AT&T working with real estate company on 5G smart city in Virginia

Multiple cities across the US are incorporating 5G into every part of a municipality's infrastructure.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

AT&T and property developer JBG Smith announced a letter of intent to create a 5G Smart City at scale in National Landing, a community at the intersection of three neighborhoods in northern Virginia. 

AT&T and JBG Smith said the first "network infrastructure deployments" will be implemented early on in 2022. 

There has been significant investment into National Landing in recent years to try and revitalize the area, with Amazon announcing a move to the area in 2018. JBG Smith is working with Amazon on the project, helping the company build a 4.8 million square foot headquarters. The real estate company is also assisting Virginia Tech with a $1 billion Innovation Campus.

In a statement, AT&T said 5G could make National Landing "a prototype for smart cities of the future." Like other 5G smart cities popping up around the country, the National Landing site's use of 5G will incorporate self-driving vehicles, "immersive retail and entertainment," as well as automation and sustainability.  

Mo Katibeh, who leads AT&T's Network Infrastructure and Build, said the development of 5G, AI, cloud and edge technologies is "helping usher in the next level of how technology can improve lives." 

"Together with JBG SMITH, we intend to build a true smart city from the ground up that will allow future innovators to use AT&T's network to unlock new capabilities through city-wide edge solutions that can serve specific business locations and everyday users at home or on the go," Katibeh said. 

"This includes enabling immersive virtual and augmented reality and the massive IoT connections that will become a hallmark of National Landing as the most connected city in the country." 

JBG Smith currently controls about 6.8 million square feet of existing office space and 2,856 residential units. Another 808 units are currently under construction and more than 7 million square feet of additional commercial, multi-family and retail development opportunities are slated for the district. 

Matt Kelly, CEO of JBG Smith, said the goal of this collaboration with AT&T is to further enhance National Landing and create a neighborhood that provides entrepreneurs, universities, and global technology companies with the kind of digital infrastructure necessary to shape the future of some industries. 

"We want to equip innovators with the foundational amenities to revolutionize the way they work, giving them an edge above their competition and the confidence to choose National Landing as their home to ideate and innovate locally -- and scale globally," Kelly said. 

The companies explained that a "combination of mmWave and sub6 5G spectrum will be enabled by an interconnected series of building side-mounts, street furniture, and underground network infrastructure." There are already plans for the area to serve as a testing ground for a slate of defense, cybersecurity, cloud/edge computing, internet of things and AI tools.

The development even has the support of US Senator Mark Warner, who said he was "thrilled to see this collaboration of leading private sector organizations to promote 5G deployment."

"American competitiveness in the deployment of 5G networks -- and innovation in the emerging technologies 5G unlocks -- remain key to our national and economic security interest.  As a proud Virginian, I am excited to see National Landing emerge as our first 5G community – and I look forward to wider deployment across the Commonwealth," Warner said. 

"This collaboration can be a blueprint for how digital infrastructure is deployed, and I am heartened by the prospects of the innovation this may unlock to advance our country's competitiveness globally."

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