Purdue Discovery Park District Becomes a Leading Smart Community with the Launch of District-wide Private Network

SBA Communications to Provide New High-Speed Bandwidth for Tenants, Residents

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue Discovery Park District (DPD) continues to build one of the most connected communities in the world, today announcing plans to install a private network in the District. SBA Communications, which specializes in wireless communications infrastructure, will build and manage the network.

The network will use CBRS, a new wireless spectrum the Federal Communications Commission authorized for commercial use earlier this year. As demand for bandwidth continues to grow, these frequencies, once reserved for government and military use, allow non-government entities to deliver high-speed, ultra-reliable connectivity using the same technologies—LTE and soon 5G—that consumers use on their smartphones today. Instead of a private mobile network run by a large commercial wireless provider, the technology will be used to create a private mobile network owned and operated by DPD.

This private network is being deployed on the neutral host backbone DPD has already established, which will enable any service provider to connect to the network to deliver their services. The availability of a neutral host reduces infrastructure costs for service providers, improves flexibility and visibility for operators like DPD, and improves end users’ access.

“This technology is interesting because it captures all the benefits of cell service like security, bandwidth, and mobility, but in a private network model similar to traditional Wi-Fi deployment,” said Troy Hege, Purdue Research Foundation Vice President of Innovation and Technology. “CBRS technology, in conjunction with our neutral host infrastructure, forms the basis of our 5G connected community platform that will drive a terrific user experience based on pervasive, fast, and secure connectivity as well as the development and adoption of novel applications from autonomous mobility and virtual reality to enhanced public safety and energy conservation.”

Companies in the District will be able to establish their private networks within DPD’s CBRS network to run apps for everything from security and communications to transportation, logistics, and robotics. Innovation Partners Institute (IPI), located at DPD, is leasing space on the CBRS network to do testbed applications with its innovation partners.

“As an important partner of the Indiana 5G Zone, DPD is a valuable asset to test near-commercial prototypes in a living lab environment prior to commercial launch,” said Sean Hendrix, Managing Director of Indiana 5G Zone and Chief Technology Officer of NineTwelve. “This is critical because with 5G being so new, there are unknowns driving the need for a dynamic and integrated environment. Timely feedback from this environment is important to enable rapid innovation and rollout of 5G solutions to the market.”

Many devices manufactured in the last two years already include CBRS technology and will only need a DPD-enabled SIM card to access the service. The private network will support cellular offload, allowing fast and reliable cellular service with traditional carriers for those living and working in the District.

“For SBA, the partnership with Purdue Research Foundation is important for creating a connected community platform at DPD where researchers and developers can utilize our private network infrastructure to test and incubate innovative applications and provide cutting-edge services for residents, employees, and visitors,” said Piyush Raj, Managing Director of Connected Venues at SBA Communications. “CBRS spectrum has created a pathway to community-wide connectivity in places that previously did not have access to this type of opportunity. This is the early stage of a transformation that could be hugely beneficial for communities across the country, both small and large.”

The CBRS network is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2021.


Troy Hege, tdhege@prf.org

Sean Hendrix,  sean@ninetwelve.us
Piyush Raj, praj@sbasite.com

Media inquiries:

Christy Denault, csdenault@springmillcommunications.com 317/417-6322

About Innovation Partners Institute

Innovation Partners Institute (IPI) is an innovation community designed to turn concepts into early-stage solutions to solve big problems. The Institute serves as a collaborative “place in the middle” bringing together ideas and talent, hand-picked external experts, financial and corporate resources, and critical capabilities to address a specific challenge. IPI is centered at the Discovery Park District at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, in a 400+ acre connected community powered by a 5G+ technology infrastructure of fiber, an edge data center, a multi-use spectrum including CBRS, and multiple Internet of Things and artificial intelligence test beds. Visit us at partnersforinnovation.org.

About SBA Communications

SBA Communications Corporation (SBA) is an independent owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure, which includes towers, buildings, rooftops, distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cells. Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, SBA has operations in fourteen markets across the Americas and South Africa. Listed on NASDAQ under the symbol: SBAC, our organization is also part of the S&P 500 and is one of the top 20 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) based on market capitalization.  For more information, please visit: www.sbasite.com.

About NineTwelve

NineTwelve is a network dedicated to bringing together the key elements of innovation: Collaboration, Prototyping, and Experimentation. With a focus on emerging technologies such as 5G, Advanced Manufacturing, and Trusted Microelectronics this cross-sector initiative brings together Industry, Academia, and Government to yield the best new technologies for commercialization. The Indiana 5G Zone, one of many NineTwelve collaboratives, advances the transformation of physical industries by powering Smart Cities, Intelligent Logistics and Advanced Manufacturing. This lab is the first of its kind to enable government, business, and academia to design and deliver groundbreaking testbed offerings with immediate practical applications.