Having a car doesn’t help if you don’t have gas to power it. Having a refrigerator makes no sense if you lack the electricity to cool it. That’s just plain common sense.
I’m increasingly concerned that if we don’t act now, in a few short years our smartphones, which we rely on for so many things, from texting and emailing to sophisticated applications in the areas of health and education, are going to “run out of gas”.
I’m talking about spectrum – the “gas” on which cellphones run. As more and more people have turned to smartphones and tablet computers for the activities of daily life and for running their businesses, the wireless spectrum is becoming crowded, particularly in major cities. Over time, if nothing is done, this will lead to less reliable service – exactly the opposite of what consumers want and businesses need. Fortunately, there is a solution. A bill now being considered in the House will authorize incentive auctions for additional amounts of wireless spectrum and require the FCC to open those auctions to all comers and not put unreasonable restrictions on the use of the spectrum, which will maximize the value of this unique national resource. Congress should pass this bill quickly.
Reliable access to the wireless broadband Internet is a critical issue for the Hispanic community. Our community is adopting this new technology at a fast rate, which helps prepare us for the jobs of the future.
And the potential is even greater. A new report from the economists Robert Shapiro and Kevin Hassett notes that the past transition from second-generation to third-generation wireless systems generated almost 1.6 million jobs between 2007 and 2011, even as the economy as a whole lost jobs. The current transition, to fourth-generation systems that truly exploit the transformative power of wireless broadband, is expected to generate over 230,000 jobs this year alone. A similar study from the Deloitte consulting firm estimates job growth from 4G at over 771,000 in the next several years.
And that transition is just beginning. The way to keep it moving forward is spectrum reform that gets more spectrum into the hands of network operators as soon as possible, so they may open it up to consumers and businesses. We need policies that promote private investment in universal access to wireless broadband, so that our community is not left behind in the broadband future.