SaskTel continues to roll out the upgraded hardware for 5G coverage in Swift Current.
After upgrading its first cell tower in Swift Current back in February, the Crown Corporation has been hard at work continuing to upgrade the remaining towers around the city.
Greg Jacobs, an external communications manager with SaskTel, revealed that the project is near completion, with only one more tower needing retrofitting with new 5G equipment.
"Since we launched that first tower, we've actually upgraded a couple more towers to 5G," said Jacobs. "We have another three towers we expect will be converted over to 5G by the end of May. By the end of May, we expect the vast majority of our network serving swift current to be 5G enabled."
5G towers are able to handle more connections and provide faster information sharing between devices. One main benefit for the average data consumer will be the ability to stream easier and depend more reliably on data in crowded venues.
When people are together in large groups and on mobile devices, they all ping off the closest tower. A prime example of this is the InnovationPlex, during a Broncos game or other sporting venture. Some may have noticed that cell phone data tends to slow down when the rink is packed. With these new tower upgrades, like the one made to the InnovationPlex cell tower, this should become an issue of the past.
"What this is about, it's about enhancing some of the services that you experience today," began Jacobs. "Maybe 4K streaming might be something that becomes a little more readily available as the 5G network matures, but then some of the other benefits could be virtual healthcare. If you need a real-time connection in order to deliver certain elements of healthcare, 5G will be able to do that."
There are also benefits for those working with GPS and satellite technology, as they will have a stronger, more stable connection. Farmers out in the field, utilizing GPS and other crop monitoring data, will be able to use that technology more than ever.
As Jacobs puts it, one of the key strengths is in what is to come rather than what is already here.
"What's really exciting about 5G, and really this is why the whole industry is moving this way, is some of the future benefits of that network as technologies catch up to it. As the network matures, 5G is going to have so much more capacity to handle data connections, and it will provide a more real-time connection for users."
Once the next three towers have been completed, one remaining tower will need the 5G upgrade, located along the Trans-Canada Highway. The plan is to have it finished up shortly, pending no emergent issues causing delays.