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

2 thoughts on “Wireless carriers make some Coastside progress

  1. Arancha Casal

    In response to your post:

    There are many studies NOT using lab mice, but direct data on human exposure on the seriously harmful radiation effects of nearby cell towers. Some of these were provided to the County in the one hearing we’ve had so far. I’ll paste a link to an overview of the existing literature below.

    As to why only 2 residents voiced objections: only ONE Alta Vista neighbor received notification by mail from the County. I only found out through another concerned neighbor. Also, if I remember correctly, at the hearing only two of us were given time to speak.

    This issue has not been properly & openly discussed with the residents of Montara & those directly affected by the positioning of a huge (75 ft tall, or over 10 stories!) tower virtually next door to resident homes & in the entrance of a beautiful natural space & hiking trail transited daily by local families & visitors.

    Surely there are much better locations FURTHER AWAY from family homes for a big cell tower of this radiation power & size. Then everyone wins.
    So please let’s look for alternative locations, if a cell tower is really necessary — I never lost cell service during last year’s severe storms & I live on Alta Vista Rd.

    By the way, who runs this blog? I couldn’t find the owner in the webpage. Thanks for letting me know,

    Link to summary of existing literature on serious health damage from proximity to cell towers:


    1. admin Post author

      Hi Archana,

      I/ Leo Gomez run’s this blog, I have no way to “find a better place for this tower” I have effect on where this tower is placed, im just another Montara resident. For your information the height or size of a tower does not affect its power, it affects its coverage. If you did read the blog post aside from disagreeing with the first statements, Actually a tower that is taller and closer to residents radiates less electromagnetic energy to the people near it. I have proven this with meters in real life, energy from towers radiates up and over homes that are close to it. When testing this and speaking with a resident on the Alta Vista Road was that your mobile phone while on Alta Vista road is 13x more powerful then standing directly in front of a tower, I live on the 3rd floor of an apartment and have 2 cellular towers antennas at the same height as my bedroom windows. When I am outside I read about a power reading of 1.5 which the FCC calls “high”, when I go inside that reading instantly becomes .2 which the FCC calls “low”. When I was indoors on Alta Vista road inside the readings peaked at around 22 (obviously incredibly high), how is this possible you may ask? well when you are that far out of cellular coverage and you do not turn on Air Plane Mode your phone is constantly trying to connect to a tower, thus it uses max transmission power to attempt to connect to the nearest tower. When we switched the phone to Air Plane mode the meter then dropped to 0.007. The point being that your mobile phone is radiating MUCH higher levels of radiation up on Alta Vista Road then any cellular tower that is 100′ higher then your home and pointed over the top of your home.

      To the studies… What they never mention is what other environmental elements are in the same area that could cause the same symptoms… some studies talk about effects 6+ KM away, this is nearly impossible… what is not is chemicals buried close by, my point being that there is no way to prove that cellular towers are actually causing the issue. No Study is taking in to account people diet or health, these studies look for people who want to be apart of the study, its also very easy to tell someone your conducting a study to try and prove cellular radiation is responsible for their poor health, and people in general are always looking for some element to blame for their own self caused issues.

      There really is no way to prove any of the fact in these studies in labs or by interviewing people, all studies show indication not proof. By my real world data your cell phone that is next to you almost always is having much larger affect then a cellular tower near by. I encourage you to continue to pester the county and try to prove your point and fight to move the tower higher if it makes you feel better. In the end the tower being higher up on the mountain will make no difference to radiation in your home other then making your mobile phone work less to stay connected to a tower. The effect a tower higher up on the mountain will have is better coverage for the rest of the community.

      It really helps to be informed by information that your not just looking for, try searching for information disproving towers are a problem, so you get both sides of a coin.

      Thanks for commenting,


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