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How Sacramento became Verizon's first 5G city

by Martha DeGrasse

Sacramento residents will be Verizon's 5G guinea pigs later this year when the carrier launches residential broadband service based on its own version of 5G. Verizon will offer 5G customer premise equipment that it says will deliver wireless internet and video at speeds comparable to fiber speeds. 


California's capital city does not find itself in this position by accident. Last summer, the city fast-tracked Verizon's request to access city utility poles for small cells and city conduit for fiber backhaul. Verizon got access to 101 utility poles and several miles of conduit. In return, Verizon is placing Wi-Fi hotspots in 27 Sacramento parks. 


Sacramento officials were willing to give up potential lease payments they could have charged for pole space in exchange for the high-speed wireless service Verizon is offering. The city's CIO believes the deal with Verizon will bring more technology startups to Sacramento. And the city retained the right to lease space on its utility poles to other carriers down the road. 


A cooperative government was not Sacramento's only advantage. It was also a fit for Verizon from a technical perspective because XO Communications owned millimeter wave spectrum licenses in Sacramento, and Verizon now owns XO's former licenses. Verizon has picked a handful of the cities formerly served by XO to be 5G trial cities, but Sacramento is the only city named so far.


Verizon says that Sacramento and its other 5G trial cities will need to upgrade at some point in order to use the same 5G equipment that will be used elsewhere in the Verizon network. 


"We're deploying those cities using the proprietary standard that we developed a couple of years ago," explained Verizon CFO Matt Ellis at an investor conference.  "It was important that we did that because it pushed the ecosystem along and it pushed the global standards bodies to move faster on 5G than they probably otherwise would have done. It also allowed us to get the product out into the field where we could test it."


In the test cities, Verizon will deploy 5G using radio heads and customer premise equipment made by Samsung using Verizon's proprietary 5G standard. Verizon has said it expects the transition to standards-compliant 5G to require a software or firmware upgrade to the radios and the customer premise equipment.











Small Cell Market Forecast

Profiles of 19 small cell vendors plus total addressable market forecasts and predictions of the numbers of actual nodes that have been and will be deployed. Explanations of fronthaul, backhaul, CPRI, eICIC, and mobile network architecture. Discussion of the different types of small cell architectures, including outdoor distributed antenna systems (DAS.). Report produced by iGR Research.


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