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How Verizon Wants to Get Customers to Help Speed Up Its 5G Mobile Rollout

Trying to build community support for its multi-year 5G wireless network rollout, Verizon has opened a website for customers to get questions answered and sign up to help convince local officials to support the project.

Verizon and rivals AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are racing to deploy 5G equipment, which could provide connections 10 to 40 times faster than current 4G LTE networks. But they have to deploy hundreds of thousands of new, smaller cell sites and antennas across the country to create the services. Some localities are pushing back against the buildout, whether for health, aesthetic, or other reasons.

At the new Verizon web site, dubbed “Let’s 5G,” customers can leave their name, address, and email address to sign petitions in favor of “the immediate rollout of 5G service in our community.” The messages then get delivered to local officials by Verizon.

An FAQ section has information from Verizon about how 5G works and the carrier’s take on issues like the possible health risks (new equipment is “well within” federal safety limits, Verizon says).

The site does not include information about Verizon’s (VZ) rollout schedule, however. So far, Verizon has started offering only a home internet service via 5G in parts of four cities (Sacramento, Houston, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis) but has not said where it will go next or much about its plans for 5G on mobile phones.

AT&T (T) and Sprint (S) have outlined more cities where they are bringing mobile 5G service later this year. And T-Mobile (TMUS), which is seeking to acquire Sprint to speed its 5G rollout, has said only it will offer service in a few dozen cities this year and nationwide in 2020.