Las Vegas taps NTT for ‘largest’ open private 5G network – to drive innovation, revenue
Japan-based NTT has expanded an already-major private LTE and 5G project in the City of Las Vegas, in Nevada in the US, by leading a vendor collective to double the number of network access points across the city, and also to open the infrastructure to third-party access points and end-user devices. NTT said the work will make the city-wide 5G network “the most extensive private network” in the US, as well as “the largest open, municipal CBRS deployment”.
Which, it might be suggested, sounds like what California-based private network provider Terranet Communications said a year ago, having installed the “largest private municipal LTE/5G network” in the US – in record time, it said, with rollout across Las Vegas in 45 days. The original Vegas setup was delivered, in the first instance, to connect students and educational institutions in the city, but was pegged for other “community assets”, too.
Whether Terranet Communications is involved in the network extension, or remains involved at all, is unclear from a press statement, issued as the City of Las Vegas hosts the stateside version of Mobile World Congress (MWC) – and NTT shows the network off, alongside key vendor partners like private cellular core system specialist Celona. NTT, which has been supplying IoT for traffic flow and municipal security to the city since 2018, describes itself as the “lead in a multi-party, multi-phase project” in the city.
The expanded network is geared for “local businesses, government, and educational institutions”, said NTT. More particularly, it is geared for innovation, so that these entities, and others, can design and deliver new smart-city services. Nominally, these will be directed towards “remote learning” support for the local education sector, security cameras for law enforcement, and remote healthcare and services for residents.
Clark County School District is already engaged on the first, for remote learning; private and public sector spaces – like parks, traffic venues, and city streets – will host new motion-sensing cameras to help with the second, to police incidents and congestion; and local residents will be availed of new and improved “telehealth” services, said NTT. With all, the real news is that the network is to be rendered as an open platform.
NTT is to manage the infrastructure, and “customize network services to fit varying requirements for existing and new applications”, it said. This customisation can involve “full-stack, edge, or smart solutions”, it added – meaning, presumably, NTT is offering, either alone or with partners, a gamut of telecoms services, with a dial-up/down menu for “security, control, and privacy”, plus edge-cloud and cloud-cloud IT functions, and a range of IoT applications.
Alongside the core network, which NTT plugs into, California startup Celona is providing a “software-defined operational model that can track key performance indicators for an open ecosystem of market-leading device and app providers” – which sounds like a cloud management system to monitor and control hardware and software on the Las Vegas city network. NTT called the facility “key”.
NTT stated: “Unlike most CBRS deployments, which are in-building or industrial, this network extends across public spaces. It is also the first network of its size to be open to third-party access points and end-user devices. It puts Las Vegas well on the path to becoming a technology hub for citizens and organizations within the city limits.”
NTT said the network will develop as “a framework for revenue generation” as new use cases are loaded onto it. Las Vegas will be able to monetise the network as a shared infrastructure, effectively, it said – and run its own “network maintenance, expansion, and enhancement” at the same time. “This network model, and the new services and applications, can be replicated and marketed respectively in cities across the US,” it stated.
Shahid Ahmed, group executive vice president of new ventures and innovation at NTT, said: “[It] will… be a model for cities and businesses worldwide… It will be the largest open, municipal network CBRS deployment in the US… Local organizations can use their own devices and develop their applications on the network. City-wide, residents and visitors will receive improved connectivity, safety and security, and access to healthcare and other critical services.”
Michael Sherwood, chief innovation officer for the city, said: “Our goal is always to make the city of Las Vegas the best possible community for residents and visitors by enhancing education, workforce development, and safety. To do this, we needed to expand our wireless capabilities and city-wide connectivity and that is why [we] chose NTT… NTT is helping enable the City of Las Vegas to become an important technology hub and strong economic base.”
Meanwhile, NTT has also unveiled a packaged 5G and IoT bundle – under the brand Net-Zero Action Architecture, available as-a-service – at MWC to help enterprises meet sustainability targets. The service includes the company’s private 5G, edge computing, and IoT solutions, all geared to calculate and deliver energy efficiency. It quotes a recent Fortune 500 survey that says 58 percent of big firms have targeted net-zero emissions by 2050.
But McKinsey estimates it will take $9.2 trillion of aggregated annual capital expense to achieve 2050 goals, and NTT said the same firms are “under-resourced and underfunded, or are unable to consistently capture accurate data fit for purpose”. Its net-zero service package – also bundling in digital twin, machine learning, and tech consultancy products – looks to make this easier, through remote environmental monitoring (IoT sensing), twinning and dashboarding (AI sense-making), and automation and control (decision-making), ultimately.
NTT called it “the industry’s first full-stack sustainability as-a-service offering”. Devin Yaung, group senior vice president for enterprise IoT products and services at NTT, said it will help enterprises to “proactively limit climate incidents, respond in real-time with automated resolutions, and accurately measure their environmental impact in communications with regulators, employees, and other stakeholders.”