AT&T launches 5G network but Austin customers won't be able to get it
Candy Rodriguez | December 21, 2018
AT&T launched its 5G network Friday in 12 cities across the country, but despite Austin's growing foundation in technology, tech experts say the city is lacking in infrastructure to handle the new network. "Austin has been slow in this front, but we are seeing a limited amount of progress in the last couple of weeks," Scott Dunaway, a spokesperson with Texas 5G Alliance said. The alliance focuses on educating and advocating for the deployment of 5G throughout the Lone Star state. "[Austin] City Council has approved an emergency order to help streamline that permitting process," Dunaway said. The ordinance was approved on Thursday, Dec. 13 focusing on the permit process for the installation of cellular network nodes on city-owned poles in the city's right-of-way. In 2017, lawmakers passed a law that made it cheaper and easier for major companies — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint to bring 5G speed and service to their customers in 2019 at the expense of city governments. The city of Austin sued the state over the law and are far behind in approving permits to make 5G a reality. "While we do understand a number of permits have not been issued, we are hopeful that in the near future they will and we will see a small cell network begin deployment inside the city to begin the power of 5G," Dunaway added.The 12 cities include Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Waco, Texas, Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., Jacksonville, Fla., Louisville, Ky., Indianapolis, Atlanta, Oklahoma City and New Orleans. The new network could mean more innovation on how smart cities operate, Dunaway said. "A lot of people like to associate with the introduction of 4G, we saw the app economy change the way that we live our lives," he said.Mobile apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Uber and Lyft, among others, have been made possible as a result of advancing technology. With 5G, our access to the internet will be up to 20 times faster than it is now with the potential to impact all aspects of life.