By Conor White
The race to build vast 5G networks may bring the promise of faster internet speeds and greater connectivity, but it's also sparked some controversy.
One source of complaint: those who shout "NIMBY", or Not in My Backyardーresidents who fear that their towns and lives will be disrupted as such vast infrastructures get built.
Melissa Arnoldi, president of technology and operations for AT&T, told Cheddar that those concerns can be assuaged. She pointed to an upcoming project in San Jose, Calif.ーwhere the company partnered with the city to ensure a smooth, safe transitionーas an example.
"We [said], 'Look, we will make sure that the equipment we deploy meets their standards, we will make sure it's not obtrusive to the consumers, and that it's deployed in a very safe way.'"
The San Jose agreement follows similar protests in the state. Residents of Piedmont, Calif., have been [fighting against] (https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/01/25/consumerwatch-5g-cellphone-towers-signal-renewed-concerns-over-impacts-on-health/) new cell towers for months, citing health concerns.
But locals aren't the only ones raising issue. Recent reports suggest that 5G could create a Wi-Fi gap, favoring those in urban cities over people who live in rural areas. According to the FCC, 31 percent of rural Americans still don't have fixed broadband service, compared to just 2 percent of city residents, and some fear that divide could get worse with new technology.
But AT&T said in a press release last week that a greater 5G presence will actually bridge that disparity. Expanding to cities like Charlotte and Raleigh, NC, and Oklahoma City by the end of 2018 is one way the company hopes to do that.
The wireless giant's push for 5G only intensified after AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, now known as WarnerMedia, in June.
"One of the key case uses for 5G will be 4K and 8K," explained Arnoldi. "So when you think about transmitting, for example, we did a trial with the U.S. Open on 4K, where we could actually help them broadcast signalsーlive broadcastsーwithout any wires."
John Stankey, CEO of WarnerMedia, has already promised the company will be aggressive in delivering new content to consumers, a necessary move in light of reports that rival Verizon is negotiating with Apple and Google to stream live TV. Verizon is also plotting its own 5G expansion around the country, signifying the rising tide of competition.
Arnoldi said she's optimisticーand excitedーabout the company's future.
"I think if you look at the content we have access to from a WarnerMedia perspective and the technology that AT&T Communications has, I think we're going to have a lot of exciting use cases in the future."
For full interview, [click here] (https://cms.cheddar.com/videos/VmlkZW8tMjEwOTg=).