AT&T 5G to turn National Landing into smart city

  • August 2, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

AT&T and real-estate company JBG Smith have signed a letter of intent to turn the National Landing region in Washington DC into the first 5G smart city at scale.

Made up of three neighbourhoods – Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard – National Landing is at the centre of the DC region and is Virginia’s largest walkable downtown.

The first network infrastructure deployments are planned for the first half of 2022 and will expand with development of the community. The companies plan to work together to deliver one of the most robust network infrastructure deployments in any urban environment.

Using 5G with local area compute edges could make National Landing a prototype for smart cities of the future and create a unified consumer experience across asset types. The area could also enhance offerings in mobility and self-driving vehicles, immersive retail and entertainment, and building automation and environmental sustainability.

JBG Smith’s National Landing portfolio spans 0.6 million square metres of existing office space and 2856 residential units, 808 units currently under construction plus 0.7 million square metres of additional commercial, multi-family and retail development opportunities in the district. In addition, JBG Smith is serving as development partner for Amazon’s 0.4 million square metres second headquarters and master developer for Virginia Tech’s forthcoming $1bn Innovation Campus.

With such a large and growing portfolio of diverse assets and open spaces in National Landing, JBG Smith believes it is positioned to support the continuing roll-out of AT&T’s 5G network. A combination of mm-wave and sub-6GHz 5G spectrum will be enabled by an interconnected series of building side-mounts, street furniture and underground network infrastructure. It will blanket this submarket spanning across Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia.

The firms envision National Landing as a canvas for smart city innovation in industry clusters such as defence, cyber security, cloud, edge computing, IoT and artificial intelligence. The robust technology infrastructure that is expected could give businesses, residents and visitors the opportunity to connect everything and everyone in near real time. These improvements could transform engagement and experiences in National Landing for business and residents.

The collaboration should further enhance the environment for innovators that are drawn to the neighbourhood’s walkable proximity to Amazon, Virginia Tech, Pentagon, Boeing’s East Coast headquarters and Reagan National Airport. Proximity to Capitol Hill, the White House and regulators also may give companies an opportunity to showcase how a 5G network and an open, interoperable technology ecosystem can unlock innovation for industry and government alike.

“I am thrilled to see this collaboration of leading private sector organisations to promote 5G deployment,” said US senator Mark Warner. “American competitiveness in the deployment of 5G networks – and innovation in the emerging technologies 5G unlocks – remain key to our national and economic security interest. As a proud Virginian, I am excited to see National Landing emerge as our first 5G community, and I look forward to wider deployment across the commonwealth. This collaboration can be a blueprint for how digital infrastructure is deployed, and I am heartened by the prospects of the innovation this may unlock to advance our country’s competitiveness globally.”

Mo Katibeh, who leads AT&T’s network infrastructure, added: “The development of 5G, AI, cloud and edge technologies is helping usher in the next level of how technology can improve lives. Together with JBG Smith, we intend to build a true smart city from the ground up that will allow future innovators to use AT&T’s network to unlock new capabilities through city-wide edge solutions that can serve specific business locations and everyday users at home or on the go. This includes enabling immersive virtual and augmented reality, and the massive IoT connections that will become a hallmark of National Landing as the most connected city in the country.”

JBG Smith owns, operates, invests in and develops a portfolio of mixed-use properties in the high growth and high barrier-to-entry submarkets in and around Washington DC. Over half of its holdings are in National Landing.

“The goal of this collaboration with AT&T is to further enhance National Landing and create the only neighbourhood that provides entrepreneurs, universities and global technology companies the digital infrastructure necessary to shape the future of their industries,” said Matt Kelly, CEO of JBG Smith. “We want to equip innovators with the foundational amenities to revolutionise the way they work, giving them an edge above their competition and the confidence to choose National Landing as their home to ideate and innovate locally, and scale globally.”