What Is 5G Internet & Why Should Cord Cutters Care?


If you follow the world of tech you have likely heard a lot of talk about 5G recently. This new wireless Internet standard is quickly becoming promoted as the answer to many Americans’ Internet woes.

So what is 5G, and why should cord cutters care? We will do our best to answer these questions.

So what is 5G Internet?

The easiest way to explain 5G is that 5G is fiber Internet without the need to run a wire to your house. Fiber Internet is great, but it’s a slow and expensive process to roll out nationwide. Now, 5G Internet offers the same speed but can be rolled out in a fraction of the time of traditional fiber.

The idea is to upgrade existing cellphone towers with the new 5G system. Many say the first towns may see 5G go live sometime in 2018, but most are saying 2020 is the goal to get about half of the United States covered with 5G by at least one provider.

So why is 5G important?

The home Internet has traditionally been dominated by DSL and cable. This means most Americans typically have two options for broadband Internet. With 5G you may have five or six options.

This is also great news for rural Americans in areas that it may not be financially sound to run fiber miles between each home. They can set up a 5G cell tower and cover rural America at a fraction of the cost of updating DSL or running cables.

This will, for the first time, bring real competition to the world of home Internet helping to drive down prices and add new features.

Will 5G suffer the same limitations as 4G?

Many have posted their concern that 5G will have the say limitations as 4G, but according to industry insiders, it won’t.

5G is being built for home Internet first. Verizon is spending a billion dollars to run new fiber lines to their towers to handle the new traffic. 5G is also built to better handle Internet usage and support more devices than 4G was built for.

Wireless executives have also made it clear that 5G is being built for the purpose of taking on cable and DSL in your home. Sources say that you should look for 5G to be competitive with your home Internet provider.

Of course, as more providers launch, the prices and packages will likely become more aggressive.

What is the next step with 5G?

Right now both the US Senate and the FCC have pushed bills and new rules—from expediting the review process to allowing cellphone providers to upgrade existing towers without the need for a new study—to speed up the rollout of 5G.

We are still looking at a 2020 date for most Americans but a few lucky ones may have 5G Internet in their town by the end of the year.

As we read this and companies including AT&T have live 5G tests going on to see how 5G will work in the wild. So far all reports say testing is going well.

Hopefully, in the next few months, we will start to learn what markets will get 5G first.

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  • Garry

    Thanks for an explanation that the average person (my sister) can understand. I personally cannot wait. What I have been waiting for to get rid of my 10MB DSL with Century Link and their old wiring. All while they are charging a Broadband Recovery fee. By guys.

  • Malignar

    I can’t wait. I think I would be waiting forever to have fiber access in the suburbs and this AT&T DSL (or whatever it is) is not ideal for streaming multiple devices and gaming at the same time.

  • TexMarque

    I think that a lot of this hype is hype. Especially in the rural areas. I just don’t see the range of the 5G signal as that great. In urban and suburban areas, speeds will increase with the extension of fiber routes and multiple “wi-fi” points along the way, the public right of way. But, we’ll see.

    • Phuq_Me

      Another expert that claims to know how 5G is supposed to work? Why is it that people think they know more than people actually WORKING on the tech as we speak. You do get right NOW they are doing trials. I’m pretty sure that if these trials were going So badly at least ONE of the mainly thousands of customers in these trials would be all over the internet telling us how much it sucks.

  • REP

    I can’t wait for 5G to put freaking monopoly giant like Comcast out of business. They’re like the only one that provide decent internet speed and so they think they have the right to jack up prices every year. I am sick of them. Just like what streaming cable did to traditional cable, i hope 5G will do the same to traditional land line internet like Comcast soon.

  • Andrew Lindeman

    Can the author give some insight on these important questions:
    -What is the range (distance) of 5G from the tower?
    -How well does 5G penetrate hills/trees/buildings/walls etc.?
    -To use this, we will basically have a plugged-in 5G hotspot in our homes, correct?

  • krummholz

    A few things to keep in mind in my opinion:

    The cell provider needs to add 5g towers in your rural area. They won’t do this unless there’s enough potential customer’s in that tower’s coverage area for it to be worth the cost and maintenance. In my area, we’ve been repeatedly told we don’t have cell coverage as it’s just not worth adding towers due to the low population. Adding to the problem is our mountainous terrain makes it more expensive to install and maintain.

    Also, as us cord cutters know, streaming everything can eat quite a bit of data, that will continue to increase as 4K HDR content, surround sound, etc, eventually becomes the new expectation as 1080P is now. In the last year or so, pretty much all of the true unlimited cellular plans are no longer truly unlimited and costs are rising. Something to keep in mind.

    Given the conversations I’ve had with local cell technicians in my area, I expect to see 5g about the same time I can get low earth orbit internet service and I also expect it to come with a cost premium and data cap. Of course, ymmv.