5G Is Promising….But Who Will Build It?
by Josh Anderson
LOS ANGELES, CA — CapRE’s Seventh Annual Southwest Data Center Summit: The Telecom Evolution featured a deep dive into the Edge. Life on The Edge: The Advent of 5G, Micro Data Centers & Evolution of the Next Generation was a close-up interview with two leading industry insiders, moderated by a fellow insider. Below we highlight one of the first topics that the panel tackled – 5G.
“5G shows the greatest promise and it’s the new exciting term. But who is going to build it?” asked Moderator Luke Denmon, Senior Vice President of the Technology Solutions Practice at Colliers International. “Who is going to pay for it? A thousand times faster sounds really great but I’ve seen data that says as low as 6,000 new cell sites need to be developed to support that, a numbers that say 2 million new sites need to be developed. Because the pipe is really big and it travels faster, but it doesn’t travel as far. So what do we do about that?”
Michael Siteman, Director for Chapter Relations at 7×24 then offered a response. “That is such a good point because really what is lacking is the ubiquity. The ubiquity of the network,” he replied. “Not every place has great wireless service. Whether it’s Wifi or 4G or 5G, there are holes. How do you support the whole landscape, unless it’s really a homogenous market?”
At that point, an audience member chimed in with a follow up question. “Let me ask a question. Whether it’s 600,000 times or 2 million, people say it’s 5x as many as we have currently, which probably supports the idea that it’s over a million or somewhere in that neighborhood,” the enthusiastic member shared. “And it might not be feasible to build another million cell phone towers somewhere. So do you see that, like with distributed antenna systems, the corporate buildings, they become 5G, mobile, edge data centers, so to speak, leasing the space from Cushman and Wakefield or whomever owns the building?”
“I think that’s a very high probability,” replied Stover. “When I grew up, if you had a building with a T1 line in the basement in the 80s, then your building rocked. And it’s highly possible that micro data enters with 5 or 10 racks end up in the basement of every building. And I think you’ll see little devices on light poles and towers and all of the little green boxes that we see driving around the neighborhoods.”
“The scale and quantity of data that is going to be coming our way by all of these things that promise to improve our lives, dwarfs what we are seeing,” he predicted. “And we’re seeing that same growth right now — $28 Billion USD worth of hyperscale data centers was built in the last 12 months. And I think that’s just a fraction of what we’re talking about. That’s just to store your pictures and your videos and your Office 365.”
For more coverage of this panel, check out previous CapRE Insider Reports: