Sioux Falls is poised to lure West Coast tech companies from places like Silicon Valley and Seattle after it became one of just 20 cities in the country where fifth generation (5G) internet speeds are up and running.
That’s according to Mayor Paul TenHaken, who Friday was joined by Sen. John Thune and officials from Verizon Wireless to formally announce the launch of 5G.
“In the past week I’ve actually had the chance to talk to a handful of Silicon Valley and Seattle tech companies,” TenHaken said during a news conference at the DocuTap building near Ninth Street and Phillips Avenue. “Quite honestly, they’re sick of the West Coast rat race. Sioux Falls is starting to show up on their maps.”
With at least 10 5G towers going up downtown by month’s end, according to Verizon, TenHaken said the early adoption of that technology gives Sioux Falls a leg up when recruiting new businesses.
Verizon’s investment in 5G to Sioux Falls comes after TenHaken and the City Council last year created a licensing system allowing telecommunications to equip light poles with cellular antennas.
Thune, championing the technology to his colleagues in Washington, D.C. since 2016, credits those kind of policy moves at the municipal level along with a federal government that’s not creating undue regulatory burdens on the telecommunications industry. That ensures the United States, and in turn South Dakota, will be at the forefront of technological advancements in the world, he said.
“It really is the future,” Thune said.
Sioux Falls and Verizon officials tested the 5G speeds in downtown Sioux Falls on Friday.
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
What is 5G?
For years, most cellphones have operated on 4G, which provided limited bandwidth speeds. That means when clusters of people try to load social media pages and other apps that use lots of data, the network can clog and slow down load speeds.
5G is a wider bandwidth, allowing more data to pass between towers and cellphones at once.
During a test of network speeds following Friday’s press conference in the field near 12th Street and Phillips Avenue, just feet from a 5G antenna, Verizon officials recorded speeds greater than 1.3 gigabytes per second.
Typical 4G speeds are between 12 and 30 megabytes per second.
Will you benefit from 5G?
If you ask the mayor, all of Sioux Falls will reap the rewards of 5G internet if and when new businesses pop up in town as a result of the new technology being available here. That’s because of the added tax base and employment opportunities that will come with them.
But to directly benefit from the faster load speeds that the 5G antennas provide, cellphone users will need a 5G-capable smartphone. Right now, there’s a limited number of Samsung models available on the market. The market is still waiting on Apple to release a 5G-capable device.
No matter the phone, downtown will see faster data speeds
Along with installing 5G antennas, Verizon is also equipping the 10 downtown light poles with “can-tennas” to supplement the 4G macro-towers that most cellphones use to gather and send their data.
That means that there will be less cellular gridlock during busy times where large amounts of people gather. 4G speeds are expected to be eight times faster with the addition of the “can-tennas” to Verizon’s downtown stock of cell towers.
Read or Share this story: https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/city/2019/11/01/5-g-sioux-falls-south-dakota-verizon-wireless-mayor-paul-tenhaken/4121542002/