Historically, cell phone networks were built out in urban areas and along significant highways. Bell, Milam, Madison, Brazos and Robertson counties are strategically located in Central Texas.

Let’s collectively use our local segment of proposed Interstate 14 for getting 5G built out as quickly as possible between Interstate 45 and Interstate 35.

Instead of gaps in service, seamless communications capabilities are needed along this “forts to ports” thoroughfare. With precious few new interstate highways under construction, this is a great opportunity to develop best practices blending old and new transportation and communications corridors.

Texas A&M, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Texas A&M-Central Texas, TEEX, TSTC, Blinn, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc., might join forces with various local governments. Use this five-county stretch of highway under development as a laboratory. Develop a template that could be used in other parts of America.

The Trump administration and the Federal Communications Commission announced a 10-year, $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. Let’s work regionally to use some of that money to improve local communications capabilities.

5G is important to us personally as consumers. It will enable existing businesses to expand. It is also important since future economic developments will likely follow emerging digital networks and highways.

Enhanced economic development is a selling point for proposed I-14. Vehicle flow is the primary goal. Information flow should be a secondary goal to facilitate military communications and bridge the local digital divide.

William Brunette