Verizon this week promised to invest $300 million over the next six years to lay 800 miles of FiOS cable in Boston, providing newfound competition for Comcast in a major market for fiber-to-the-home.
And the carrier's ambitious 5G plans are one reason it chose Bean Town.
Verizon has already begun testing 5G at its headquarters in Basking Ridge, N.J., and in February it disclosed plans to conduct 5G tests at 28 GHz with Samsung in a Dallas suburb. CEO Lowell McAdam said in December that it would launch pilot programs in Boston, New York and San Francisco early in 2016 before beginning to deploy it commercially later this year.
Verizon is also developing and testing 5G at its innovation center in the Boston suburb of Waltham. The 5G network would support speeds 200 times faster than the 5 Mbps generally available on the carrier's LTE network, McAdam said at the time.
The Boston FiOS deployment will enable Verizon to install antennas on utility poles, densifying its network through small cells to improve coverage. And the fiber will serve as a backbone for the 5G network in the city, Bob Mudge, president of Verizon's wireline network operations, told the Boston Herald.
A Verizon representative told FierceWireless that the carrier uses fiber for both backhaul and fronthaul at its cell sites, and will continue to expand its fiber network both for 4G and to lay the foundation for 5G.
The nation's largest carrier has been outspoken about its 5G plans in recent months, however, vowing to become the first U.S. operator to roll out next-generation services as early as next year. Such claims have drawn criticism from T-Mobile executives such as CFO Braxton Carter, who last month said Verizon's eagerness to deploy 5G is likely because the carrier is struggling to support ever-increasing data traffic on its network.
- see this Boston Herald report
T-Mobile's Carter: Data traffic forcing Verizon to hastily move to 5G
T-Mobile execs call Verizon's 5G claims 'BS'
Verizon notches 1.52M net adds in Q4, vows to be first to deploy 5G
Verizon's McAdam: 5G speeds will be up to 1 Gbps and will be live at Verizon HQ in January
This article was updated April 13 to add comment from Verizon.