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Raimondo Announces Effort to Prepare Rhode Island for Leadership in 5G Wireless

PROVIDENCE, RI - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today announced her intention to position Rhode Island at the forefront of the development of next-generation broadband networks, including 5G (Fifth Generation Wireless) networks.

"To make Rhode Island one of the most desirable places to live, work and do business in America, we need to build the infrastructure of the future," Governor Raimondo said. "We are sending a signal that Rhode Island is open for business as a lab state for innovation - the ideal place to test new technologies like 5G wireless."

Internet connections in 5G will be up to 100 times faster than today's 4G networks -- fast enough to download a movie on a tablet or smart phone in four seconds instead of six minutes. Video chats in 5G will feel like being in the same room with the person. And 5G will make traveling safer and easier, giving new vehicles the ability to automatically avoid traffic and instantly brake when the car ahead hits its brakes.

The state has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to national telecommunications firms and other stakeholders for ideas and recommendations on how Rhode Island can create a nation-leading hub and platform for the development and deployment of 5G wireless networks. Responses to the RFI will be accepted until January 13, 2017 at 11 a.m.

This effort, led by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission and Division of Public Utilities and Carriers and the Rhode Island Office of Innovation, aims to position Rhode Island as the first state to pilot large-scale deployment of 5G wireless networks, support real-world experimentation, and signal continued efforts towards attracting new high-tech businesses.

"Wireless infrastructure deployment is critical to economic growth and public safety in Rhode Island," said Patricia Jacobs, President of AT&T New England. "We applaud Governor Raimondo's leadership on small cell and 5G deployment in Rhode Island, and we look forward to working with the state on policies to encourage investment in critical wireless broadband infrastructure."

"Rhode Island is an ideal place to rollout 5G wireless due to the state's size, population density and ability to provide the regulatory flexibility to test new models," said Richard Culatta, Chief Innovation Officer for the State of Rhode Island. "Additionally, Rhode Island is consistently ranked at or near the top of all states in the nation for broadband coverage and speeds, and possesses the robust wired networks upon which 5G deployments depend."

Rhode Island is committed to adopting the policies and making the investments needed to attract and foster a vibrant technology economy.

In July, the Federal Communications Commission designated a large block of spectrum for next-generation wireless broadband services, as well as fixed networks that could supplant current wired broadband. These 5G services will provide improved speeds of up to 100 times faster than delivered by today's 4G wireless networks, opening up a significant range of new applications such as the Internet of Things. The technology will likely require new ways of building networks and nimble regulatory structures to facilitate these deployments.

To learn more about next generation wireless and view the RFI, please visit http://www.innovate.ri.gov/wireless


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