- Los Angeles has been given a Connected City Award from wireless infrastructure company Mobilitie for its work in deploying 5G infrastructure throughout the city, including in historically underserved neighborhoods.
- A partnership with Mobilitie has helped the city install more than 1,000 small cells that will facilitate a 5G rollout. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have all said they would launch 5G in Los Angeles.
- "Access to information is the pathway to opportunity and prosperity for Angelenos in every neighborhood," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement. "With world-class technology at our fingertips, we can and will build a stronger, more secure Los Angeles for all of our families."
Mobilitie has put particular emphasis on making sure wireless networks serve all citizens and neighborhoods, rather than focusing on more affluent ones. The digital divide has become a stark problem for some cities, with poor neighborhoods often left without viable internet options, and experts are concerned that the 5G rollout could exacerbate the problem if traditionally disconnected areas don’t get 5G infrastructure.
Even as some cities have sought strategies like education and free equipment to help get more disconnected citizens online, the 5G rollout will require installation of new small cell infrastructure, meaning cities will have to be deliberate to prevent a new digital divide.
The award is also a recognition of cities that are helping the U.S. win the race for 5G. According to Mobilitie, more than 10 million small cells have been deployed worldwide, with much of the investment overseas in markets like China and South Korea. While the federal government has taken steps to streamline deployment of small cells, cities and states have taken the lead in getting the technology off the ground.