We are at the dawn of a technological revolution where we are connecting cars, trucks, public transportation, first responders, utilities and public services, and more to the internet – and in the process – creating smart and more efficient cities. The benefits from advancing Internet of Things (IoT) technology will save lives and improve the ways cities function and operate. With that being said, the only way we can realize the societal and economic benefits will be from creating smart infrastructure that is infused with technology and leverages the full range of benefits offered by the IoT.
The Trump Administration and the 115th Congress have the opportunity to create public policy that allows Americans to fully realize the $11.1 trillion boost to the economy that the IoT will bring and we need to build on current wireless technologies by adopting forward-leaning policies. Digital infrastructure will determine America’s leadership and economic strength just as roads and bridges paved the way for our prosperity in the 20th Century.
In Washington it has been rather difficult to find policy ideas that have strong bipartisan support. Fortunately, infrastructure is generally a unifying issue in a divided environment. On Monday, speaking at the State of the Net conference, Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, said an infrastructure bill should increase broadband deployment and suggested that Congress should seek bipartisan solutions. Yesterday, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) released “A Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure,” where proposing $20 billion in funding to expand broadband deployment and next generation 911 services, which the plan says will put 260,000 Americans to work.
It is encouraging to see a consensus emerging that new infrastructure should allow Americans to not only enjoy the benefits of these new technologies, but to also create jobs for hard working Americans.
In addition to creating smart infrastructure that is embedded with technology, we need spectrum, a term used to describe the radio frequencies that all wireless communications use to connect, to be widely available. The bipartisan MOBILE NOW Act sets strong goals for making new spectrum available for mobile use, both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, and evaluates how all spectrum bands are used. If signed into law, this measure would increase certainty for companies to invest in wireless broadband technologies and infrastructure, and help meet the needs of the smart, intelligent, connected infrastructure discussed above. The forward looking bill helps meet consumer and industry demand by codifying a significant goal of making 500 MHz of spectrum available by 2020. It is encouraging to see the Senate Commerce Committee quickly act to again pass this bipartisan legislation.
Smart infrastructure and broadband deployment will enhance the lives of the American people and pave the way for new avenues of growth for our economy. The tech community looks forward to working with President Trump and Congressional leaders to enact policies that create jobs, stimulate investment, and bring the benefits of technology to more Americans in our increasingly connected society.