Rhode Island pursues national leadership on 5G wireless

Officials cite population density and current wireless coverage as reasons to begin testing 5G in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island is positioning itself as a national leader on 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless technology, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Wednesday.

The state issued a request for information (RFI) to telecom companies and industry stakeholders, seeking recommendations on how to turn Rhode Island into a nation-leading test bed for a broadband technology that will someday support other public infrastructure like connected vehicles and smart city sensors.

“To make Rhode Island one of the most desirable places to live, work and do business in America, we need to build the infrastructure of the future,” Raimondo, a Democrat, said in a news release. “We are sending a signal that Rhode Island is open for business as a lab state for innovation — the ideal place to test new technologies like 5G wireless.”

5G wireless connectivity is listed on the RFI alongside “the civic Internet of Things” and “an extensive fiber network,” as essential projects that should be deployed in parallel to meet the state’s future needs.


Proponents of 5G promise speeds 100 times greater than the 5 to 12 Mbps download speeds under current 4G technology.

“Rhode Island is an ideal place to rollout 5G wireless due to the state’s size, population density and ability to provide the regulatory flexibility to test new models,” Richard Culatta, the state’s chief innovation officer, said in a news release. “Additionally, Rhode Island is consistently ranked at or near the top of all states in the nation for broadband coverage and speeds, and possesses the robust wired networks upon which 5G deployments depend.”

The RFI’s submission deadline is December 27.

Latest Podcasts