Chicago and Minneapolis turn on 5G as San Diego lays groundwork

11th April 2019 Jonathan Andrews

Telecommunications company Verizon has switched on its 5G network in select areas of Minneapolis and Chicago.

Customers of the company can access the network using a Verizon 5G-enabled smartphone–touted as the world’s first to be made commercially available. Users can expect download speeds of 450 Mbps, with peak speeds of nearly 1 Gbps, and latency of less than 30 milliseconds.

In Chicago, 5G coverage is concentrated in areas around landmarks like Union Station, Willis Tower, The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park and the Chicago Theatre. In Minneapolis the coverage is provided in parts of the downtown area.

The company announced plans in February to launch its 5G service in more than 30 US cities in 2019, with San Diego already laying the groundwork in a new multi-million dollar deal with Verizon that will accelerate the deployment of small-cell facilities.

“San Diego is a city of innovation with a long history of using ground-breaking technologies to make our city and the world a better place,” said Kevin Faulconer, Mayor of San Diego. “Working together with Verizon, this agreement is going to provide resources that will further enhance cellular service for residents, keep communities safer and lower costs for taxpayers.”

The deal will expand small cell infrastructure together with a streamlined permitting process. Verizon will perform an inventory of roughly 60,000 city-owned light poles to update and digitise the city’s catalogue of light pole information and provide improved wireless capabilities to residents.

The city has agreed to work with Verizon to streamline its permitting processes to cut red tape and reduce review times for installed technologies. Under the terms of the agreement, the city will develop a master permit for the installation of digital fibre so that more users can get access to broadband capabilities. The agreement calls for more than US$100 million in infrastructure investment and equipment deployment from Verizon.

The company will also give 500 smartphones to the city’s police department and 50 tablets to the fire and rescue department to improve department communication and connectivity. And advanced traffic data gathering and sensing technologies will be installed at five crash-prone intersections to help the city better assess vehicular patterns and traffic flow using data.

Ed Chan, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Verizon, said: “Together, we are creating a platform of innovation with the latest smart city technology, supporting the city’s focus on creating a digitally inclusive and connected city that benefits all residents and businesses for decades to come.”

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