During the coronavirus pandemic, discussions about gaps in network connectivity and the “digital divide” have been front and center as telecom companies race to deliver 5G around the globe. On Monday, AT&T announced that it was selected by the University of Connecticut (UConn) to build a private 5G network on the Stamford Lab campus.
“5G is a real game changer. Access to ultra-fast wireless speeds is critical to our economic future for business and residents of our state,” said Connecticut Governor, Ned Lamont. “The work with AT&T is another step in setting the groundwork for future capabilities that will help unlock new economic development opportunities for Connecticut and UConn Stamford.”
Bringing 5G to campus
As part of the collaboration, AT&T and the university plan to bring 5G+ millimeter-wave and Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) to the Stamford campus. Supported by StamfordNext and CTNext, AT&T said deploying 5G on the campus will “bolster” the UConn Stamford Data Science Initiative comprised of the UConn Technology Incubation Program (TIP Digital), Stamford Start-up Studio and efforts related to a “soon to be hired” data science research team.
The high-speed connectivity and MEC computing capabilities will enable “near real-time, ultra-high bandwidth” as well as “ultra-low latency access” to mobile apps and connect users (students, faculty and partners) on a private network, the release said.
“Leading universities like UConn Stamford are utilizing 5G to empower students and faculty to innovate and make learning come alive in the most extraordinary ways. There’s no better place for 5G to be explored than on college campuses with our next generation of leaders,” said Anne Chow, CEO, AT&T Business.
Supporting entrepreneurs and tech incubator
The new 5G lab is expected to support a number of use cases including an entrepreneurship and innovation co-op program that will help “budding entrepreneurs” learn to develop “early-stage products and technology” in construction and real estate, according to the release.
Additionally, AT&T said this infrastructure will help entrepreneurs “unleash innovation and transform business operations” and develop collaboration opportunities to support minority- and women-owned business innovators at the university and across Connecticut.
The network infrastructure will help analyze data efficiently and support TIP Digital startups. Noted use cases include assessing patient data in real-time and enhanced meteorological monitoring for swift power outage response.
“In UConn’s hands, ultra-fast, reliable connectivity will open doors of opportunity for students, businesses and the community, enabling innovation in countless areas,” said John Emra, President, AT&T New England Region.
AT&T expects the 5G Lab build-out to be complete by “late summer.”