2017 Annual Report | Verizon Communications Inc. and Subsidiaries 5 common is this: All are sufficiently powerful to reshape entire industries, and all are still novel enough to be shaped by companies that have the vision and the capacity to do so. There’s no company better positioned to exercise this leadership than Verizon. The reason: Wireless technology and next-generation fiber will power the Fourth Industrial Revolution. At Verizon, we don’t wait for the future we build it. Our $17.2 billion capital investment in 2017 is a down payment on that future, and we are already achieving state-of-the-art speed with our blazing-fast nationwide 4G LTE network. We hit the one-gigabit-per-second mark for speed under real-world ecosystems, and yet we’ve hardly begun to exhaust the potential of 4G technology. This network will remain an extraordinary asset for our company and our customers for many years to come. 5G is game-changing technology Even as we push 4G to the next level, we are rapidly bolstering our leadership position in 5G. This technology is a game-changer for Verizon as we build the future. It will allow 10 to 100 times better throughput, 10 times longer battery life and 1,000 times larger data volumes than anything offered today. To give you a sense of 5G’s low latency and speed, consider an experiment we conducted at the 2017 Indianapolis 500. We put a driver in a car with blacked-out windows, and only a 5G headcam to use for navigation. The car handled the track with ease. The near-zero latency of the 5G feed enabled the driver to “see” the curves and straightaways as reliably as if the windows had been clear. This is not possible on 4G networks, and 5G’s lower latency will enable many more applications that do not exist today. With an agile combination of 4G LTE and 5G infrastructures, we can enable a surgeon to operate on a patient in an emergency room on the other side of the country, giving medical centers everywhere access to high-quality specialist care. We’re also working with food companies and shippers to expand the use of nickel-sized sensors that can detect when storage temperatures along the supply chain have exceeded safe limits. We’re collaborating with cities to improve public safety, emergency response, traffic management, pollution reduction and other vital services. In Boston, we’ve teamed up with city officials on a vision of zero fatalities from accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists, using predictive data analytics to make intersections safer. This is just the beginning. We’ve begun working closely with partners worldwide to set standards and technical specifications for 5G. We’ve also started testing in the field. During 2017, we deployed the largest 5G trial network in the U.S. with active customers. In November 2017, we announced that we will commercially launch 5G wireless residential broadband services in three to five U.S. markets in 2018. That’s at least two years earlier than most experts had predicted. The evolution from 4G LTE to 5G is not an either-or question. We see our network as a collective set of assets including 4G LTE, fiber, 5G and software-defined networks which together we refer to as the Verizon Intelligent Edge Network. This versatile, multilayered infrastructure can relay and sort signals via wireless or wireline connections, allowing us to handle an enormous range of current and potential applications. Many of our strategic transactions in 2017 focused on additions and enhancements to this infrastructure. Our acquisitions of XO Communications and Straight Path will strengthen our fiber assets and spectrum portfolio, as will our purchasing agreements with Corning and Prysmian. To give you some perspective, those agreements include enough fiber to reach from Earth to Mars. In other words, these aren’t piecemeal, business-as-usual additions. They’re major investments toward a whole new level of network capacity.
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