Want faster download speeds? This new technology launched in Boise, NYC may help

Verizon announced Thursday that it has launched 5G service in the Boise area.

The company said its Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband network service is now live in the following Boise neighborhoods:

  • Downtown Boise
  • West End
  • North End

Verizon said 5G service will be found around major landmarks in those areas, such as the Idaho State Capitol and St. Luke’s Boise campus.

The network is located “in business districts and public spaces where residents gather and tourists visit, and it will expand quickly to other areas as well,” Verizon Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Kyle Malady said in a news release.

Along with Boise, the 5G service went live in parts of Panama City, Florida, and New York City.

Verizon has already launched the 5G “small cell” technology in 10 other cities. It plans to have the service up and running in more than 30 cities by the end of the year, it said in a news release.

The company promises faster download speeds and higher capacity on its 5G network, it said in the release.

The Statesman previously reported that Verizon representatives worked for two years with officials in Ada County and Boise on new ordinances that allow the company to deliver 5G cell service, using transmitters mounted on telephone poles and streetlights.

cell antennas-2.jpg
Service providers are installing new small-cell transmitters around Ada County, which send cell phone signals for a shorter distance than existing cellular transmitters and help supplement the larger cell towers. The small-cell transmitters will be needed usher in 5G networks. Kate Talerico

4G networks ushered in an era of photo- and video-based apps such as Snapchat and Instagram, and allowed for responsive GPS technologies, the Statesman reported. Cellphone companies say 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless will enable technology such as self-driving cars and could allow someone to download movies in seconds instead of minutes, the Statesman reported.

A 5G signal’s data-transfer capacity is greater, but it reaches a smaller area — about a 1,500-foot radius. The existing 4G signals reach a few miles.

“Verizon hired Boise lobbyist Mark Estess to press for an Ada County ordinance that streamlines the local permitting process,” the Statesman reported in February. “The Board of County Commissioners adopted the ordinance in January. It allows telecom companies to bypass public hearings, which are required for new cell towers, and directly seek administrative approval of the small transmitters.”

That means a 30-foot pole with a transmitter on top can “pop up in your neighborhood without any warning,” the Statesman reported.

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