Air Force Reserve Command Prepares for 5G Boost


Verizon was recently selected to install capabilities on multiple military bases.

The Air Force recently moved to expand its 5G footprint.

Via an agreement unveiled on Tuesday, Verizon Public Sector is set to deploy its fifth-generation Ultra Wideband mobility service to seven Air Force Reserve Command or AFRC installations, on bases in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

C-band radios, which tap into a spectrum range that can at times provide for high performance and 5G coverage, will be fixed outdoors at each of the AFRC facilities. They’ll enable higher speeds, more bandwidth and lower latency—and support military pursuits associated with animated simulation and training, high-definition video to support telemedicine for its airmen and women, artificial intelligence for biometric identification, and more.

“Work across the 7 AFRC installations will commence this year,” Corn Brown, who leads Verizon Public Sector's U.S. Defense Department business told Nextgov on Monday.

This award extends the telecommunications giant’s already broad 5G portfolio within the federal government, including at the Veterans Affairs Department and multiple military bases. “Verizon Public Sector is engaged in a number of initiatives that explore the possibilities of 5G, and already we’re seeing the promise,” Brown noted. 

The win that underpins this impending work at the AFRC hubs is referred to as Offer to Lease, or OTL 2b. It builds on DOD’s OTL 1a and b awards to Verizon in 2019. For that prior work, the company provided wireless improvements to ten Air Force bases. Brown confirmed that the “Air Force issued an Offer to Lease for phase 2b in April,” adding that Verizon responded with a proposal and through the branch's evaluation process, “was selected for the project as the highest ranked offeror.”

Across various OTL installations where it is active, the company intends to “emulate the success” of its partnership that’s unfolding with the at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Verizon’s 5G capabilities were delivered there last year.

“We’ve since stood-up a 5G Living Lab where we’re working with the Marines to explore 5G’s capabilities in mission critical areas,” Brown said. “These include autonomous vehicles, drone utilization, security, and energy efficiency and grid infrastructure.”