Rogers beefs up network investments in British Columbia ahead of 5G

Canada-based telecom firm Rogers Communications has doubled investments in its wireless and wireline networks across the west coast in Canada as part of its “5G blueprint.”

A chunk of the new investment money is going toward expanding the company’s partnership with University of British Columbia (UBC). Rogers has partnered with UBC to build a 5G hub on the UBC campus that will serve as a test bed for 5G tech.

Research priorities at the hub include monitoring cars and traffic to develop smarter and safer cities, as well as autonomous vehicles, machine learning, artificial intelligence and network slicing technology for use in robotics, farming and medical applications.

The first project under the partnership is a smart city transportation initiative that will assess how 5G networks and applications can improve autonomous vehicle safety, traffic management and fuel efficiency. Rogers’ investments will also help support research on 5G frequency interference across multiple devices that communicate at the same time, over the same spectrum.

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Rogers also plans to begin testing 5G network equipment at UBC in the first half of 2019. Last year, the company signed a multiyear network plan for 5G with Ericsson.

Meanwhile, the company is expanding its LTE network in parts of British Columbia to plug some coverage holes for customers and prepare the network 5G upgrades in the future.

“These wireless enhancements not only connect customers in British Columbia to the moments that matter most in their lives today, but they also prepare our network for tomorrow,” said Rick Sellers, president of the British Columbia arm of Rogers Communications, in a statement.

Rogers is in the middle of rolling out a national LTE Cat M1 network (LTE-M) for powering IoT solutions for the company’s enterprise customers. Rogers plans to have the rollout complete by 2020 as a stepping stone to a national 5G network rollout.

The company is also expanding and densifying its fiber network in Vancouver.