Huntsville plans for broadband 5G internet service

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Cell phone service around Huntsville is about to get a boost. This week, city leaders said OK to bringing 5G internet speed to town.

If it's not on their hip or in their pocket, you can bet most people on the go have a cell phone in hand.

"It's only going to continue to grow, and we want to be ready for that," Huntsville's Business Relations Officer Harrison Diamond said.

On Thursday, Huntsville City leaders approved a group known as Uniti Fiber to set up 5G internet speed in the city.

"In order to do that, you need to have [the] additional infrastructure in place," Diamond explained.

Over the next few months, Diamond says Uniti will put up small cells to give a boost to the already existing 4G speed.

"Probably about the size of a typical light pole that you'd see," Diamond described.

Right now, the problem with limited broadband is that when you have thousands of people in a small area pull out their phones, that pulls a massive amount of data. Huntsville City leaders hope that once Uniti Fiber sets up the new small cells, people will enjoy faster speeds, and they hope, exciting future prospects.

"Autonomous vehicles will require it and all of that's possible through 5G speed," Diamond said.

"This will plug right into your Fitbits, your heart rate monitors, your thermostats and so forth," Huntsville Madison County Chamber Chairman Gary Bolton said.

AT&T and Verizon announced this year they're moving forward with 5G networks. Bolton predicts the technology paves the way for self-driving cars and even streets with no traffic lights.

"Huntsville is becoming the epicenter of cyber for the world," Bolton said.

In this case, Huntsville appears to be early, one of the first cities in the US to raise its hand. City leaders tell us Uniti Fiber plans to install around 10 of the small cells by the end of the year.