Owners should partner with 5G operators – TechCrunch

The race to roll out 5G infrastructure has unlocked a new use for rooftops in restaurants, hotels, residential buildings, and even hospitals and churches. These rooftops are quickly becoming prime real estate targets for telecommunications leaders wishing to implement 5G technology in densely populated areas.

In fact, next-gen wireless deployments are positioned to be one of the largest rental revenue distributors in the United States over the next five years, creating a seismic opportunity for owners and other business owners.

The Biden administration has made expanding the country’s 5G infrastructure a national priority. The $ 1.2 trillion bipartite infrastructure package allocates $ 65 billion in funding to expand broadband coverage to rural and underserved communities. Despite its speed and power compared to other wireless technologies, 5G has a much shorter range, reaching only around 1,500 feet.

5G technology is particularly suitable for deployment on the roofs of existing buildings due to the reduced antenna heights for the next generation wireless network.

In addition to the major wireless communications providers, new entrants in the 5G rollout race include traditional cable companies and big tech companies. Together, these companies are expected to invest an additional $ 275 billion to deploy their 5G macro and small cell sites. The only effective and efficient way to deploy the large amount of required deployment sites is to take advantage of existing buildings. In other words, the solution to the 5G race is to adopt a rooftop deployment strategy.

Historically, the wireless communications market has been difficult to navigate for real estate and other business owners. Wireless carriers and tower companies have in the past entered into long-term agreements that were often less than beneficial to the owner.

In many communities, there is strong opposition to the construction of new towers and, furthermore, the process of construction, zoning and authorization can take a long time. However, 5G technology is particularly suitable for deployment on the rooftops of existing buildings due to the reduced antenna heights for the next generation wireless network. Today, major institutional owners of commercial buildings are in a better position than tower operators to provide operators with a faster and more efficient solution for their real estate needs wirelessly.

A rooftop deployment strategy presents a mutually beneficial solution for the 5G operator and the owner. Carriers are achieving their goal of deploying their infrastructure as quickly as possible in high traffic areas, while homeowners are enjoying the financial benefits of leasing their rooftops and monetizing their existing buildings in new ways.

The impact on net operating income for property owners and the income generated over the term of a potentially 30-year lease can be significant, increasing their access to capital. In addition to receiving payments in exchange for renting its roof from the carrier, landlords are also able to provide better services to tenants through high-speed broadband connectivity.

The challenges of the race to deploy 5G

Deploying 5G infrastructure is critically important for the United States to keep pace and remain competitive internationally. While 5G is about faster connectivity, increased capacity, and zero latency, it is primarily about driving innovation that will enable a range of commercial services from autonomous vehicles and the expansion of telehealth to technology. efficiency in manufacturing and agriculture and improving supply chain management.

With all of these benefits taken into account, 5G is expected to contribute more than $ 1.5 trillion to U.S. GDP by 2025.

The Biden administration has also identified 5G technology and universal broadband as an economic equalizer for rural America. Rural Americans are more than 10 times more likely to lack reliable internet access compared to urban residents, according to policy statements.

In the recently signed infrastructure law, the President and Congress prioritized investments in rural broadband infrastructure to bridge this digital divide, expanding internet access to these underserved areas. Because of this focus, homeowners with properties in rural areas could benefit more from the expansion of 5G infrastructure.

The road to establishing a strong 5G network across the United States will be long. While this should not be a deterrent, property owners who partner with 5G providers and wireless carriers should also be educated and aware of the cybersecurity considerations of the technology when they host the infrastructure and offer the wireless network. wire to their tenants.

In a recent Aon survey of more than 2,300 risk managers and other executives, cyber risk was ranked # 1 for current and predicted future risks globally. Increased connectivity and 5G are the future, which means the cybersecurity industry must continue to innovate and expand its use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve defenses.

We have also seen the creation of organizations such as Building Cyber ​​Security to help provide guidance and a framework to improve cybersecurity resilience in the real estate industry.

For property owners to effectively monetize their rooftops and participate in the 5G race, government and the private sector must continue to work collaboratively on rapid deployment of 5G infrastructure, including timely review of applications. 5G installation.

In addition, more work is needed at the national and local levels to improve the zoning and authorization process for the deployment of 5G antennas. Many state legislatures are already considering legislation to better address and develop a 5G strategy for their constituencies, which would also provide new opportunities for owners.

There is more political and technical work to be done to fuel the 5G race, but the income opportunity for homeowners is immediate and tangible. For restaurateurs or hoteliers rebounding from the economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic, monetizing their roofs could be the difference between closing their windows and making a profit.

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