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The Key To The Future Of Self-Driving Cars: 5G

By Mike Montgomery

It’s been six years since Nevada became the first state to allow self-driving cars. Since 2012, we have seen an additional twenty-one states pass legislation related to autonomous vehicles – including several bills in California.

While autonomous technology is still largely in its infancy, we’re still a long way from the imagined future of people sitting back and reading the paper while their car drives them to work.

In addition to the obvious convenience-oriented benefits, there are serious safety and economic implications tied to self-driving cars. In 2016 alone, 40,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents – with distracted driving or human error being the top cause. According to a report from Strategy Analytics, driverless-vehicles could save an estimated 585,000 lives.

Saving lives and limiting traffic accidents are undoubtedly the biggest benefits of autonomous technology, but the economic benefits can’t be ignored. The same report from Strategy Analytics, noted that autonomous vehicles could become a $7 trillion industry by 2050 and could save as much as 250 million hours of commuting time around the globe.

Considering the massive benefits of self-driving vehicles, the natural question becomes, “where do we currently stand?”

In short, we have seen some progress over the past 6 years. Today, a driverless eight-passenger van is making the rounds of downtown Las Vegas, and similar shuttles are popping up around the country. Uber is testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and Waymo, a Google spinoff, is offering self-driving taxi rides in Phoenix.

However, there are still more than a handful of barriers to broad deployment.

Let’s start with the less concerning reason – public perception. The self-driving car industry isn’t developing at the anticipated pace, at least in part, due to consumer angst. A recent AAA survey showed that 73% of American drivers say they would be too scared to ride in an autonomous vehicle, up from 63% a year ago. The uptick in apprehension is likely due to some recent high-profile mishaps, but overall the mistrust of the new technology is largely emotional and not data driven. Nonetheless, this is still an issue facing the industry.

Writing in Fortune, Eric Ellis of consulting firm Kotter, says that in order to overcome this reluctance, autonomous car companies have to slowly earn peoples’ trust. And while most people may not acknowledge it, we are already giving more control to our cars through lane departure assist, blind spot detection and self-parking features.

It is likely that autonomous vehicles will follow a similar adoption and perception cycle as the smart phone. When Steve Jobs released the first iPhone 11 years ago, there was no shortage of skeptics. Most infamously, former Microsoft CEO and current Clippers owner, Steve Ballmer said of the iPhone, “[t]here’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” Much to Ballmer and other skeptic’s dismay, by 2011, 35% of the population owned a smart phone and today a whopping 77% of the population uses a smart phone.

This leads us to the bigger problem — our communications infrastructure needs to be modernized. Specifically, we must deploy next generation wireless infrastructure to support the colossal amount of data required to power autonomous vehicles. For self-driving cars to be able to react appropriately, they must have instant access to information about the environment and be able to share and receive information with other self-driving cars on the road. The average autonomous vehicle will use around 4,000 GB of data a day.

While today’s 4G network can support a small amount of these vehicles, self-driving cars cannot be deployed at scale until our networks are made much denser, and ultimately transition from 4G to 5G. Obviously, having a self-driving car “buffer” or “lag” like a video download on a mobile device is not an option.

Infrastructure upgrades, particularly network densification via small cells underpinned by high-capacity fiber optic cable, are crucial to making our autonomous future a reality. You see, small cells will serve as the backbone and fiber will serve as the life-blood for future wireless networks such as 5G. According to tests conducted by technology giant Qualcomm, 5G will be 20 times faster, support 100 times the network capacity and reduce end-to-end latency by 10 times. This type of speed and efficiency provided by 5G is the key to the future of self-driving cars.

However, small cell and fiber deployment, much like autonomous vehicle progress, is not happening fast enough. The reality is, we will need thousands of small cells connected by thousands of route miles of fiber for our mobile networks to reach their full potential.

Prioritizing communications infrastructure buildout now is not only fundamental to speeding the adoption of self-driving cars, but enabling countless innovations that stand to make our communities smarter and safer through the power of 5G.

