North of the Border, 150,000 Skilled Tradespeople Will Make 5G a Reality

In a recent report, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) estimates the implementation of 5G will create more than 150,000 short-term jobs — including construction positions — between 2020 and 2026. Companies will invest an estimated $26 billion to bring the networks to functionality, reported the Daily Commercial News.

Canada’s current cellular network is supported by approximately 33,000 macro towers over 200 feet tall. CWTA estimates a 5G rollout will require many more precisely located small cell sites, an estimated 273,000, that will cover areas of only 50 to 100 feet in diameter and will be affixed to lamp posts and utility poles. The CWTA said they still have not settled on a suitable permitting process to streamline their installation.

According to Rikin Thakker, a member of the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) Innovation and Technology Council and vice-president of telecommunications and spectrum policy at the U.S. Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council, “The first iteration of 5G is being built on the backbone of 4G. We refer to this first phase of 5G as the non-standalone standard, with U.S. providers set to begin marketing their services as early as next year.” 

Thakker, who’s also an engineering professor in the Master’s program at the University of Maryland, notes until now, 4G base station towers relied on physical coaxial cables to connect the base stations to the antenna at the tower. However, some base stations are now crowded with equipment from multiple service providers and the cables are becoming obtrusive.

As towers are upgraded, these will be replaced by lighter, more efficient fiber optic cables. Contractors will also be reconfiguring “fronthaul” cabling, reported the Daily Commercial News.

Joe Mullin, a member of WIA’s Innovation and Technology Council and CTO of tower and infrastructure company InSite Wireless Group added, “For any contractor working in the wireless communication field, 5G will provide a lot of work — both indoors and out.”

August 8, 2018

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