City Announces Major Agreements with Verizon, AT&T & Mobilitie to Significantly Enhance Broadband Infrastructure in San Jose

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Agreements represent the largest small cell deployment in any U.S. city, which will significantly improve coverage in San Jose and help facilitate future 5G deployments, while also generating $24 million for the City’s Digital Inclusion Fund

City of San Jose


SAN JOSE, CALIF. – The City of San Jose has reached separate agreements with Verizon, AT&T, and Mobilitie to install small cells on approximately 4,000 City-owned light poles throughout San Jose – the largest small cell driven broadband infrastructure deployment in any U.S. city.  The expected investment from these three companies in small cell installations, as well as hundreds of miles of fiber and other related infrastructure, will total over $500 million of private sector investment in San Jose’s broadband infrastructure.

The deployment of these small cells will help each company improve the quality of its wireless service and bring more choices for San Jose residents and businesses with services that will be 10 to 100 times faster than existing service in San Jose.  In addition, the small cell deployments will help facilitate the future deployment of 5G and other next generation technologies that will support the large expected increase of connected devices and data volumes in the years ahead.    

Through these agreements, the three companies will also collectively contribute approximately $24 million over the next decade for the City’s new Digital Inclusion Fund.  The Digital Inclusion Fund was created by the City Council to support programs and initiatives that will help close the digital divide in San Jose, where more than 95,000 residents still lack access to broadband internet service at home. 

“Upgrading San Jose’s broadband infrastructure is key to building a smarter city, advancing our long term economic competitiveness, and connecting residents who lack access to affordable, high-quality internet service,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Through these agreements covering all three major carriers, we will both lay the groundwork for the future deployment of 5G service in our community and generate millions of dollars to fund our efforts to close the digital divide in San Jose.” 

“We hope that these public-private partnerships can serve as a national model for equitably deploying next generation broadband technologies in a way that puts the public’s interest first,” continued Liccardo. 

Facilitating the development of a robust broadband infrastructure has been a core component of the city’s Smart City Vision, which Mayor Liccardo unveiled in 2016. Through this work, the City has sought to advance three key objectives: 1) improving the quality of digital services available to San Jose residents and businesses, 2) providing a means to connect residents who remain on the wrong side of the digital divide, and 2) supporting the deployment of new technologies (like Internet of Thing (IoT) technologies) that the City hopes to leverage to improve safety, services, and quality of life. 

Below are summaries of the three partnerships negotiated with the individual telecommunication companies:

• Verizon: Verizon plans to deploy small cells, install fiber, and upgrade several macro cell towers as part of the company’s ongoing investments in its 4G LTE network. These wireless and fiber investments will support service to visitors, residents and businesses, and build the foundation for future advanced technologies. Additionally, Verizon is working with the City to pilot and deploy a number of smart city solutions focused on traffic management. Verizon will also help the City to advance digital equity through support of their newly established Digital Inclusion Fund. 

“Verizon welcomes the opportunity to work with forward-thinking civic leaders, like Mayor Liccardo and the San Jose city council, to transform technology infrastructure to support the needs of citizens and businesses today and lay the groundwork for future innovation,” said Lauren Love-Wright, Vice President Network Engineering at Verizon. “San Jose can be a model for other municipalities in both their support of innovation and investments in digital inclusion.”

• AT&T: In April, AT&T and the City of San Jose announced a strategic collaboration for the deployment of small cells. Today, AT&T and the City are expanding their relationship to a full public-private partnership that will foster the creation of a Smart City and bolster San Jose’s place as the most innovative city in the heart of Silicon Valley. AT&T plans to engage in a pilot with San Jose to trial a multitude of AT&T Smart Cities solutions, that may include LED Smart Lighting, public Wi-Fi, AT&T Digital Infrastructure and Structure Monitoring. AT&T will also be deploying thousands of additional small cells to enhance existing voice and data capacity while laying the foundation for standards-based mobile 5G service. 

“As the leader in Smart Cities technology since 2015, we know connectivity is the foundation for innovation. San Jose will utilize our cutting-edge Smart Cities solutions to help create a more efficient, safer and sustainable environment for the people who live there,” said Michael Zeto, VP of AT&T IoT and General Manager of Smart Cities. “And with this solid small cell foundation in place, AT&T plans to begin introducing standards-based, mobile 5G service in parts of San Jose in the first half of 2019 – creating the ultimate Smart City ecosystem.”

• Mobilitie: Mobilitie will deploy small cells throughout San Jose to bring enhanced connectivity today to all residents, visitors and businesses, including those in traditionally under-served areas, as well as establish a foundation for 5G and next-generation wireless services in the future.

“5G and the Internet of Things will have a tremendous economic impact, and we commend San Jose for taking action to move infrastructure forward and lay a foundation for next-gen wireless services in the Bay Area, a hotbed of intellectual capital in this country,” said Christos Karmis, President and CEO of Mobilitie. 

“We’re thrilled to enter these premier partnerships with AT&T and Verizon to create Smart City Innovation Zones, which make it possible for the City to pilot, learn, and scale solutions that will benefit San Jose residents, businesses, and guests,” said Dolan Beckel, the City of San Jose’s Director of Innovation. “Through these innovation zones, we’ll take important steps towards improving mobility, transportation, and parking throughout San Jose, as well as increasing public safety, energy efficient lighting, community Wi-Fi, and connectivity and device support for our digitally underserved communities.” 

The City Council will consider these agreements at its June 26 meeting. According to the terms of the lease agreements, each company will be required to comply with the City’s public noticing process before installing a small cell on any of the City’s light poles. Each small cell will also have to meet the City’s established design standards, which restrict the size and placement of each installation (view an image of a standard design for one of these small cell installations). 

The City has also initiated work on creating a strategic plan for its Digital Inclusion Fund and is scheduled to return to the City Council later this year to present its recommendations on potential investments and spending priorities for the Digital Inclusion Fund. 

“Ensuring all our residents, especially our youth, have access to the Internet to learn, grow, and develop skills for the jobs of tomorrow is imperative to combatting growing inequality in our city,” said Shireen Santosham, Chief Innovation Officer for Mayor Liccardo. “The Digital Inclusion Fund offers critical resources to close the connectivity, device, and digital literacy gaps in the city that will ultimately expand opportunities and make our community stronger.”