In short: AT&T has revealed a new partnership with the City of Los Angeles which will explore Smart City deployments and an expansion of both 5G and current networks through small cell installments to support them. For now, the company hasn't provided too many details with regard to what that might include and there's not a set timeline in place since things are still in the planning stages.
Background: The overall goal of the project is to make LA an IoT-driven hotspot for innovations in the market and to improve the lives of the city's residents and visitors. To that end, a new 'technology first' environment will be implemented, geared toward addressing concerns with public safety, traffic control, structural monitoring, and digital infrastructure management as well as expanding connectivity and empowering digital kiosks. None of that seems to differ from what has been seen in previous partnerships formed by AT&T. For example, the carrier is placing an emphasis on including expansions for its Band 14 network build-out in support of its FirstNet platform and associated technologies. Of course, that includes expansions to the LA Regional Interoperable Communications System. All of that will go in support of first-responders such firefighters and police departments in terms of improving both communications and intelligent emergency and natural disaster response.
Beyond supporting better communication and data access across wider areas and for more people, 5G and better 4G networks will also likely support the spread of IoT solutions seen in pilot cities such as Portland. That would include sensors for monitoring infrastructure, foot and vehicle traffic, and parking with alerts being sent to appropriate authorities if something crops up that needs to be addressed by responders. If AT&T follows other smart city integrations and those it has previously announced, it may also include smart lighting solutions, advanced utilities monitoring and controls via AI, and much more.
Impact: The company isn't clear on what its digital kiosks will include but does seem to place a lot of emphasis on network expansions. So there's a good chance that in addition to expanding its own network offering with better density and to new areas, the kiosks might serve as both informational hubs and hotspot connectivity centers. As a result, more residents and tourists or visitors will gain a deeper insight into what is going on in the city around them. At the same time, they'll gain better connectivity in general and issues with foot or vehicle traffic and similar problems might be prevented or more quickly addressed. First responders will be able to assess and respond to ongoing or emerging issues more comprehensively while city planning, utilities, and maintenance will likely be backed by AI and better monitoring.