Mar 11 2021

Peachtree Corners, Ga., Teams Up with T-Mobile to Test 5G

The partnership at the town’s Curiosity Lab will focus on autonomous vehicle testing and other use cases for the technology.

Peachtree Corners, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta that has become a test bed for smart cities, is partnering with wireless carrier T-Mobile to push those experiments further in the realm of 5G wireless networks.

Last month, the Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, a 5G-enabled living laboratory for smart city and Internet of Things testing, unveiled a 5G incubator program in partnership with the carrier and Georgia Institute of Technology. T-Mobile “deployed both its Extended Range 5G (which uses spectrum in the 600 MHz band), and Ultra Capacity 5G (a name used for its 2.5 GHz, and millimeter wave 5G service)” in the tech park, as FierceWireless reports.

The 5G Connected Future incubator program aims to help developers build and test new 5G use cases, including “autonomous vehicles, robotics, industrial drone applications, mixed reality training and entertainment, remote medical care, personal health and fitness wearables and more,” according to a statement.

Opened in September 2019, the Curiosity Lab consists of a three-mile autonomous vehicle testing track, a 25,000 square foot Innovation Center and a technology park featuring both residential and commercial properties. The corridor includes a route with a hotel complex, two high schools, hundreds of offices and a townhouse development. More than 8,000 people live or work near the tech park.

The new incubator will be managed in collaboration with Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and is an expansion of the T-Mobile Accelerator and the carrier’s earlier efforts around 5G experimentation.

Moving the Ball Forward on 5G Testing for Smart Cities

The partnership among the town, T-Mobile and Georgia Tech represents a unique alliance that is seeking to draw on the resources of each to push the boundaries of 5G innovation.

The ATDC will provide management, startup classes and event planning, plus other services for entrepreneurs.

“It’s very unique to have a public entity — the city of Peachtree Corners, an academic institution like Georgia Tech — and then a commercial provider, T-Mobile, come together, with overlapping interests, and decide to work together to help not only figure out some of the innovation about what 5G will bring us in the future, but to together, help whoever it is that’s coming up with this technology to get from Point A to Point B,” Betsy Plattenburg, executive director of the Curiosity Lab, tells Government Technology.

MORE FROM STATETECH: How is Columbus, Ohio, helping residents with its smart mobility projects?

T-Mobile will provide not just the network but staff with 5G network expertise. “So, if you have a concept but you don’t know much about 5G, we actually have the expertise to help you literally and figuratively connect to it and figure out how it works and how it might advance your technology,” Plattenburg says.

5G networks are designed for both high-bandwidth applications and ultra-low latency, or services that require near-instantaneous responses. That could prove especially useful in the testing of autonomous vehicles.

“When we start to experience 5G as a community, the things we’re going to experience are far different than what we’re used to” on mobile devices, Bryan Fries, vice president of advanced and emerging tech for T-Mobile, tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This is about creating connections and experiences that couldn’t exist before.”

As Government Technology reports, the experimentation might cover vehicle-to-vehicle, and vehicle-to-building use cases, as well as entertainment. “Pretty much anything you can imagine, there’s somebody out there working on it,” Plattenburg tells Government Technology. “And we think this initiative will identify a lot more early stage companies who aren’t on our radar today, but we think we’ll basically be able to discover them, and help to dramatically accelerate their growth.”

DIVE DEEPER: Find out more about the smart city ambitions of Peachtree Corners, Ga.

Photo Courtesy of Peachtree Corners