Sacramento, CA approves $100M deal with Verizon for tech infrastructure

Dive Brief:

  • Sacramento, CA announced a $100 million partnership with Verizon to improve wireless and network access citywide, as reported by Sacramento Business Journal. The partnership includes connecting fiber at city intersections and putting Wi-Fi in 27 parks and other public areas, accessible by digital kiosks.
  • The plan, unanimously agreed on by the city council, will allow Verizon to place cell towers on existing utility poles, according to the Sacramento Bee.
  • The Bee also reported that Verizon will be able to use Sacramento's conduit to expand its fiber network and utilize a quicker permitting system for city-owned infrastructure.

Dive Insight:

As one of Verizon's 11 test markets for 5G wireless, Sacramento is already preparing for a growth of new tech citywide. However public-private partnerships to make cities smarter don't come without costs, and Sacramento may become the textbook example of those costs — for both parties. Outside of the $100 million that Verizon is spending, Sacramento will lose an estimated $2 million in potential lease payments on the utility poles that Verizon is using over the next 10 years.

The partnership also has its critics, just as any private-public program would. AnyComm, a communications company that hoped to work with Siemens on its own digital plan in Sacramento, criticized the Verizon plan, in part because city officials expedited the approval process for the Verizon contract.

As 5G and the need for quick, accessible Wi-Fi grows nationwide, it is likely that similar deals will be made in large metropolitan cities coast to coast. Keeping an eye on this deal's success in Sacramento will be crucial for city leaders who wish to boost tech infrastructure for public needs.

Filed Under: Energy & Utilities Policy & Planning
Top image credit: Eric Hauser