Verizon plans to make Sacramento the first city in the U.S. to have 5G wireless network support, the company announced.
The residential broadband network will be deployed in the second half of 2018, according to a Verizon news release, with setups in two to four more cities expected to follow shortly thereafter. Sacramento was the first of 11 cities Verizon picked to sample its fifth-generation internet access speed in summer 2017, and city leaders made it clear they wanted more.
The Sacramento City Council signed off on a deal in June allowing Verizon to secure small cell towers on 101 utility poles, expand their fiber-optic capacity and move quickly through the municipal permitting process. In exchange, the company committed to establishing 5G infrastructure throughout the city and installing free wifi at 27 parks, among other amenities.
Maria MacGunigal, the city’s chief information officer, called Wednesday’s announcement a “game-changer” in drawing more tech startups to Sacramento.
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“This is exactly what we were shooting for when we established the partnership with Verizon in June of this year – a partnership that enables the city to demonstrate innovation in the real world and allow us to lean forward so that the we can leverage technology and collaborative relationships for the benefit of our community,” MacGunigal said in a statement.
5G service connects radio signals from small cell towers instead of relying on copper or fiber-optic cables, and is expected to be mainstream by 2020. Verizon’s trial runs showed speeds of up to 40 times faster than 4G – quick enough to download a full-length film in 15 seconds.