Cities Shouldn’t Wait For 5G To Install Small Cell Antennas

By Mike Montgomery

It’s hard to remember, but a little more than a decade ago flip phones were the height of mobile phone innovation. Texting via a numerical keypad was all the rage and only a handful of mobile devices could even access the internet.

The difference between that time and today is remarkable. Now we do everything on our phones – staying in touch with friends via video chat, keeping up with family on social media, banking and even watching movies. A lot of these advances have come from improved device technology, but many have come from upgrades to the networks that power our devices to make room for the extra data needed to keep us hyper-connected.

For many of us, 4G isn’t the marvel it used to be. Dropped calls, slow downloads and sinking number of bars have become more prevalent as we continue to add more and more devices to our wireless networks. And guess what? Our networks are going to continue to get more crowded – according to projections, in North America alone mobile data traffic will reach 6.4 Exabytes per month by 2021.

The good news is, there is a solution to our capacity problems, and that solution is already underway – upgrade both our network and the infrastructure that powers it. Let’s start with the network upgrade. The next evolution of our mobile networks will be 5G, but in reality 5G will be more of a revolution.

You see, 5G is expected to be 100 times faster and support 100 times the capacity of 4G. The benefits to users are obvious – instantaneous video downloads, fewer dropped calls, zero lag in live video – but 5G will also be a major boost for the U.S. economy. Accenture predicts that 5G will bring with it $500 billion in GDP growth by making smart cities a reality. 5G is the key to faster speeds and more connections points, which will ultimately help cities use less energy through smart grids, limit commute times and traffic fatalities by powering self-driving cars, allow cities to deploy sensors that will instantaneously alert police to things like gunshots, and help make emergency services more efficient.

However, 5G is not available to the public yet and the rollout of the network will take several years, which obviously doesn’t do much for our immediate capacity issue. What will help immediately, and is also an absolute necessity to making 5G a reality, is the modernization of our communications infrastructure.

While we wait for the 5G revolution, cities can begin to reap the immediate 4G boosting benefits of new wireless antennas known as small cells. Small cells are exactly what they sound like, small, low-powered nodes located near the end user that add much needed capacity to existing 4G networks while simultaneously laying the groundwork for 5G – small cells will literally serve as the backbone of 5G networks. Thanks to their size and ability to be camouflaged, small cells can be placed on utility poles, traffic lights, even under the seats in a stadium.

London is already doing this – building out a network of small cells to improve 4G coverage in the city. According to Techradar:

“As the finance capital of Europe, it was seen as unacceptable to have poor mobile coverage thanks to the numerous tall buildings blocking signals. Small cells were identified as the ideal solution.”

London expects to have 400 small cells by March 2019.

The essential point, small cells help bridge the gap between 4G and 5G while improving the customer experience right away. Installing a robust small cell network now is a rare win-win for cities by allowing them to deal with the immediate growth of data traffic – which climbed 238% in the last two years alone – while laying the groundwork for 5G.

Small Cells For The Win: Powerful Connectivity During Major Events is No Longer a Wish List Item — It’s Now a Must

By Mike Montgomery

When the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers tipped off earlier this month in front of 20,000 fans at Oracle Arena, there were at least 20,000 (likely more) wireless devices in the audience. Those lucky enough to have scored the golden ticket didn’t hesitate to text, post on social networks, browse the web and yes, even stream live video during the game. And make no mistake about it, users expected that their messages, posts and videos would process without a hitch.

As anyone who has been to a sporting event, concert, rally or even a large graduation ceremony recently can attest, the absence of even a single bar or two of connectivity can be a frustrating experience. Networks quickly get bogged down when thousands of people with thousands of devices compete for the attention of the local communications infrastructure.

The most extreme example of this is the Super Bowl. In 2015 Verizon handled 7 terabytes of data at Super Bowl XLIX. In 2017, that number was up to 11 terabytes.

Stadiums use a hodgepodge of different methods to deal with the increased traffic. Today, most stadiums (including Oracle) have Wi-Fi — others work with communications companies on temporary solutions around large events.

