Communications Networks

It's crunch time in Missouri, where muni broadband supporters are seeking to defeat SB 186 - a bill that eliminates communities' rights to build public-owned broadband networks, effectively crippling jurisdictions' economies. Though the passage might be uncertain, there's a chance that incumbents and their allies may slip the bill's text in unrelated legislation.

Systems integrators and infrastructure vendors are learning that the best time to propose a smart building solution to property owners is often before the first lease is even signed. They say building owners who wire their buildings for connectivity and bandwidth will save money in the long run because their infrastructure will support the services that tenants will ultimately want.

A multi-billion-dollar investment is about to be made in public safety infrastructure throughout the United States and every community in America will be impacted. A contract valued at $6.5 billion for the first five years of its 25-year term has been awarded to U.S. wireless carrier AT&T by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) for the buildout of a nationwide broadband network to serve millions of first responders and public safety officials.

AT&T plans to spend about $40 billion over the next 25 years to build a broadband network reserved primarily for public safety officers. A Commerce Department agency that functions as a public-private partnership is awarding AT&T about $6.5 billion to over the next five years to build, deploy and maintain the network.

Verizon Wireless has activated its Category M1 LTE network, making it the first U.S. carrier to launch a nationwide LTE network dedicated to the internet of things. The carrier said it will offer IoT data plans for as little as $2 per month per device, with customized options available for bulk activations and volume purchases.

The tipping point came in 2014. That was the year that mobile Internet access surpassed desktop access for the first time. Since then, the usage disparity between desktop and mobile continues to grow. Today, as local governments are feeling the pressure of constrained budgets and limited workday hours, they are looking for tools that allow them to be more nimble and fluid in their workflows.

Sacramento's active efforts to streamline installation of 5G networks was likely part of the reason Verizon choose the city for its pilot.

The future of connectivity is closer than you think. 5G, the next iteration of wireless broadband, promises to offer high-speed, low-latency services, hailing networks that will enable the millions of sensors necessary for the rollout of the Internet of Things (IoT) across the country.

Think government could be doing a better job with its digital communications? You're not alone. Most in government think so too, at least according to one recent survey. Among city and county workers, only 5 percent rated their agencies "outstanding" in effective citizen engagement.

Think about how urban transportation strategy would change if citizens could travel by laptop or mobile device to a doctor visit.

Research firm Markets and Markets reports that the telehealth market is expected to reach  $9.35 billion by 2021, from $2.78 billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 27.5 percent. This parallels the growth in the population health technology segment, which will rise from $21 billion in 2016 to near $90 billion in 2025, according to Grand View Research.

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