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Verizon rolls out 5G Ultra Wideband network in areas of Spokane

Dec. 20, 2019 Updated Fri., Dec. 20, 2019 at 8:43 p.m.

As of Friday, a handful of Verizon customers now have faster, 5G wireless service in certain areas of Spokane. (Associated Press)
As of Friday, a handful of Verizon customers now have faster, 5G wireless service in certain areas of Spokane. (Associated Press)

Verizon customers are now able to access its 5G Ultra Wideband network in parts of Spokane, the company announced Friday.

Verizon rolled out 5G Ultra Wideband service in the Cliff/Cannon, Nevada/Lidgerwood and Comstock neighborhoods; the area west of NorthTown Mall and north of Garland Avenue; and near Sacred Heart Medical Center, the Glover Mansion and Cowley and Comstock parks.

“As we work to create a smart city with an innovation economy in Spokane, faster and improved connectivity is critical,” Spokane Mayor David Condon said in a statement. “I am excited that Verizon has chosen Spokane to be one of the first cities to receive its 5G services.”

Verizon also rolled out the Ultra Wideband network Friday in Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Miami and Salt Lake City, bringing the total to 28 cities nationwide.

Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network speeds range from 400 megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second, which allows customers to download a movie in about 10 seconds, according to the company.

“We’re building our 5G Ultra Wideband network right to support the type of transformative breakthroughs people imagine when they think of 5G,” Kyle Malady, Verizon’s chief technology officer, said in a statement. “Our customers, local leaders and government officials recognize how superfast download speed and low latency can change how they live, work and play.”

Earlier this month, T-Mobile rolled out its low-band 5G network that covers 200 million people nationwide, including in the Spokane area. AT&T also switched on low-band service in 10 markets, none of which are in the Spokane area.

U.S. telecom companies anticipate investing more than $275 billion over the next five years to build next-generation 5G networks nationwide, according to wireless trade organization CTIA. Additionally, they expect to invest more than $262 million in building 5G networks in the Spokane area that could generate $486 million in economic growth, according to the organization.

Spokane County and the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley have approved measures in recent years that allow installation of small cell antennas to support 5G networks on utility poles and street lamps.

Verizon, since September, has installed more than 28 of the small cells in Spokane to pave the way for 5G service.

Unlike larger cell towers, small cells are mounted on utility poles and street lamps to blend into the existing environment and use what’s called a millimeter wave spectrum that provides higher capacity rates to transfer data faster over a shorter distance. Small cells provide infrastructure to support Smart City technology, cloud adoption, connected schools and the Internet of things.

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