than 10,000-mile Middle Mile Broadband network has been developed in partnership with communities across the state. The network map has been updated to depict how the middle-mile network will unfold to reach all corners of the state.

It creates faster access to the Internet by building a statewide network that includes loops that will bring the internet closer to communities so that homes and businesses can connect with last mile projects. These looped routes are in areas where the internet exists today, not to serve the affluent but to reach those historically disadvantaged.

Map layers reflect the use of cost-effective development approaches to deliver broadband service in less time and maximize the network’s reach throughout California through Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRUs), more commonly known as leasing, as well as joint builds and purchases. This approach will maximize resources to reach unserved and underserved communities as quickly as possible.

The Administration remains committed to funding the entire 10,000 Middle-Mile Network and intends to propose additional funding in the Governor’s proposed budget, which will be released in January. More information will be available at the Middle-Mile Advisory Committee Meeting on October 20, 2023.