Verizon has already launched early 5G service in parts of four U.S. cities, but since its millimeter wave 5G hardware requires thousands of new “small cell” towers — each requiring local government approval — its network expansion across the country could take a while. To speed things up, the carrier today announced Let’s 5G!, an initiative to help citizens lobby their elected officials for 5G, potentially reducing the bottlenecks caused by sluggish local action.
The Let’s 5G! website is positioned as both an information resource on what 5G will offer communities, and as a way to make the future happen sooner. Beyond the standard promises of “up to 20X faster download speeds” for devices, the site spotlights local benefits such as improved emergency services, reduced traffic, virtual medical care, self-driving cars, and live video sharing from even data-congested areas.
In addition to deeper dives on all of those potential applications, the site notably offers one of the first carrier statements on the safety of 5G radio signals, noting that all 5G equipment is compliant with federal safety standards, which are designed to be even child-safe. “Everyday exposure to the radio frequency energy from 5G small cells will be well within [federal] safety limits,” Verizon says, “and is comparable to exposure from products such as baby monitors, Wi-Fi routers, and Bluetooth devices.”
If you’re interested in supporting 5G in your community, the site includes a simple form to send this message to your local government officials: “I support the immediate rollout of 5G wireless service in our community because of the benefits it will deliver today and the breakthroughs it will enable tomorrow.” Once you submit your name and address, you’ll get a confirmation email that notes the letter will be sent out “when it will have the most impact.” A separate form lets you ask the carrier 5G-related questions.
With current 5G home broadband speeds in the 300Mbps to 1Gbps range, Verizon has already announced plans to launch home and mobile 5G in a larger number of cities throughout 2019, with plans to offer a nationwide 5G network at some point thereafter. With a strong but non-exclusive focus on millimeter wave 5G, the company has said that it’s awaiting finalized 5G hardware before making network expansions in the second half of 2019, and has hinted that New York City, Atlanta, and Boston will be among its next round of 5G cities later this year.