How some cities are attracting 5G investments ahead of others

[Commentary]  As communities across the United States wait to learn how high-speed mobile networks will figure in a long-promised infrastructure plan, some cities are already attracting private investment in next-generation 5G networks. They are doing so by finding new ways to collaborate with network and equipment providers, creating a set of “best practices” that other local governments can follow. Forward-thinking officials at the federal, state and local levels are hurrying to update their processes, looking for new approaches that maximize community value and minimize delay. Based on what we’ve seen successful cities do, here are key recommendations for communities seeking to accelerate their transition to become a 5G smart city:

  1. Preempt unnecessary intergovernmental conflict
  2. Dig once, climb once and other process streamlining
  3. Partner with providers eager to test 5G infrastructure 
  4. Target applications that can energize local economies 
  5. Establish pro-investment pricing policies 

[Blair Levin is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. In 2009, he oversaw development of the National Broadband Plan. Larry Downes is project director at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy.]


How some cities are attracting 5G investments ahead of others