New York City Pushes For 5G Expansion


The city of New York has put out a call to service providers for proposals on how to make 5G networking available to residents. The chosen service provider will be given the right to install technology on city-owned light poles and utility poles in order to provide wider coverage.

New York City has a plan to ensure that all residents have broadband access by 2025 and 5G could be a step toward achieving that goal. Small cell technology which supports 5G networking relies on booster style radios throughout a geographic area, creating a more reliable network in dense cities like New York where large buildings and network congestion often leads to frequent dead spots and other service hiccups.

New York City manages its own light pole deployments and already has nearly 9,000 poles reserved by franchisees throughout the five boroughs, which are (or will soon be) outfitted with equipment that can connect wireless phone owners to a 3G, 4G, or LTE wireless signal on a mobile device.

The 5G RFP builds on these franchise agreements as well as the city’s LinkNYC kiosks which provide free wifi hotspots throughout the five boroughs. New York City has more than 1,600 kiosks providing internet access to 4 million subscribers. The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications is also encouraging RFP responders to propose ideas for neutral host installations, allowing multiple providers to offer service on the same pole and making wireless service more resilient.

Neutrality will be an important component for the city’s connectivity effort, the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO) is partnering with DoITT to maximize use of its relatively scarce infrastructure to serve all New Yorkers equitably. The RFP reserves the city’s authority to issue new solicitations in the future to further advance the goal of universal broadband.

Several cities and states are currently working through 5G deployments. As CivSource previously reported, Delaware recently became one of the first states to approve statewide small cell deployments in order to bring 5G networking to the state. San Jose, California also announced an agreement with ATT in April to work with the telecommunications provider on 5G networking.