The City of Edmonton is exploring the idea of piloting a small 5G network on Whyte Avenue as part of its endeavor to be a leader in digital technology.  

On Monday, the executive committee asked administration to look at setting up the test after receiving a report on the requirements and impacts of 5G infrastructure.

The technology has a faster download speed than LTE (long term evolution) networks and can connect more devices simultaneously.

According to the report, 5G could be used to provide real-time data on traffic, allowing the City to better manage patterns or high-risk locations. It could also be used to monitor Edmonton's growth patterns or detect acute climate events and environmental changes.

"The more information and data about patterns of what we are doing, the more we can harness the technology and power of computing to come up with better answers for ourselves," said Ward 8 Councillor Ben Henderson.

"The trade-off for that is: How do you make sure the information that you are getting is not personally identifiable and doesn't deal with privacy issues?"

Indeed, the report delivered to the committee notes the use and marketplace of 5G networks is limited—even around the world—due to its youth.  

However, if Edmonton were to provide 5G, it would likely strength existing and attract new businesses and industries, the report says.

Administration consulted the provincial government, several post-secondary schools, technology investors, as well as Edmonton Global and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation for the research.

It will deliver the next report on setting up a pilot by April 2020.

With files from CTV Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson