Kevin DeLouise, VP Regional Design & Construction – Crown Castle (a #MACoCon sponsor), discusses broadband.
Today’s technologies are fueling the demand for data. There are more than 275 million smartphone users in the U.S., and over 180 million other connected devices, including fitness trackers and smart home devices. As a result, it is expected the average consumer will use about 22GB of wireless data per month by 2022 and 49GB per month by 2026.
It is easy to take connectivity for granted when it is in the palm of our hand. But as data usage increases, so does network congestion. Think of it as cars trying to crowd onto a busy interstate. At some point, traffic comes to a standstill. In the wireless world, adding new infrastructure—or fiber—is the equivalent of building more lanes—it gives all that extra data someplace to go. Fiber networks are capable of moving data at the speed of light. With communities, businesses, hospitals, governments, school systems, universities, and libraries all dependent on reliable connectivity, we must think of fiber in the same way we think of power lines— as essential to modern life.
Fiber is also critical for expanding wireless broadband access to address the digital divide. A recent Pew Research report indicates that nearly one-in-four lower-income and minority adults are ‘smartphone only’ internet users. Wireless networks are key for finding information about jobs, completing schoolwork and accessing healthcare and public resources. With speeds up to 100x faster and the ability to connect up to 100x the number of devices, the next generation of mobile connectivity, 5G, will play a critical role in bridging the digital divide by allowing families that are wireless only to better participate in the digital economy.
Communities can benefit from reevaluating the way broadband is constructed to expand access and meet growing data demand. Microtrenching is one way to expedite the buildout of critical fiber to support both wired and wireless needs. Microtrenching uses a narrow cut in the roadway to install fiber. Once the fiber is installed at the bottom of the trench, it is backfilled and sealed. The entire process takes only hours, is minimally disruptive, can be completed without road closures, and once filled, is barely noticeable.
Crown Castle is working with cities across the country to ensure residents and businesses have improved access to broadband by utilizing microtrenching as a faster, safer, and environmentally friendly way to expand connectivity. We look forward to sharing more about this innovative construction method at MACo’s Summer Conference and hope you will join our session on Thursday, August 19th at 3:00 pm in room 209.
ABOUT CROWN CASTLE
Crown Castle owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and approximately 80,000 route miles of fiber supporting small cells and fiber solutions across every major U.S. market. This nationwide portfolio of communications infrastructure connects cities and communities to essential data, technology and wireless service – bringing information, ideas and innovations to the people and businesses that need them. For more information on Crown Castle, please visit www.crowncastle.com.
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