Equipment manufacturer John Deere has announced plans to upgrade its broadband network to 5G after obtaining licenses in five counties in Iowa and Illinois. For Construction Pros reported that Deere secured the licenses via the FCC auction for the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) 3.5 GHz spectrum in August.
“It’s a spectrum range that we obviously did not have availability to in the past, and something that we foresaw might take a little bit of time to get to some of our rural counties,” says Craig Sutton, John Deere’s Manager of Manufacturing Innovation and Technology Strategy. “We looked at how this spectrum could benefit Deere in some of our strategic plans in smart, connected factories and smart industrial, knowing that we had more and more connected devices coming online, especially inside our factory operations.”
Since rural areas are often underserved, private corporations were invited to bid on the 5G licenses to boost broadband, reported For Construction Pros. Deere was permitted to purchase the licenses on November 12 after being verified by the FCC. The licenses will enable the manufacturer to accelerate the deployment of 5G across five rural manufacturing facilities.
According to Sutton, the licenses will become available in the first half of 2021. Deere expects that 5G will be operational in its factories by the end of 2021 or early 2022.
“One of the top goals that we continue to have going forward is just smart, connected factories and smart, connected supply chains making us a very nimble and efficient and technical savvy company,” he added.
5G will enable the company to expand factory capabilities leveraging edge computing, analytics, and autonomous devices. It will also serve a broader set of smart applications like real-time location systems, asset tracking, inventory management, wearables, building automation, and robotics for operational cost savings, reported For Construction Pros.