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AT&T Aims to Bring 5G to U.S. Air Force Base by Mid-2020

The nationwide telecommunications company is comprehensively rebuilding and modernizing the communications infrastructure at Tyndall, which was devastated by Hurricane Michael more than a year ago.

(TNS) — Telecommunications company AT&T expects to bring its latest and fastest 5G cellular service to Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base by mid-2020.

According to a Thursday press release, the nationwide company is comprehensively rebuilding and modernizing the communications infrastructure at Tyndall, which was devastated by Hurricane Michael more than a year ago.

Under the upgrade project, the new 5G network will be capable of supporting augmented and virtual reality and a broad array of other innovative technologies, the press release states. Telecommunications companies like AT&T and Verizon have been upgrading their networks in recent years to cutting-edge 5G service, which boasts far faster data speeds than the more prevalent 4G cellular technology.

"The addition of new network technologies will strengthen team Tyndall's redundancy and efficiency for both day-to-day and emergency response situations," said Maj. Charles Setzer, commander, 325th Communications Squadron. "Implementing a hybrid balance of wired and wireless technologies helps prevent any single-point-of-failure and allows for seamless transitions between systems in the event of a single service's outage."

Setzer added that the new 5G network was part of a greater improvement in communications technology at the base to better prepare it for future hurricanes.

"5G technology is just one of the many different capabilities being incorporated into the new communication architecture, and procedures, to improve our response capabilities in future storm situations," Setzer said. "The network will be a combination of numerous transmission mediums (in-ground fiber, WiFi, both 4G/5G cellular networks, Satellite communications, etc.) with improvements in overall network reliability and individual antenna system durability, to ensure all data can reach where it's needed."

AT&T is also under negotiations with the Air Force to deliver and manage commercial and private information technology capabilities at Tyndall. Initial services would include mobility, cloud access, unified communications, voice, broadband, WiFi expansion and an array of connected services, the press release states. AT&T would also offer network compute and storage and other capabilities to more quickly deliver data and applications to users.

"The Air Force and AT&T share a vision for the smart base of the future: one that uses modern, commercially available communications capabilities to help our military maintain its globally competitive edge in defending our freedoms," Xavier Williams, President, AT&T Global Public Sector, said in the press release. "We're proud to work with the Air Force and help fulfill its vision for how technology can power improvements in mission delivery while helping it keep its technological advantage."

The Air Force also plans to equip its first responders and eligible public safety users at Tyndall with AT&T's FirstNet service — the company's nationwide, dedicated communications platform specifically built for public safety, the press release states. FirstNet operates on a dedicated core network that supports enhanced security and provides always-on priority and preemption services for Tyndall's contingency and disaster response operations.

Tyndall had its first experience with FirstNet soon after the hurricane. AT&T personnel arrived at the base within 30 minutes of being contacted following the Category 5 storm and after a few hours, had established temporary communications capabilities in support of Tyndall's immediate storm response using FirstNet equipment.

©2019 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.