Listen Up States: Don't Stifle Investment For Consumer Broadband Wireless Services

Steve Pociask

Monday, March 5th, 2018

It is no surprise that the way we communicate is changing. Walking around Nashville, Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis or Omaha, you would be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t have a cell phone, smartwatch or other connected device with them. Whether used for social media, finding your way around town with GPS, online shopping or mobile banking, we are all becoming increasingly reliant on mobile devices. In fact, wireless data traffic in the U.S. has increased 35 times since 2010.

As data traffic continues to rise at an astonishing pace, and with it the need for more bandwidth, wireless providers are turning to new and innovative solutions to upgrade their networks to keep pace with exploding consumer demand. This is leading wireless service companies to invest in small cells that provide the broadband speeds many times faster than today’s wireless technology.

Transitioning to this technology will require wireless providers to shift their focus from deploying large wireless towers that cover a wide service area, to a network of small cell microsites that can be installed in high-traffic areas. By placing small cells in these locations, wireless providers can boost network capacity, so that users can experience faster download speeds, lower latency and an improved overall wireless experience.

These upgrades will also bring significant benefits to consumers and across the U.S. — helping enable new developments in Smart Cities, Internet of Things (IoT) technology and laying the foundation required for the next generation of wireless services – 5G broadband wireless services.

5G technology will unlock a world thought unimaginable to us just years ago, making technology like driverless cars and connected devices for health applications a greater possibility than ever before. Not to mention, 5G is expected to bring faster wireless speeds and lower latency than we’ve previously experienced. Videos will download and play in what feels almost instant.

In addition to these benefits, our recent report projects that the investment needed to upgrade to 5G technology will increase Gross National Product by $533 billion over a 7-year period – that’s $3 billion in Nebraska, $12 billion in Tennessee, $23 billion in Pennsylvania, $18 billion in Georgia and $69 billion in California and so on. In addition, just constructing the network will add hundreds of thousands of jobs per year across the country. And, these investments are expected to bring more than $1.2 trillion additional consumer welfare benefits – including over 23 billion in Missouri, $7 billion in Nebraska, $26 billion in Tennessee, $86 billion in New York and elsewhere. Legislators should take note.

However, this future growth is largely contingent on the timely deployment of small cells and removing impediments to this investment.