The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) has announced an agreement with communications giant AT&T that will establish a 5G+ presence on campus, including a test bed.
According to Tuesday’s announcement, at least three of the key drivers were an improved on-campus network, research opportunities for faculty and staff, and the ability of the land-grant university to have an impact on the urban–rural divide of the have’s and have not’s.
A key point of interest for UTK is providing 5G to rural areas, and doing so in ways that improve opportunities and outcomes for those areas. Access to healthcare and education as well as new economic development opportunities were specifically cited.
“We are excited to bring the expertise and talent of our faculty together with the capabilities of an industry leader like AT&T to solve real-world problems,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “Our relationship will not only provide a better network on our campus for students, faculty, and staff, but it will also create opportunities for innovation and collaboration that could change the lives of Tennesseans.”
Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally joined the chorus celebrating the announcement. “Access to ultra-fast 5G technology is critical to Tennessee’s economic future and for business and Tennesseans alike,” he said. “This work with AT&T and the University of Tennessee is another step in setting the groundwork for future capabilities that will help unlock new economic development opportunities for Tennessee.”