Verizon believes its 5G network can bolster economic activity in Baltimore. But on a more individualized level, access to 5G should mean convenience for the average Baltimore citizen’s day-to-day routine, said Eric Fitzgerald Reed, Verizon’s state government affairs VP for public policy and local engagement in the east region.
“5G can make everything easier from an education, healthcare, personal, public safety and entertainment standpoint,” Reed said. “It can support and automate everything from buying coffee at your local shop in the morning to figuring out the best way to get to a Ravens game at night.”
In October 2020, Baltimore became the first city to have Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband connectivity in Maryland when Verizon made that service available in parts of downtown and in other parts of Baltimore County. At the same time, Baltimore was included in Verizon’s rollout of 5G Nationwide, which serves a larger population swath across the country.
Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service in Baltimore is Verizon’s fastest mobile connection and can handle data volumes substantially higher than 4G. In Baltimore, it’s available in parts of Inner Harbor, downtown, Power Plant Live! Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium, Towson University and Cockeysville, among other locations.
5G benefits any user with its fast connections, Reed said, but Verizon still wanted to ensure that all of Baltimore could access this new technology. For example, the company just recently launched On Site 5G, a secure network solution that can allow large enterprise and public sector customers to enjoy 5G wireless connections. Think robust wireless connectivity on university campuses or in manufacturing facilities to enhance operational efficiency.
The Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB) agrees that 5G will bolster current residents and businesses — as well as draw capital to the greater Baltimore region, said Michele Whelley, its president and CEO. The EAGB is a regional development and marketing organization that highlights the assets of Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Harford County and Howard County.
High-speed internet service is a draw for talented professionals interested in moving to Baltimore, Whelley said.
“The ability to market the fact that we have 5G is very, very important when trying to attract more talent and more capital because we are going to be competing with areas of the country that do have greater access to broadband,” Whelley added. “This initiative only strengthens the greater Baltimore region which is already so innovative.”
The EAGB’s market development assets focus on eight industry sectors in the greater Baltimore region: cybersecurity, life sciences, IT, logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture and energy. While it may be clear how 5G connectivity can bolster industries like IT or cybersecurity, Whelley said a high-speed internet connection benefits every business sector in Baltimore. Agriculture, for example, relies on drones and technology to keep track of cattle and crops. And a 2021 report by The Manufacturing Institute stated that 91% of all manufacturers believe 5G will be important to the future of their business. About 88% believe 5G will lead to new manufacturing processes.
Reed said Verizon also worked with the city from the planning phases of the 5G launch to ensure the company intentionally can build out access to its service throughout the city.
Overall, he said, 5G will allow more Baltimore citizens to access the internet for work, school, home and play.
“Baltimore is an important driver of the economic engine for the state of Maryland,” Reed said. “This city has residential and commercial interests, emerging tech, tourism, entertainment and a number of different industries that require robust connectivity 24/7. At the end of the day, we’re focused on creating a dynamic environment for digital inclusion, tech innovation, community prosperity and economic activity that will position Baltimore and the state of Maryland as innovation and technology leaders.”