Recently, we have seen stadiums take a more progressive and effective approach by installing antenna systems made up predominantly of a network of small cells — discreet nodes that can fit under seats or in the rafters. These antennas help build a more robust network inside the arena, specifically densifying the network by adding much needed capacity to deal with increased demand. That’s what U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis did before the most recent Super Bowl. Verizon upped its small cell count to 1,200 from 900, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, and AT&T and Sprint each deployed 800 small cells.

As demand for data grows, these tight-knit small cell networks must be expanded beyond stadiums and venues. Data traffic grew 238% over the last two years driven mostly by video and social networking. Further, traffic per user in North America is set to grow from 7 gigabytes today to 22GB by 2022.

The good news, small cells are already popping up in cities across America. Communications companies are investing heavily in small cell deployment understanding that our infrastructure is the bedrock of present and future connectivity. You see, not only do small cells add much needed capacity to power our current networks, but they are the key to ushering in the era of 5G – which will allow data to move 10 times faster than the current 4G network.

The bad news, largely due too unnecessary and dated regulatory red-tape, antennas are not being deployed quickly enough —a big reason the U.S. currently lags both China and South Korea is the race to 5G.

Just as the Warriors solidified themselves as the basketball dynasty of this generation with their clean sweep of the Cavaliers, America must establish itself as the technology dynasty of this generation by keeping us connected today and winning the race to 5G tomorrow — both of which start with infrastructure.

 

 

 

Study Shows Consumers Benefit From Free Streaming Data

Legislation to ban “zero-rated” free streaming data impacts 3.6 million consumers

A recently released analysis, Benefits to California Consumers from Zero-Rated Data, authored by Dr. David W. Sosa, Ph.D., shows 3.6 million Californians are benefiting today from “zero-rated” free streaming data. Proposed legislation in California, Senate Bill 822, would ban these types of plans. The findings from Dr. Sosa show that a ban on these types of zero-rating services would “disproportionately” impact minority and lower income consumers that “are more reliant on smartphones to access the internet.” Some of these consumers could have to pay $30 per month more.

Read the full report here.

As FCC Net Neutrality Rules Expire, Internet Survives — For Now

savethenet

This story originally appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle.

By Benny Evangelista

The internet didn’t crash and burn Monday as the Federal Communications Commission’s old net neutrality rules officially expired, yet the years-long debate remained far from settled.

“This is not doomsday at all. The internet hasn’t broken today,” said Mike Montgomery, executive director of CALinnovates, a technology advocacy organization in San Francisco. “Consumers aren’t going to see or feel anything changing in their internet experience.”

The fear, he and other net neutrality advocates say, is for the future.

The FCC voted in December to rescind regulations enacted during the Obama administration to establish the principle that internet service providers should treat all web traffic equally, without giving preferential treatment to any web company, service or content. The FCC’s new rules, called the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, took full effect Monday.

“This does not mean your broadband provider now has free reign to dictate your online experience,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr wrote on Twitter. The tweet from Carr, who voted to overturn the old rules, was accompanied by an icon symbolizing slowed-down internet download speeds. Twitter introduced the icon last year to note the San Francisco company’s support for net neutrality.

In an opinion published by the tech news site Cnet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the order’s “light touch” regulatory framework returns to an era when internet companies successfully invested $1.5 trillion in building the network. Pai said the new order will allow internet providers to invest in broadband services that reach more rural and low-income communities.

“The bottom line is that our regulatory framework will both protect the free and open internet and deliver more digital opportunity to more Americans,” Pai wrote. “It’s worked before and it will work again.”

Big internet companies like AT&T pledged to adhere to net neutrality principles.

“Our commitment to an open internet will not waver, just as our customers expect and deserve,” AT&T executive vice president Joan Marsh said in a statement.

Moody’s Investors Service said in a research note that the biggest internet providers — AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Charter — “will tread lightly … as there could be significant negative public reaction to these acts. At least in the near term, the cost of negative publicity on their existing businesses far outweighs the benefit of additional revenue streams these companies can generate” from practices like paid prioritization or accepting payment to preferentially speed delivery of certain apps or services.

