The 5G buildout could mean big money for landowners

Tech leaders state the world of 5G is the next big thing. It will lead to increased connectivity and reduced lag time.

But local counties are pushing back. Why? Like its 4G predecessor, these forms of technology do not just magically appear. Physical infrastructure is necessary to make this invisible innovation possible. When working with 4G, the infrastructure generally required the use of large towers. The 5G system is different. The 5G system cannot travel long distances, like its predecessor. As a result, the 5G system requires a denser infrastructure. Essentially, this system requires more units compared to the 4G system.

These systems are smaller than their 4G counterparts. They are small cells, approximately the size of a backpack. Providers would scatter these cells throughout various locations to better ensure coverage. In most cases, this requires the use of locally owned public land. To use this land, providers must generally receive permission from the local government.

In Connecticut, expansion into the 5G market will require the installation of these cells on state, municipal and private land. Critics have voiced concern that the efforts could lead to crowding of cells. Co-location could be an answer.

Co-location allows multiple providers to use the same site for their cells. It is currently used with the 4G system and may work the 5G as well. This could lead to a reduction in the number of cell locations without reducing the strength of coverage. It could also mean private landowners could receive payment from more than one provider for offering one location to set up a cell.