How Fast, Reliable Connectivity Will Advance the Greater Washington Area

This post was guest authored by Cathy Piche, East Area President at Crown Castle.

When Amazon first released its RFP for building a second headquarters in North America, the company received nearly 230 proposals from cities and regions across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The tech giant narrowed down the list of potential candidates to 20 locations, and it was no surprise that Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, MD; and Northern Virginia were included as the top contenders for being business-friendly and stable environments with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent. While Amazon ultimately selected Crystal City, VA for its second headquarters, the decision was hailed as a tremendous win for the entire Capital Region.

As the Greater Washington metropolitan area prepares for the impending arrival of HQ2, local leaders must focus their attention on connectivity, one of the key requirements stated in the RFP to remain competitive today and prepare for the opportunities of tomorrow. This will require upgrading our existing communications infrastructure with fiber optics and a robust small cell network, which are small nodes that are attached to structures in the public right of ways like streetlights or utility poles. This infrastructure will bring fast, reliable wireless connectivity to Washingtonians.

The Capital Region continues to grow, and so does the demand for more data, in more places, at faster speeds than ever. In a world where smartphone traffic is expected to increase 12 times by 2021, small cells add much-needed capacity and coverage in highly-populated areas. This is especially important for public safety given 80% of 911 calls are made from wireless phones.

Small cells will pave the way for next-generation networks such as 5G which promise to deliver smart city innovations, including autonomous vehicles and citywide data sharing. 5G will also unlock economic benefits. As CTIA estimates, “Over the next five years, the U.S. will see benefits across the country, including 3 million new jobs, $275 billion in new investment, and $500 billion in economic growth.”[

Crown Castle applauds the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area for collaborating to shape and advance the smart region plan. Crown Castle looks forward to working with local leaders and stakeholders to prioritize the deployment of fiber optics and small cells solutions and better connect the Capital Region. As the nation’s largest provider of shared communications infrastructure, we are committed to keeping people connected and safe, helping our partners set the stage for the future, and ensuring that businesses and communities thrive.

About Crown Castle

Crown Castle owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and approximately 70,000 route miles of fiber supporting small cells and fiber solutions across every major U.S. market.  This nationwide portfolio of communications infrastructure connects cities and communities to essential data, technology and wireless service – bringing information, ideas and innovations to the people and businesses that need them.  For more information on Crown Castle, please visit