A (Messy) Tale of 5G Deployment
Drilling, banging, road closures: in recent weeks my usually calm block of Chicago neighborhood has been hit by the 5G bug.
Earlier this year, one of the major carriers announced the launch of fixed and mobile 5G in a number of major cities, including my own.
I was excited at the prospect of faster speeds and better services in my home in the near future. But the recent hurricane of 5G in my neighborhood has made me realize, that even with the grand promise of 5G and all the services it will enable, there is still a reality of the actual deployment requirements involved with ripping up our city streets and making massive changes to infrastructure.
With that said, here’s a snapshot of some of the disruptive aspects of the first phases of 5G implementation, based on the project in my neighborhood:
Invasive: The physical presence of this project is impossible to ignore. The construction crews have placed fiber ducts near all the streetlights in the neighborhood – in streets and directional boring in sidewalks. There are multiple project areas and different construction crews involved. It’s a mess to say the least.
What’s Taking So Long? The entire process is slower than I could have imagined. For more than a month, half-streets have been blocked off and a good portion of street parking taken over by the project. Not to mention, this is all in a crowded college neighborhood with high traffic, including pedestrians.
At Odds With City Life: Throughout the project, crews have been forced to adjust their work schedules around neighborhood festivals, block parties and college events. Due to City restrictions for road construction permits, crews are forced to pause their work whenever the Chicago Cubs are playing at home.
Watch Your Step: Since the start of the project, crews have dug up the neighborhood’s sidewalks without any notice or permissions from neighbors – since the sidewalks are city property. And they’ve slapped on temporary fixes with concrete so they can keep on schedule.
As someone familiar with the industry, I’m fortunate to be able to observe the first phases of 5G fall into place right outside my window. 5G is repeatedly hailed as one of the most promising and revolutionary technologies driven by telecoms, considered a true game-changer in global communications with the potential to impact connectivity around the world.
But seeing it face to face has given me a different perspective, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few months about this new 5G technology, it’s that it will not arrive quietly.