Back in February, I wrote about strange street markings that had appeared just north and south of 40th St., but I couldn’t find out what they were about. When I queried SDOT, they replied that it was definitely part of a City Light project, but when I asked City Light about it, I got no reply.
Now it seems the mystery is solved. Maybe. I guess. Sort of.
Those of us living near 40th have noticed numerous “No Parking” signs (the saw horses with magic marker writing indicting the closure days and times) go up for a few days here and there, and contractors have definitely been out doing some work on the streets.
A crew was working on the corner nearest my house, so I stopped by on my way home recently to ask one of the guys what was up. The contractors that are called in by the big telecoms to string lines, etc. aren’t always given the “full information.” But here’s what he told me.
Verizon, he said, is installing their 5G service. An article in Geekwire back in 2017 mentioned Seattle as being among a small number of cities that would be serving as a test market, so the guy on the crew seems to be correct. My source told me that Puget Sound Energy did the street markings so that his crew wouldn’t end up digging through gas lines and such. (Thanks, PSE.) The big truck with them was marked “Ditch Witch” which naturally implies digging. He went on to say that the overhead electrical, phone, cable and whatever lines hanging on the utility poles would interfere with 5G, and so they would eventually be buried underground. They certainly aren’t going to put the 5G antennas underground, and I’m pretty sure none of the wires hanging on the poles have been moved from said poles to places beneath the street. But I think one of the guys said something about “pulling cable,” so maybe wires connecting 5G antennas are being run underground. In any event, while I really don’t expect to see those poles disappear anytime soon, I do expect 5G to appear PDQ.
For those who haven’t heard about 5G, 5G is supposed to be much more transformative than any of the preceding Gs. 5G will offer much faster speeds with much less stalling. It is being hailed as an enabler for new technologies such as self-driving cars which require speedy, mobile, uninterrupted connections to the internet.