A few years ago, who would have imagined a world full of self-driving cars? Virtual worlds, augmented realities, machine-learning or the popularity of smart home applications? So many buzz words have now seeped into our common language and experience thanks to the lightning speed and ultimate mobility that fiber optic and wireless broadband provide us. The future is here and it’s exciting to think about how our “Gig City” is preparing for the next phase of connectivity —5G and the “Tactile Internet.”

The next-generation 5G network allows for ubiquitous mobile services and massive Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, whether a home security system, robotic vacuum, smart grid or virtual power plant.

As our imaginations run wild, we can plan for that exciting and uncertain future.”

The 5G world enables a faster, better and more intuitive internet experience for individuals and businesses. I think it’s fair to say cities that prioritize 5G will see a huge economic boon in terms of attracting companies and people, which leads to vibrant, thriving communities.

The “Tactile Internet” of the future offers no or very little lag time, plentiful availability, reliability and security—all critical for applications such as industrial IoT and next-gen manufacturing, remote surgery or autonomous vehicles operations. Not to mention, a whole generation of gamers require responsiveness and agility to compete and conquer!

As we build and develop our connectivity, we spark new ideas and ways of doing things which fuels and feeds our imaginations in an evolutionary cycle that will expand beyond what we can imagine. And, as our imaginations run wild, we can plan for that exciting and uncertain future, today.

For example, the average autonomous car will use four terabytes of data a day. That’s like downloading 1,000 HD movies a day—and for just one car! How will our bandwidth support all of these cars and the IoT world of robot chefs, energy management systems and wearable technologies of the future?

This poses a huge opportunity and challenge for the gig cities of the future seeking to be on the cutting edge of attracting companies and people in need of faster, affordable and dependable internet service. Building out a fiber infrastructure today enables a fully-connected 5G world of tomorrow.

The average autonomous car will use four terabytes of data a day. That’s like downloading 1,000 HD movies a day.”

“Smart Cities” are at the forefront of this broadband evolution, applying connected technology to urban traffic management, parking meters, street lights and more. Cities that are going “smart” are seeing population growth attributed to the resulting increase in economic activity, improved transportation efficiency and an overall enhanced quality-of-life for citizens.

ADTRAN believes in bringing the world together to advance human progress by transforming the way we live, work and play. We believe broadband enables reinvention and reinvigoration and are committed to helping communities start their journey toward creating “smart” cities of the future.


About the Author:  With more than 25 years in the telecom industry, Gary Bolton joined ADTRAN in 2008 as vice president of global marketing. ADTRAN is a leading global provider of networking and communications equipment, headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama. In his role, Gary is responsible for all aspects of marketing for the company worldwide as well as regulatory and government affairs. Bolton has been highly involved in Washington, influencing the FCC and congressional proceedings such as broadband stimulus, the National Broadband Plan and USF Reform. He is also very involved in ADTRAN’s local community, serving as the Board Chair of the Huntsville Madison County Chamber and as an adjunct professor in the College of Business at the University of Alabama. Prior to joining ADTRAN, Gary held executive management positions in a number of high tech start-ups as well as large publicly traded companies in marketing and product line management. He holds an M.B.A. from Duke University and a B.S. in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University.

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