Syracuse, N.Y. — Verizon Wireless flipped the switch on its burgeoning 5G data network in Syracuse Wednesday, going live with high-speed cellular data for customers on the North and South sides of the city.
The launch comes a year-and-a-half after lawmakers approved a deal with Verizon that would let the wireless giant install 600 small cell towers on streetlights throughout the city.
The plan, which would make Syracuse one of the first cities in the country with a citywide 5G network, has been praised by Mayor Ben Walsh as critical to his Syracuse Surge economic development strategy.
Verizon’s 5G ultra wideband coverage launched Wednesday in several city neighborhoods along the South Salina Street corridor and on the North Side, from Little Italy to the western limits of Sedgwick.
David Weissman, a Verizon spokesman, said the company continues to expand the network into the rest of the city.
Walsh has said that 5G will help attract technology companies and give existing companies more room to grow.
“Syracuse is proud to be the first city in Upstate New York to secure 5G service,” Walsh said Wednesday. “…Moving forward with 5G is a huge competitive advantage for Syracuse and will help our city recover more quickly from the economic impact of the pandemic. It also provides vastly greater data capacity at a time that virtually every business and organization is relying more on online services to function remotely.”
Critics on the Common Council last year, however, questioned whether Verizon and the city were rushing to adopt a new technology for which not enough was known.
The ultra wideband data is available only outdoors in some cases, like the territory around St. Joseph’s Hospital.
5G offers download speeds several times fast than 4G. The technology decreases the time it takes for a signal to relay from a cellular device to a tower by using hyper-local small towers rather than huge towers that cover a large area.
See the full Verizon 5G coverage map here.