Verizon CEO Calls For Digital Inclusivity Through 5G

5G will be instrumental in closing the digital divide and promoting digital inclusion, according to Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg in his CES 2021 keynote. The carrier did not announce any network expansion plans for 2021.


5G will be an essential technology in 2021 to accelerate the digital world, helping to boost use cases such as telemedicine and remote learning with the aid of new technologies like augmented reality, according to Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg.

But these emerging use cases and digital experiences that are moving the global community forward require more data capacity and low lag time -- something that’s not possible with 4G, Vestberg said as he took the virtual stage for his keynote on Monday evening at CES 2021.

A 5G future will help close the digital divide and promote digital inclusion for more people throughout the world, Vestberg said. “With its speed, low latency, and the ability to connect huge numbers of shared locations, this network is a true game-changer,” he added.

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Absent from the carrier’s keynote was 5G network expansion plans for 2021, however. Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon’s 5G Ultra-Wideband network is currently live in parts of 31 states.

[Related: CES 2021: 10 Rumors And Trends You Can Expect]

5G for all starts with education, Vestberg said. Verizon has many education customers, from public and private schools, to colleges and universities. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and schools are turning to digital resources to make up for lost classroom time and that starts with connectivity, Vestberg said.

“We’re changing the way we look at education. As we begin 2021, we’re empowering teachers and students to follow their curiosity to wherever the network can take them. The desire to bring students into an experience or interact with material… is not possible with 4G,” Vestberg said.

The carrier pledged to equip 100 U.S-based schools with 5G in the coming years and will help bridge the digital divide for 10 million youth by 2030, said Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon’s chief corporate social responsibility officer.

Verizon is tackling the problems of today and tomorrow through 5G and mobile edge computing, Vestberg said. The carrier has been powering smart city technologies, which will get a much-needed boost from 5G, and has even begun working with delivery service UPS in drone package delivery applications, which is being made possible with Verizon 5G, he added.

“Now, because of 5G, you have a digital connection that can power all kinds of possibilities,” Vestberg said. ”[5G] has the ability to connect people to their passion, to bridge the digital divide, and to fundamentally alter the way our businesses and communities function.”