Post Hero Image: cell connections across the country

In 1956, Charles Gindsburg created the first video recorder with a team of researchers. Four years later, in 1960, physicist Theodore Maiman constructed the first working laser. And in 1976, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs introduced Apple Computer 1 to the world. What do all of these innovations have in common? Each was invented in California and helped fuel one of the state’s most prominent economic ecosystems: the tech industry.

California’s leadership in tech innovation is now at a crossroads. The State Assembly is currently considering SB 649, the small cells or 5G bill, which recently passed the State Senate. This bill will ease the deployment of “small cell” antennas, which are necessary for the next generation wireless network service, 5G. Ten other states have already passed similar bills recognizing the need to deploy this new network to advance their digital economies. Those states, which include Florida, Texas, Ohio, and Virginia, want to attract emerging tech companies and new business opportunities — and all recognize lightning speed internet is a good start.

In 1956, Charles Gindsburg created the first video recorder with a team of researchers. Four years later, in 1960, physicist Theodore Maiman constructed the first working laser. And in 1976, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs introduced Apple Computer 1 to the world. What do all of these innovations have in common? Each was invented in California and helped fuel one of the state’s most prominent economic ecosystems: the tech industry.

California’s leadership in tech innovation is now at a crossroads. The State Assembly is currently considering SB 649, the small cells or 5G bill, which recently passed the State Senate. This bill will ease the deployment of “small cell” antennas, which are necessary for the next generation wireless network service, 5G. Ten other states have already passed similar bills recognizing the need to deploy this new network to advance their digital economies. Those states, which include Florida, Texas, Ohio, and Virginia, want to attract emerging tech companies and new business opportunities — and all recognize lightning speed internet is a good start.

5G will be 10 to 100 times faster than our current network, 4G LTE, and will enable a host of new technologies to become widespread realities, such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and smart manufacturing. It will also meet and keep up with the exploding demand for mobile data as people use their smartphones and tablets on a near constant basis. 5G is predicted to bring a 3% growth to the U.S. GDP, create millions of new jobs, and allow for more efficient production capabilities from farms to factories. The economic benefits of a 5G bill for California are undeniable: 5G deployment is expected to add 375,00 long-term jobs along with $13 billion in estimated GDP growth in the state.

But for 5G to be deployed, it is going to require new infrastructure. Wireless broadband infrastructure, including thousands of small cell antennas, is currently subject to slow and overly burdensome permitting procedures designed to regulate 200-foot cell towers.

One lawmaker in Florida aptly pointed out that “5G is the next generation of wireless networks that will allow users to move data at much faster speeds. In order for Florida to be a part of this technological revolution that is beginning to happen in other states, wireless communication providers need to be able to put in place the proper infrastructure needed to support 5G technology from the Panhandle to the Keys.

In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey, a champion of 5G deployment across the state, signed a bill into law streamlining the process saying, “In the 21st century, entrepreneurs shouldn’t have to jump through a patchwork of regulatory hurdles or navigate a maze of permits and fees in order to offer Arizonans access to mobile data. That’s what the legislation ensures. This legislation will go a long way in solidifying our reputation as a state where new and exciting tech companies can set up shop and flourish.”

And in Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was even more direct in making the connection between 5G and jobs when he signed a small cells bill. “I am proud to sign this new law placing Virginia at the forefront of all the economic benefits that will flow from even faster 5G Internet connections,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I have made it a top priority to spur investment and job opportunities across the Commonwealth, and this law will help deliver that goal whether through improved education opportunities, better healthcare delivery, or autonomous transportation systems.”

Enticing tech companies, new jobs, and economic growth is precisely why many states are passing small cell legislation and why California should pass similar legislation. As tech companies look to grow the Internet of Things and explore advanced technologies such as driverless cars, remote surgical units, and remote operation of heavy construction machinery, they will need the network capabilities of 5G, which will drastically reduce the latency (that is, lag time) we see on 4G LTE networks. This full-scale deployment of 5G will open the door to these new innovations.

And beyond economic growth, deploying 5G across California will help increase public safety, expand healthcare coverage, reduce harmful emissions, boost small businesses, and even reduce burdensome commutes. So don’t let California fall behind as other states move forward. Encourage your State Assembly representative to support SB 649 and bring the life-changing network to every Californian community.