The University of Connecticut is spending $300,000 to set up a high-speed internet system across its Stamford regional campus in a partnership with AT&T that could be expanded to other parts of the university system, officials said Monday.
Officials said the system, scheduled to go online in time for the fall semester, will make the regional campus one of the first in the nation to have a dedicated 5G network, providing advantages for classes and research.
Cellular companies began introducing this new generation of network technology commercially a couple of years ago and are expanding 5G across the country. But those networks are still in their early stages and not widely available outside major cities. The systems are designed to improve bandwidth, especially in urban areas, allowing many more devices to connect and much higher upload and download speeds.
Some schools, such as the University of Texas, have been leaders in the development of the technology. The University of Miami put in a dedicated 5G lab 2019. Purdue recently opened a 5G lab in its college of engineering in December and similar infrastructure is being set up at the University of Missouri.
Terrence Cheng, the director of UConn Stamford, said the network will allow for projects and course offerings that were not previously possible.
“This will expand our abilities to teach and create areas such as mobile applications, systems development, 3D graphics, wearable tech — there are so many different courses we can now offer,” he said.
It also will bolster the UConn Stamford Data Science Initiative and the UConn Technology Incubation Program, which are designed to team UConn experts and students with emerging start-ups in the field of data science.
The 5G systems being developed by those companies will allow for such things as real-time analysis of patient medical data and faster analysis of severe weather, allowing power companies to pinpoint where to send crews, officials said.
Stamford nonprofit organizations also will be given access to the network for their work, anything from marketing, to producing podcasts, Cheng said.
Cheng said the idea is to use Stamford's 5G system as a pilot before expanding it to other areas of UConn.
"Access to ultra-fast wireless speeds is critical to our economic future for business and residents of our state,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. “The work with AT&T is another step in setting the groundwork for future capabilities that will help unlock new economic development opportunities for Connecticut and UConn Stamford.”