Jeanne Holm, Senior Technology Advisor to the Mayor and Deputy CIO, City of Los Angeles, outlines the importance of using infrastructure efficiently and collaborating with the telecom industry to get more residents connected.
Los Angeles was one of the first cities to see 5G launch, beginning with 5G home broadband and now expanding to mobile services.
Jeanne Holm, Senior Technology Advisor to the Mayor and Deputy CIO, City of Los Angeles, shares her takeaways for other cities.
Holm said: “The most important thing for us was to be able to get more people connected and more households connected to be part of the new digital economy, and to get kids into jobs that are part of that future economy.”
Around 2016, the City of LA formed a Connectivity and Digital Inclusion Working Group to “think differently about what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it.”
“And then we talked to telecommunication companies and asked them what they needed to be able to be part of this,” Holm said.
“5G has made such a difference in Los Angeles and continues to make a big difference for both our citizens and our businesses.”
Telecom industry representatives told the city they needed it to be faster and cheaper to roll out 5G.
“We found out that our costs were some of the lowest in the country for attaching small cell devices to power poles and streetlights," Holm noted. "And then we worked really hard to make it a much faster process – we increased by almost 50 times the permitting we did by making some small strategic investments in our bureau of street lighting.”
“5G has made such a difference in Los Angeles and continues to make a big difference for both our citizens and our businesses," Holm said.
She shared these takeaways for other cities:
“The first is work with the telecommunication providers. Sometimes it feels we’re like on opposite sides of the fence, and that’s OK around certain kinds of national legislation. But at the same time, we really need to work with them because very few of us actually run municipal broadband services.
“So understanding what their needs are in a way that complements the needs of your citizens and businesses is really important.”
Secondly, she noted the importance of using infrastructure efficiently.
“Take a serious look and evaluate what kind of infrastructure you need and how you’re going to use that infrastructure,” she said.
She explained: “When you deploy 5G small cells, think about also deploying small sensors for air quality, traffic, pedestrian count, different kinds of things like Shotspotter and different technologies that will help you be a smart city. Therefore, just touch each pole once and get lots of value out of it.”
“Take a serious look and evaluate what kind of infrastructure you need and how you’re going to use that infrastructure."
Finally, she added that collaboration is essential.
"Really work with other cities in the region to think about how 5G is getting deployed and what it means. Think about more than just getting more households connected and making sure that those households have access to digital literacy training. We offer it through our LA public libraries," she said.
LA also works with organisations such as Verizon and the local Chamber of Commerce to support 5G-enabled enterprise and create a tech talent pipeline.
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