5G Rollout Will Maximize San Francisco’s Competitive Edge

San Francisco boasts a young, diverse and highly educated workforce. The Bay Area receives a whopping 45 percent of the total venture capital investment in the entire United States, and residents are embracing everything from robotic deliveries to autonomous cars. It seems like a no-brainer that San Francisco should lead in the deployment of the next generation of fast, reliable, state-of-the-art mobile technology known as 5G. But as it stands today, San Francisco doesn’t even have a commitment from all major 5G infrastructure providers to deploy in the city.

So, what is 5G? 5G is the next evolution of mobile technology, which Accenture projects will create up to 3 million new jobs and boost GDP by $500 billion. 5G could be up to 100 times faster at data transfer and significantly more reliable than our current 4G, or LTE, standard. 5G is also expected to reduce latency, the time between clicking a link and the page loading, to around a millisecond. Further, Accenture estimates that cities deploying 5G networks in conjunction with the Internet of Things (IoT) will have shorter commute times, improved public safety and other efficiency improvements.

The first step in realizing our 5G future is robust infrastructure deployment. 5G requires the installation of thousands of small wireless antennae known as “small cells.” 5G needs an immense amount of capacity and close proximity to the end user, so it requires much denser networks than what we currently have powering 4G and LTE services. Small cells typically are installed on utility poles, street lights or other existing right-of-way infrastructure. Because small cells are much smaller, easier and cheaper to install than a traditional macro site, and can be camouflaged to mimic the aesthetic of the areas where they are placed, the technology is the ideal solution to meet 5G’s capacity requirements.

However, instead of creating the proper conditions to foster a highly competitive environment for 5G build out in San Francisco by encouraging small cell deployment, the city is throwing up unnecessary roadblocks. To be fair, companies such as Verizon and Mobilitie are building out 5G infrastructure in San Francisco, but several other big providers have not yet started to build in the Bay Area due to unreasonable fees for small cell attachment to municipal infrastructure. Without robust competition in small cell deployment from all of the major players, it is highly unlikely San Francisco will be able to deploy the number of small cells necessary to be at the front of the 5G line.

To date, San Francisco hasn’t been willing to make the full commitments to 5G but the city certainly isn’t alone. While San Francisco has chosen slow deployment with high fees, other municipalities have made it difficult to install small cells through long wait times for permits or unreasonable aesthetic guidelines for the devices. One wireless CEO lamented that in some cities, small cells require only two hours to install, but need 18 to 24 months for a permit to be issued. Other Bay Area cities, such as Mill Valley and San Rafael, are passing laws designed to entirely block the installation of 5G small cells.

San Francisco hasn’t attempted to ban small cells and in fact its permitting process, run by the Department of Public Works, is smooth and efficient. But the price of $4,000 for each small cell attached to non-wooden utility poles is acting as a serious deterrent for deployment.

However, change is coming in the way of a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order aimed at streamlining small cell deployment for 5G.

On January 14th, 2019, new rules governing the installation of 5G infrastructure officially went into effect which, in theory, will drastically reduce the fee San Francisco will be able to charge for small cell attachments and create more competition.

Only time will tell how San Francisco officials will choose to react to the new FCC rules, but there is no doubt that creating an environment where all the major players are deploying next generation infrastructure in San Francisco can only be a positive for businesses and residents as the city continues to try to maintain its competitive edge in our connectivity driven global economy.

 

5G Networks And Infrastructure: The Prescription For Improving Telemedicine

The Federal Communications Commission’s $100 million “Connected Care Pilot Program” to support virtual healthcare, or “telemedicine,” is a vital program to bring high-quality care to our veteran, low-income, and minority communities, writes Kish Rajan, chief evangelist for CALinnovates. But telemedicine isn’t a viable option without the high-speed wireless connections needed for quality videoconferencing.

The answer to this problem, Rajan says, is upgrading the nation’s wireless infrastructure:

To deal with the demand today and to lay the foundation for the 5G networks of tomorrow that will allow telemedicine to reach its full potential, we must upgrade and densify our communications infrastructure by expeditiously deploying more fiber optic cable and densification devices known as “small cells.”

Read what this entails here.

The Millennial Dilemma: Too Many Smartphones And Not Enough Bandwidth

The Pew Research Center says 100% of Americans age 18 to 29 own a cellphone, with 94% owning a smartphone,” writes CALinnovates’ Mike Montgomery on Modernize California. “A separate survey from Pew found that 89% of smartphone users go online daily, while nearly four out of 10 18- to 29-year-olds go online ‘almost constantly.'”

He continues: “While the increased use of connected technology has certainly made our society more efficient, we are at a tipping point where our networks and infrastructure must be modernized to deal with the massive demand for data.”

Read Montgomery’s proposed solution to this issue here.

The Key To The Future Of Self-Driving Cars: 5G

“Small cell and fiber deployment, much like autonomous vehicle progress, is not happening fast enough,” says CALinnovates’ Mike Montgomery. “The reality is, we will need thousands of small cells connected by thousands of route miles of fiber for our mobile networks to reach their full potential.”

“Prioritizing communications infrastructure buildout now is not only fundamental to speeding the adoption of self-driving cars, but enabling countless innovations that stand to make our communities smarter and safer through the power of 5G.”

Read Montgomery’s full column on Modernize California.

Small Cells For The Win: Powerful Connectivity During Major Events is No Longer a Wish List Item — It’s Now a Must

“As anyone who has been to a sporting event, concert, rally or even a large graduation ceremony recently can attest, the absence of even a single bar or two of connectivity can be a frustrating experience,” writes Mike Montgomery of CALinnovates. “Networks quickly get bogged down when thousands of people with thousands of devices compete for the attention of the local communications infrastructure.”

An extreme case in point: the Super Bowl. In 2015, Verizon handled 7 terabytes of data at Super Bowl XLIX. That number reached 11 terabytes two year later.In 2017, that number was up to 11 terabytes.

Simply put, our current infrastructure can’t handle this load. See Montgomery’s piece about the problem and its solution here.

 

Unblocking 5G: New FCC Rules Make it Easier to Build Fast Networks

“The Federal Communications Commission last week voted to kick-start 5G wireless networks in the United States by exempting them from some reviews that hinder installation,” writes CALinnovates’ Kish Rajan. “It’s about time.”

He continues:

So far, the U.S. lags far behind the world leader — China — at getting 5G networks up and running. “There is a worldwide race to lead in 5G, and other nations are poised to win,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel acknowledged in January. It’s an embarrassing place for the country that invented the internet. But more than that, our hesitancy to streamline the process for installing vital infrastructure is costing us money, jobs and security.

Read the rest of Rajan’s stance on this issue here.