Air Force Advances 5G Network Connectivity; AT&T’s Mike Leff Quoted

Mike Leff

The U.S. Air Force is partnering with telecommunications companies such as Verizon and AT&T to advance the adoption of the 5G wireless network technology to increase bandwidth and network speed in support of missions, the Air Force Magazine reported.

The service chose Verizon for a contract to install 5G infrastructure at 10 military bases, including Moody Air Force Base in Georgia and Shaw AFB in South Carolina.

Frank Koniecz­n­­y, chief technology officer of the Air Force, said AT&T and Verizon are expected to compete for the next group of bases stretching from California to North Dakota.

The report said the Air Force also aims to pursue a totally wireless network infrastructure through enterprise IT as a service.

“We view it as a platform to explore how the Air Force can ultimately benefit from the power of 5G and a network that delivers faster speeds and response times,” Mike Leff, vice president for defense at AT&T, said of wireless infrastructure. “We can explore the future potential for a massive number of smart connections that can enable new mission capabilities like never before.”

The military branch has outsourced IT support services to Microsoft and AT&T under EITaaS and both companies will use commercial products to build a secure data network at six bases, including Buckley AFB in Colorado and Offutt AFB in Nebraska. Leff said those bases should have 5G connectivity as early as 2021 or 2022.

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