Like many folks in the communications industry, I read a great deal of trade press. Mostly it consists of skimming through various publications to see what and where the buzz is on any given day.
On many a given day lately, the buzz is 5G and how it will transform our society in general. Pretty broad-brush words of praise for a technology that has yet to have any global industry standards. However, Verizon upped the ante this week when they announced they launched 5G-based home broadband in part of four cities—Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento. (One of the key operative words here is “part.”) This announcement made VZ the first to offer what is known as next-gen wireless services in the U.S., but commentary on this deployment got a tad giddy with all that 5G will bring and how everything from telemedicine to entertainment will be at the fingertips of all Americans, particularly rural Americans.
That is when I think it is really important for policymakers and others to take a step back, take a deep breath, and be willing to take a deeper dive into the technology itself to understand all of the pieces that will need to be in place for ALL Americans to be part of this evolution/revolution. Top of the list is that fiber is the foundation of 5G. However, it’s tough to get policymakers to keep fiber equally in the spotlight with small cell deployment. We have a mantra here at NTCA that Wireless Needs Wires…and that 5G Needs Fiber with hopes of helping others get excited about this technology to connect the dots if they really want to get the job done.
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with The Hill on a story they ran on Rural America and 5G and was really appreciative of the chance to tell the rural side of the story. You can take a look here.