FCC Permit ‘Shot Clocks’ Provides ‘Predictability’ to Wireless Infrastructure Builds: T-Mobile : Broadband Breakfast

There is a universal consensus that 5G wireless technology will be a game changer to close the digital divide. The question is whether or not private investment will be enough to deploy the necessary infrastructure. A new report shows that capital expenditures from wireless providers will reach a record high in 2021, as 5G sees tremendous growth and will continue to help connect households currently not served by broadband.

CTIA’s 2022 Annual Wireless Industry Survey shows that wireless providers are investing $35 billion to grow and upgrade their networks, the fourth consecutive year of industry growth.

CTIA said this is “a strong trend that emphasizes the social importance of wireless connectivity and underscores the industry’s commitment to building a strong platform for innovation that connects all communities.”

5G has experienced a quantum leap in growth since it was first launched in 2018, as infrastructure reforms that eased deployment barriers caused 5G to grow twice as fast as 4G. As the Federal Communications Commission and state legislatures work to modernize regulations on key sites that could hamper the technology’s growth, wireless providers have added 70,000 active cell sites. There are currently nearly 420,000 operational cell sites in the United States

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As CTIA notes, “More cell sites improve coverage, encourage adoption and help close the digital divide.”

Clearly consumers want faster mobile internet speeds as the number of connected 5G devices has grown by more than 500 percent in the past year from 14 million to Accenture’s 85 million. About a third of Americans now have an active 5G device.

CTIA points out that the number of connections requiring wireless technology is helping its growth – everything from smart watches to medical sensors. Such data measuring devices represent about 42 percent of all wireless connections.

Wireless providers have invested nearly $121 billion into their networks since the launch of 5G.

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CTIA said that in an era of tremendous inflation, the wireless industry’s investment, combined with increased market competition, has led to lower prices, “providing a welcome contrast to an economy where consumers have experienced price increases for 94 percent of goods and services tracked across the .”

Since 2010, the cost of unlimited data plans has dropped 43 percent while wireless speeds have increased 85-fold over the same period.

Investment and competition have also led to new innovations such as 5G for home broadband and 5G fixed wireless. The latter is particularly useful for connecting rural areas where it is difficult to make a fiber business case due to long-distance connection costs. CTIA says 5G home broadband is available in more than 40 million households, providing home connections across the spectrum with high capacity and low latency rather than wired connections.

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The report also shows that 5G helps reduce the impact of climate change by creating green jobs in key industries. Accenture found that 5G-enabled use cases should deliver 20 percent of US emissions reduction targets by 2025.

5G is clearly helping usher in a new era of connectivity in this country. CTIA statistics are encouraging signs that the latest wireless technology is helping to bring broadband access to more Americans than ever before. The best part of this growth is that taxpayer dollars are not wasted.

Johnny Kampis is director of telecommunications policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. This discount is exclusive to Breakfast Broadband.

The Broadband Breakfast received comments from knowledgeable observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to [email protected] The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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