San Jose can expect a surge of small cell deployments and increased fiber infrastructure from AT&T as part of a new public-private smart cities partnership.
AT&T plans to deploy thousands of small cells throughout San Jose on structures such as light poles, rooftops and traffic lights to boost voice and data capacity and set the groundwork for future standards-based, mobile 5G services. (See AT&T & City of San Jose Form Smart Cities Public-Private Partnership.)
"Upgrading San Jose's broadband infrastructure is key to building a smarter city, advancing our long term economic competitiveness and connecting residents who lack access to affordable, high-quality Internet service," said San Jose's Mayor Sam Liccardo in the announcement.
The decision to support the California metropolis in building smart city infrastructure is the result of continued discussions with local officials and is the "culmination of a lot of work and good leadership in the city of San Jose with Mayor Sam Liccardo and Smart City Lead Dolan Beckel," Mike Zeto, vice president of IoT at AT&T told Broadband World News.
Silicon Valley's Home Sweet Home
As the home to high-tech leaders like Apple, San Jose leaders were convinced about the value of smart city infrastructure, technologies and use cases, said AT&T's Mike Zeto.
"With San Jose sitting in the middle of Silicon Valley and having forward-thinking leadership, it certainly made it easy for us to decide to focus some resources there," Zeto said in an interview.
Network densification will not only come from small cell deployments; AT&T also plans to continue expanding its fiber network in the area to increase capacity of the wireless network and support future 5G deployments. Nearly 100,000 San Jose residents currently lack a broadband connection at home, according to a blog post on Medium last October by San Jose's Smart City Lead Dolan Beckel Beckel.
"When we talk about IoT and smart cities solutions being connected, they'll be connected many different ways -- that could be fiber, cellular, WiFi, 4G LTE, 5G eventually and LTE-M," said Zeto. "Fiber is one connectivity option and then once you have 5G those 5G small cells will be connected with fiber as well."
San Jose and AT&T will pilot a number of smart city applications including public safety; small cell deployments will provide additional capacity to speed communications among first responders on AT&T's FirstNet emergency communications network. Additional IoT applications will include the deployment of LED smart lighting, air quality sensors and more.
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"From a network perspective, this [partnership] will allow us to deploy our network faster and more efficiently and bring that to the citizens of San Jose much quicker than in some other areas," Zeto said. "The solutions that will ride on top of that network that really start to add value from creating a safer, more liveable, more efficient city will be deployed in these innovation zones to start."
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading