The city of San Jose is shaping up as a public relations battle ground for AT&T and Verizon as they race to deploy small cells to support their networks and smart city solutions to support municipalities. Today both carriers shared announcements about their progress in San Jose, a city which has been called "the capital of Silicon Valley."
AT&T and San Jose have added a public-private partnership to their existing small cell agreement. The new agreement calls for San Jose to trial AT&T's smart city solutions. AT&T's digital infrastructure, which the company has described as a "smartphone for cities," is connected hardware with integrated sensors that can be attached to lamp posts to capture information about the environment. AT&T said the solutions it plans to trial with San Jose may include LED smart lighting, public Wi-Fi, digital infrastructure and structure monitoring.
The carrier also indicated San Jose will not be one of its launch cities for mobile 5G this year, saying AT&T's mobile 5G is scheduled to come to San Jose in 2019.
“We’re excited that San Jose residents will soon be able to take advantage of AT&T’s enhanced network and look forward to continuing our partnership with AT&T to lay the foundation for next generation connectivity,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in a statement.
Liccardo also made an announcement with Verizon today, thanking the carrier for its "large investment towards improving service for our residents and businesses, and for their sizable contribution into our digital inclusion fund."
Verizon will also fund telematics service for San Jose's vehicle fleet. The carrier has recently consolidated its three telematics businesses—Verizon Telematics, Fleetmatics and Telogis—into one unit called Verizon Connect.
The upside for Verizon is access to city streets and infrastructure to enable the carrier to upgrade its wireless network with small cells. Verizon plans to deploy fiber in San Jose, which it will use to connect small cells that it will attach to city light poles. In addition, the carrier plans to supply San Jose with three smart city solutions, which it says will be "focused on intersection safety, traffic data and parking space management."
Verizon's arrangement with San Jose follows a public-private partnership with the city of Sacramento, which is giving residents of California's capital new fiber lines, Wi-Fi in public parks and smart traffic solutions.
Mayor Liccardo said the deals with both carriers will have similar benefits for the citizens of San Jose.
“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,” the mayor said.
Liccardo has been a champion of affordable broadband on the national stage, serving for a period of time on the FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. He resigned from that committee early this year, saying that the group's model code for municipalities favored industry interests over those of citizens who lack broadband access.