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AT&T and JBG Smith have plans for a 5G-powered smart city in National Landing

A new 5G network is in the works for the neighborhood that includes Amazon HQ2. It's the latest way that tech is shaping the Northern Virginia neighborhood.

An illustration of the smart city at National Landing. (Photo courtesy of JBG Smith)

Amazon HQ2 development partner JBG SMITH is taking its tech-powered plans for Crystal City, Virginia, one step further: the real estate investment fund just inked a letter of intent with AT&T to develop a smart city powered by a 5G network in the National Landing neighborhood.

The compamies plan to build a new 5G network in National Landing, which is the area that includes HQ2 and the forthcoming Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. The infrastructure, the pair said, will allow businesses and residents to connect devices anywhre in the area to wireless coverage. JBG SMITH and AT&T signed a letter of intent Tuesday and expect to sign a more definitive agreement in the coming weeks.

In a statement, AT&T and JBG SMITH said that a combo of mmWave and sub6 5G spectrum will be available via a series of connected building side mounts, street furniture and an underground infrastructure network. The first network infrastructure offerings are scheduled for the first half of 2022. They are slated to expand as the community develops, with potential to bolster self-driving vehicles, tech-powered retail and entertainment, plus automated buildings.

The goal of the 5G smart city, which AT&T called the country’s first, is to create an innovation hub and prototype for others looking to build smart cities. The pair said that the National Landing Smart City will be a canvas for innovation in defense, cybersecurity, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence.

Mo Katibeh, the leader of AT&T’s network infrastructure and build team, said the plans include enabling virtual and augmented reality, as well as connections that will allow devices beyond phones and computers to collect and share data.

“The development of 5G, AI, cloud and edge technologies is helping usher in the next level of how technology can improve lives,” Katibeh said in a statement. “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.”

According to JBG SMITH, the collaboration and subsequent smart city build will bolster the tools available for technologists in the area, and show what 5G can offer to industries and government. JBG is already a key player at National Landing, owning over 6.8 million square feet of commercial, residential and office space in the area. On top of its Amazon partnership, the company is also a master developer for the VT Innovation Campus.

“The goal of this collaboration with AT&T is to further enhance National Landing and create the only neighborhood that provides entrepreneurs, universities, and global technology companies the digital infrastructure necessary to shape the future of their industries,” JBG SMITH CEO Matt Kelly said in a statement. “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.”

Companies: Amazon / AT&T

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