- In a bid to make Boston "one of the most technologically advanced cities in the nation," Verizon will expand its wireless broadband and TV options to undercovered neighborhoods in the city and will partner with the city on smart communities solutions, the company announced in a press statement. The announcement builds on an agreement first formed in 2016.
- As part of a 10-year agreement, Verizon will expand its wireless small cell infrastructure to build out its existing 4G LTE network and prepare for 5G deployment, with streamlined permitting from the City of Boston. TV licensing will also be amended to support an expansion of Verizon’s Fios TV service to more neighborhoods.
- Verizon also detailed plans to occupy 16 floors of the upcoming Boston skyscraper The Hub on Causeway, including five floors of incubators and accelerators.
The expansion will double Verizon’s $300 million investment into Boston’s wireless infrastructure that it first pledged in 2016 in order to build a 100% fiber-optic network in Boston. That spending will accelerate the city’s transition to a 5G network (although it has not been listed as one of Verizon’s initial 5G launch cities), and will support smart cities technology. The richer small cell network, in more neighborhoods, will support data-rich sensors and connected infrastructure.
Crucially, Boston has agreed to streamline the permitting process for Verizon’s small cell installation. Industry groups have raised concerns that permitting for 5G infrastructure could slow down the benefits of the super-fast network; a report commissioned by CTIA in July said that streamlined permitting rules could unlock an additional $100 billion to the economy. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has worked to ease up some permitting rules, raising the hackles of some cities and counties, but Boston’s own moves will help put more small cells in underserved neighborhoods.
"We’re making sure Boston is the best digital city in the nation, and through partnerships with companies like Verizon, residents will have better, more affordable options, as we work together to create inclusive growth for our city," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement.
The agreement will also bring Verizon wireless and TV service into more neighborhoods than the 2016 partnership. As part of the agreement, Verizon will contribute $1 million to the Boston Digital Equity Fund to help close the city’s digital divide by supporting affordable broadband.