Defining telecommunications

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We define a "connected city" as a city or community that has a network infrastructure that allows for the efficient exchange and collection of information (voice, data, video) on a variety of public and private devices. This network infrastructure is a heterogeneous mix of network technologies (HetNet) and is supplied through various business models.

Smart cities create both a policy (which is addressed in more detail later in this chapter) and investment environment that facilitate the growth of telecommunications resources to enable a connected environment. There are a limited number of stakeholders in each city and community that have developed networks. Stakeholders that usually control most network assets in a city include: utilities, cable providers, cellular carriers, commercial local exchange carriers (CLECs), wireline telephone companies, transportation authorities and public-safety departments.

The city generally plays three roles in developing a connected city since much of the investment will be borne by the private sector:

  • Administrating regulations and policy
  • Consuming network technology as it applies to internal and external processes (i.e., applying data analytics to internal processes or monitoring smart meters for energy consumption)
  • Owning street furniture and providing network technology

The primary network technologies that are used to build smart cities include: cellular, fiber-optic, microwave, coaxial cable, Wi-Fi and an emerging group of wireless techniques that try to address the Internet of Things (IoT). Fifth-generation or 5G technology will use a mix of technologies (a HetNet) to increase both the coverage area of the network and the amount of data that can be carried on the network (capacity).

The Wireless Infrastructure Association has a detailed review of the network here:
More information can be found at