A federal judge is scheduled to rule Tuesday on the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block AT&T’s proposed purchase of Time Warner, which “will have wide-reaching ramifications across the telecommunications, media and tech industry for decades to come,” said analyst Daniel Ives of GBH Insights. Net neutrality proponents worry that telecom companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast could favor their own media properties.

Consumer rights attorney Michael Burg, a founder of the Denver law firm Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, noted a recent example from the TV industry when the conservative media giant Sinclair Broadcast Group had station anchors read a statement criticizing other media outlets.

“This opens the door for that on the internet,” Burg said. “People are always saying ‘No, that’s not going to happen.’ But we never believed we’d have Russian interference in our elections through Facebook. Once you allow money to affect the information or the flow of information or the speed of information, this is a very slippery slope that we as consumers must be very concerned about.”

California currently has two of its own net neutrality bills, which have passed the state Senate and moved on to the Assembly. But Burg said the state’s right to preempt the FCC’s nationwide rules will be challenged in the courts.

Both he and Montgomery of CALinnovates believe Congress needs to settle the matter by passing net neutrality rules that cover the entire country.

“We really can’t do this on a piecemeal, state-by-state basis,” Montgomery said. “We need one piece of legislation that’s going to clarify the rules for everyone. And not just in one or two or five states across the country.”

He conceded that could prove to be a big task “given the state of politics in general.”

Mobile Connectivity Key To More Reliable Emergency Communications

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By Mike Montgomery

Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans own a mobile phone (95%), with three-quarters of us owning smartphones. Whether we’re ordering dinner or a ride home, apps on our phones always seem to know our location. It is a common misconception, however, that because apps like Lyft and Postmates know where we are, that in emergency situations, first responders will also be able to find us.

The truth is far more complicated. Our apps know where we are because of opt-in location services on our devices. Ride sharing services, for example, use GPS, cellular and Wi-Fi access points to pinpoint your location. But when calling 911 from your cell phone, the emergency operator will more than likely not know your exact location because the only information your phone transmits to the operator is the Caller ID and location of the nearest cell tower that is connecting the call. It is mind-boggling to think that more often than not, your pizza delivery person has more accurate location information than the paramedics – especially when you consider the fact that upwards of 80% of 911 calls originate from a mobile device.

Additionally, mobile communication plays a huge role in disaster mitigation. Mobile alerts are used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing persons, natural disasters and other critical situations – an absolute necessity as more than 50% of households have abandoned their landline. Even the FCC has called wireless emergency alerts “an essential part of America’s emergency preparedness”.

Most municipalities have systems in place to alert residents of pending danger but often these systems require residents to know they exists (hint: many do not) and opt-in. And sometimes these systems fail – alerts come too late, or not at all. That’s what happened in Santa Barbara in January when mudslides wiped out hundreds of homes and killed at least 20 people. Residents in the evacuation areas said they never saw the mobile alerts. The state experienced similar problems late last year when trying to alert people to evacuate from massive fires in Santa Barbara and Napa Valley.

There is no denying the direct correlation between public safety and connectivity. As such, we must ensure that our communities always have access to the best available communications tools.

So, where do we start? The answer, infrastructure.

Upgrading our wireless infrastructure – specifically deploying a robust network of densification devices know as small cells – is key to ensuring present and future connectivity. Right now, our devices are mostly connected by large towers or macro antennas spread miles apart.

Small cells, on the other hand, are small antennas or nodes, affixed to existing infrastructure in close proximity to one another. The lack of distance between nodes is one of the factors that allows for the increased wireless coverage and capacity.

A robust small cell network makes for a more resilient and reliable network, which will ultimately allow for 911 operators to get a better read on where a person is located and ensure that mobile alerts are pushed out in an effective and timely manner.

Further, building out a permanent network of small cells across the country will not only help ensure our safety today, but will also serve as the backbone for future 5G networks that will redefine what we think of as being “connected”.

There’s no question that we must find better ways to utilize mobile technology to ensure people can find safety during an emergency, whether that means calling 911 or evacuating before a natural disaster. The devices we all carry in our pockets have the potential to save our lives, and it would be irresponsible of us to not take full advantage of the technology right at our fingertips.

