The U.S. Air Force is looking to recruit companies to install cellular infrastructure on at least fifty more of its military bases. Verizon has already partnered with ten bases across six different states and is continuing its 5G rollout, reports GCN.com. Bringing high capacity LTE service to cellular users will be the first step on the march to advancing 5G. The full solicitation can be seen here.
In what it refers to as “fence-to-fence coverage,” the Air Force is making it easier for providers to add outdoor small cell antennas to the leased property within the base to improve the level of connectivity. The process includes a government Lease for Cellular Infrastructure that will allow a provider to operate at no cost to the government. The solicitation reads: “The goal is to team with commercial industry for the installation of additional cellular infrastructure to deliver expanded coverage and increased capacity on Air Force bases. To ensure all bases receive enhanced cellular coverage and capacity, the Air Force is grouping bases into regions and evaluating commercial lease opportunities to identify the best solution for each region. This opportunity is focused on Phase II USAF Midwest, which includes 20 installations ranging from Arizona up to North Dakota.”
LTE, and eventually 5G, coverage is expected to include benefits to base personnel such as better coverage for those servicing and maintaining aircraft. Air Force office staff, hospitals, and retail businesses, as well as families housed on the base would all have access to the improved coverage. Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida is the prototype for the “smart base of the future,” a project that the military and AT&T are continuing to develop together.