Wireless connectivity is as central to the daily lives of Mainers as it is to the strength and vitality of building local economies. At no point has this been more apparent than throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when wireless devices, mobile hotspots and smartphone apps connected Americans to work, remote learning, telehealth, e-commerce, entertainment, loved ones…the list goes on.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following guest article was submitted by Jamie Hastings, senior vice president of external and state affairs for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA®). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. wireless networks performed when they were needed most thanks to the significant investments made by wireless providers to strengthen and upgrade wireless infrastructure over the previous decade. While the connectivity demands during the past two years were unprecedented, the increased demand on wireless networks is nothing new.
A survey of wireless companies shows that Americans have driven a 108-times increase in mobile data traffic during the past decade, reaching a record 42 trillion Megabytes of data in 2020. In the “connected everything” 5G decade, the demand for wireless connectivity will only skyrocket.
5G will meet that challenge – and more!
During the past few years, America’s wireless industry has built 5G networks across the country, including in the Pine Tree State. What they’ve really built is even more powerful and important: a platform for economic growth and innovation that will create millions of jobs and help rebuild the U.S. economy.
5G will touch every aspect of our lives by revolutionizing what it means to be connected, reaching far beyond our personal mobile devices to transform Maine’s major industries of today and enable new industries and future opportunities.
The value of faster, stronger, more reliable 5G networks is already evident in today’s use cases, from smart cities and connected farms to cutting-edge manufacturing and advanced industrial applications. And, the technologies of tomorrow, such as remote surgery, efficient smart energy grids and connected cars, will soon be a reality.
The wireless industry is committed to being a key partner to help open doors to new jobs and new opportunities. It is important that Maine policymakers, too, do their part to ensure 5G and wireless is part of the connectivity solution. Unfortunately, there is legislation before the Maine Legislature, LD 383, that would unnecessarily create new barriers to wireless infrastructure deployment – particularly for small cells, an important component of 5G - in Maine’s communities. LD 383, An Act Concerning Small Wireless Facilities in Maine, would also undo reforms that resulted in an influx of investment in wireless networks. The wireless industry invests at least $100 million annually in network innovation across the state.
Sensible policy solutions that support 5G deployment and continued wireless investment in the state are as important for today’s connectivity needs as they are for helping to close the digital divide and ensuring Mainers can benefit from the future 5G Economy. LD 383 is not one of those solutions and should be soundly rejected.