Many technologies are driving the need to continually improve on fiber broadband networks, such as increased use of video, Smart Cities applications, and other technologies. Both residents and businesses view Internet access as essential and this has elevated the importance of network infrastructure for the community’s economic vitality and resiliency (See findings under Key Question #1 for data and discussion on these topics). All the local governments in Multnomah County are now embarked on a municipal broadband feasibility study to determine how they may cost effectively expand broadband reach and capabilities. They also must continue to expand the institutional network capacity per connection for many of the sites (See Finding 5.5).
Private companies must continue to expand and enhance their networks as well. All cellular wireless carriers are moving forward with 5G implementation. Its initial impact will be in denser areas, where a number of communications technologies, infrastructure and services are already available, in order to provide “densification” and higher capacity for 4G networks and emerging 5G applications. However, eventually, much like 4G, as initial capital investments are recouped, 5G-enabled applications will move further into less dense portions of the network. Wireline providers continue to look at driving fiber deeper into their systems in order to provide higher capacity, more reliability, and more symmetrical communications. In fact, some, like Frontier’s new owner Northwest Fiber, LLC, known currently through the brand name “Ziply”, are at least at this point, looking to upgrade Frontier’s infrastructure by developing more fiber-to-the-premise implementation.