Use proposed I-14 to bring 5G to Brazos County

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Historically, cell phone networks were built-out in urban areas and along significant highways.

Madison, Brazos, Robertson, Milam, Bell Counties are strategically located in central Texas. Let’s collectively use our local segment of proposed I-14 for getting 5G built-out as quickly as possible between I-45 and I-35.

Instead of gaps in service, seamless communications capabilities are needed along this “forts to ports” thoroughfare. With precious few new interstate highways under construction, this is a great opportunity to develop best practices blending old and new transportation and communications corridors.

Texas A&M, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Texas A&M - Central Texas, TEEX, TSTC, Blinn, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc. might join forces with various local governments. Use this five-county stretch of under-development highway as a laboratory. Develop a template that could be used in other parts of America.

The Trump Administration and the Federal Communications Commission recently announced a 10-year, $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. Let’s work together regionally to use some of that money to improve local communications capabilities.

5G is important to us personally as consumers. It will enable existing businesses to expand. It is also important since future economic developments will likely follow emerging digital networks and highways.

The Brazos Valley Council of Governments is already installing a COGNET fiber loop that will initially link health care and public service facilities in a multi-county region. That, however, is just one small step in helping locals avail themselves of Information Age technologies.

Enhanced economic development is a selling point for proposed I-14. Vehicle flow is the primary goal. Information flow should be a secondary goal to serve military communications needs as well as help our area bridge the digital divide.

Kent Brunette

Robertson County Economic Development & Crossroads Reports

Hearne

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