HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Huntsville residents are one step closer to realizing some of the fastest mobile network speeds in the country, thanks to City Council’s decision to approve a wireless rights of way use agreement with Uniti Fiber.
The City of Huntsville said the agreement permits the company, a leading provider of infrastructure solutions – including cell site backhaul and small cell for wireless operators- to construct small cells in the public right of way.
Small cells are the infrastructure that make 5G deployment possible. Hailed as the next evolution of cellular networks, 5G provides mobile users with virtually zero lag time and higher speeds. The network further supports growth of emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and autonomous vehicles.
“Huntsville has been incredibly welcoming, and we’re proud to continue doing business here,” said Andy Newton, President of Uniti Fiber. “The small cells we are deploying will empower Huntsville in the race to 5G. Connected cities are coming, and we aim to help the cities in our footprint lead the way in this next communication revolution.”
Mayor Tommy Battle says the use agreement is part of his administration’s effort to provide citizens with more opportunities to access broadband. This focus has led providers, such as Google Fiber, AT&T, Comcast and others, to provide new and increased service offerings in Huntsville.
“We consider this announcement right in line with our Gig City Initiative to provide high-speed broadband across our entire community,” said Mayor Battle. “The currency for any city of the future is connectivity and this is one more way to address that need. We are excited to see Uniti Fiber continue to invest in our technology rich community.”
ADTRAN’s Gary Bolton praised the announcement, saying the past decade has focused on increasing mobile capacity to deliver the connectivity people needed for work and play. “The move to 5G brings the promise of a step function in enabling massive Internet of Things (IoT), mission critical services such as autonomous vehicles, immersive media-rich services and creates opportunities for emerging Smart City applications,” said Gary Bolton of ADTRAN. “Mayor Battle continues to lead Huntsville and our community forward into the Gigabit age.”
Appetite for Connectivity
The way people connect and consume is changing rapidly. Sixty percent of households are wireless only, according to USTelecom. In 2003, that number was five percent. Pew found one-in-five American adults today are “smartphone-only” Internet users.
Cell phones have gone from purely voice (1G) to text (2G) to data (3G) to multimedia devices (4G). U.S. internet traffic is projected to grow 2.5 times in the next five years with video accounting as a major driver of growth. This increased use of networks is already taxing and with the growth of connected devices, more resilient networks will be required to meet demand. That is a major reason for the development of new technology such as small cells that will make 5G possible.