A Second Chance At Net Neutrality

This post originally appeared in The Houston Chronicle.

By Mike Montgomery

As Americans worry our politics has lost the ability to solve even the most basic problems, net neutrality provides a perfect opportunity for Congress to prove the doubters wrong.

Net neutrality is the basic idea that the internet should be fair, free, and open to all Americans on equal terms. No one should be forced into online slow lanes or denied access to whatever lawful websites they want to visit and no big company should be allowed to use its power over cyberspace to gain a competitive advantage or silence minority points of view. It is incredibly popular with the public – polls show that more than three quarters of Americans support it – and Congressional leaders in both parties are on board.

For most of this year, however, progress on net neutrality has been stymied by the same kinds of backwards looking partisan grandstanding that has crippled other popular and vital issues like infrastructure, gun safety and immigration reform. Rather than take up strong, comprehensive neutrality legislation that would easily earn majority support, fringe partisans have forced unpopular and divisive versions of neutrality to center stage – knowing they would fail and thus create new campaign and fundraising fodder.

That’s what recently happened in the Senate where a flawed and incomplete version of net neutrality narrowly squeaked through on an almost party line vote – dead end legislation that everyone knows will not pass the House. The sponsors of this gridlock are just fine with this of course – they can mount the social media barricades and denounce Congress’s failure to act without anyone realizing their own choices led us down this cul de sac. It’s Americans that depend on a free and open internet who will pay the price.

In ordinary times, that would probably be the end of it. Can kicked down the road. Washington 1, the public 0.

But these are no ordinary times. The recent crisis over Facebook and Cambridge Analytica has completely flipped the script in Washington and the demand for comprehensive action to regulate the Big Tech giants creates a rare second chance for Congress to get the issue of internet regulation right.

 After years as an unquestioned “white hat” providing amazing and free products and services and hiding behind a glib “do no evil” façade, the Silicon Valley monopolists have now been dragged out into the light. And from election attacks, to secret location tracking, to facilitating sex trafficking and illegal opioid sales, what the public is seeing isn’t pretty.

As the internet becomes ever more central to our economic, political and cultural lives, the current “hear no evil, see no evil” approach to regulating it plainly isn’t good enough. Not in the face of these mighty new monopolies – where Google captures roughly 80 percent of online searches, Facebook has signed up more than 2 billion users, and every other dollar spent online goes to Amazon. Europe has already starting moving on this – imposing a $2.7 billion fine on Google for prioritizing its own products in search results and fining Facebook $131 million in connection with its acquisition of competitor WhatsApp. But so far the U.S. has lagged behind.

And that creates a rare second chance for Congress to get internet regulation right – with a comprehensive approach to net neutrality, privacy and fair competition that covers the entire online ecosystem.

Unlike the narrow “CRA” version of net neutrality now marooned in the House, a new bill must cover all internet companies, including the tech platforms like Google and Facebook that shape so much of what do and see online. What good are equal treatment rules that don’t apply to the companies that shape our newsfeeds, manage our social connections and determine the answers to our most personal questions?

It should also reach beyond traditional regulatory silos and address interrelated concerns like privacy and data mining, algorithmic discrimination, and competition abuses that flow from the Big Tech platforms’ status as curators and gatekeepers online.

Calls for comprehensive legislation on this issue are coming from all quarters – including the major internet providers, civil rights leaders and the free market community. And the public demands it – in one recent poll, 55 percent of Americans feared the government wouldn’t do enough to rein in Big Tech.

Congress doesn’t often get a second chance on major policy issues. But it has one now on net neutrality.

It’s Time For Comprehensive Internet Regulations

This story originally appeared on MorningConsult.com.

By Mike Montgomery

Testifying in front of Congress recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was surprisingly cool and collected. Many thought the executive, whom Forbes lists as the fifth richest person in the world, would display trademark arrogance. Instead, he came across as contrite and compromising. More important, however, was the substance of the hearings. The back and forth between Zuckerberg and congressmen illustrated the confusion around online privacy and the need for new rules that takes into account the dominance of online platforms like Facebook.  

