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CEO FOCUS: First 5G Test Network Coming to NUAIR’s 50-mile Drone Corridor

By Robert Simpson


Gov. Kathy Hochul, along with NUAIR and the MITRE Engenuity Open Generation 5G Consortium, recently announced the region’s 50-mile unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) corridor between Syracuse and Rome has been selected to launch the nation’s first 5G UAS testing range. This designation greatly enhances our region’s position as a global leader in the unmanned-systems industry as it will support federal efforts to test, enhance, and deploy drone-related technology, networks, and systems. This 5G research supports the use of drones for emergency response, infrastructure inspection, package delivery, and asset management, while creating generational technological advancements and unlocking economic impact.

Having nation-leading unmanned-systems testing assets directly impacts our regional economy because it attracts established companies and high-quality talent to the region. It also supports our ability to attract startup firms through the GENIUS NY program. This year’s cohort has shared that the leading factor in their decision to be a part of the program is the ecosystem of support and technologies only found here. Additionally, they plan to utilize the investments made in their companies through the program to establish testing facilities, U.S. headquarters, and hire staff in Central New York.

Deploying 5G technologies at the New York 50-mile drone corridor also compliments the City of Syracuse’s efforts to lead in the use of ultra-high speed wireless technology through its Syracuse Surge strategy for inclusive growth. Already, the city has installed more than 175 5G sites, and construction is advancing at JMA Wireless’ new facility on Syracuse’s south side, which will be the region’s first manufacturing plant for 5G equipment.

It is beyond rewarding to see such important progress on some of the strategic economic-development initiatives within our region that we’ve had the opportunity to lead and partner on — ones that leverage our assets and are rooted in data, innovation, and collaboration. We are committed to continuing to drive partnerships, growth, and equity to advance targeted market opportunities within the region’s larger smart-systems industries.

To learn more about how these advancements can impact your business-development goals, contact Andrew Fish, senior VP of business development at CenterState CEO, at      

Robert M. Simpson is president and CEO of CenterState CEO, the primary economic-development organization for Central New York. This article is drawn and edited from the “CEO Focus” email newsletter that the organization sent to members on Sept. 30.