Key Verizon investment areas include fiber and multi-access edge computing, noted Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg today. Vestberg told attendees at an investor conference that the company is installing 1400 miles of fiber per month and that it will begin offering multi-access edge computing (MEC) in fourth quarter.

Verizon fiber deployments are critical to supporting a mixture of services, Vestberg said.

“One part of the whole intelligent edge network was that . . . all the way from the data center to the access point you have one unique network with a lot of redundancy and, in between, a lot of fiber to the access point and then you decide if it’s 3G, 5G, 4G or fiber to the home or fiber to the curb or fiber to the enterprise,” he explained.

Verizon expects to continue to deploy about this amount of fiber on a monthly basis for another two to three year, Vestberg noted.

Verizon Investment in MEC
Multi-access edge computing is becoming increasingly important to network operators’ vision for 5G and the enterprise. Both Verizon and AT&T have been talking for some time about enabling new applications by combining the low latency of 5G networks with intelligence and computing resources located close to end users. Other carriers, including Sprint, also are getting on the bandwagon.

According to Vestberg, the nation’s 40 or 50 largest companies are exploring how they can use a combination of private 5G and MEC to “rethink” factories, hospitals and other operations. 

“We are already in with these customers,” Vestberg said, reiterating a theme we heard just a few days ago when we talked to Verizon Senior Executive Vice President Adam Koeppe  about the company’s plans for the CBRS band, which became available for commercial operation when the FCC  announced on Monday that it had approved initial commercial deployments in the band. Koeppe also noted opportunities for Verizon to work with existing enterprise customers on applications involving wireless and MEC.

Vestberg didn’t detail the types of applications that a combination of 5G and MEC could enable in his comments today. But stakeholders have been talking about applications such as virtual and augmented reality, self-driving cars and remote-controlled robotics.

Verizon testing earlier this year showed that a MEC approach could enable facial recognition technology to recognize individuals twice as quickly as when the same testing was done using a more distant data center. 

Vestberg made his comments at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, which was also webcast.

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