Momentum is building on the Hill to pass a law to govern how companies like Facebook protect and use our data. And while it’s important that internet companies — which must be able to adapt quickly to reflect the fluidity of the internet landscape — not be overregulated, there’s a growing need for some sort of comprehensive internet policy framework that addresses privacy.

Consumers, in particular, are becoming increasingly frustrated by the realization that they have no idea what most companies do with the millions of data points they collect. But, while the legislative vacuum at the federal level persists, some states are misguidedly stepping in. The result will be an unworkable patchwork of laws that will confuse consumers and harm innovation.

We’ve seen this pattern before.

For years, consumers have worried about the safety of their personal information online. With major breaches at companies that hold sensitive data like Equifax, those concerns have only grown over time. According to a Pew Research Center poll, a mere 18 percent of adults feel their data is better protected now than it was five years ago.

Congress continues to work on data-breach legislation but has not passed any rules that would guide companies on how they should handle the risk of data breaches. Instead, states started putting their own laws on the books.

California passed a law in 2003 requiring companies to notify customers if their data had been breached. One by one, over the next 14 years, 48 states passed their own versions. The last two states, Alabama and South Dakota, only passed notification laws this year. This isn’t the way to build a nationwide privacy law. And, worse still, the laws of those 50 states vary widely from state to state, ensuring unequal protections for consumers and headaches for businesses.

We don’t want to see the same thing happening around privacy, where Congress talks about the issue year after year but never pushes a bill over the goal line. Now is the time to act with urgency. There’s too much at stake. The promise of the digital world, including artificial intelligence and machine learning for health care, banking and communications, depends on massive amounts of data. Internet and connected companies of tomorrow will need clear rules in order to build new applications that could change (and hopefully revolutionize) our lives.

Today, entrepreneurs are struggling more and more to create new businesses in an atmosphere where regulations are uncertain, change or vary from state to state.

For example, executives in the educational technology space are attempting to abide by varying and competing regulations on student privacy. There is enormous potential for technology to improve the way our kids learn. But, the way companies can collect and use data related to children varies greatly from state to state, making it incredibly difficult (and expensive) for new companies to design business models that will work in every state. Who knows how much further along tech education would be if there were consistent rules that protected children while encouraging innovation?

It is crucially important to figure out rules around how companies treat consumers’ online information. Consumer demands for a privacy law will only get louder the more they learn about how Facebook and others use data or other problems come to light — whether that’s through a hack or a third party who obtains their data with nefarious motives. Congress should tune in to this rising chorus and pass a clear and strong internet privacy policy that is consistent in how it applies to all companies operating online and makes clear that privacy policy is a federal issue that demands one set of rules for all to follow.  

If successful, the digital leaders of tomorrow will have a level playing field to build from, and consumers will have faith that their online world is protected.

To Stay Globally Competitive, The U.S. Needs To Embrace 5G

By Kish Rajan

Walk down the street in any American city and it’s easy to see that we are already deep into the wireless age. Ninety-five percent of Americans now own a cellphone, and we are using our devices not only to communicate but to watch videos, order cars, handle banking and much more.

But we are only beginning to understand what will become of our insatiable appetite for next-generation connectivity. In the past two years alone, data traffic has increased 238%. With the advent of the internet of things (IoT) – which will connect cars, household appliances and even pets – that data usage is going to grow exponentially.

In order to handle this traffic, America must get ahead of the curve by upgrading our network to 5G. The state-of-the-art 5G wireless network promises to handle 100 times more capacity and move data 10 times faster than the current 4G LTE network most prevalent in the U.S.

However, according to a recent study, America is lagging behind both China and South Korea when it comes to 5G deployment – which is a potential big problem for our country.

Why? Well, there’s more at stake here than just lightning-fast video downloads. 5G will create enormous economic growth. Accenture estimates that 5G could lead to $275 billion in investments, 3 million new jobs and $500 billion in GDP growth. Faster wireless networks will position us to see incredible innovation in smart-cities technology, healthcare and education.

To date, the U.S. has been the global leader in innovation – in large part due to our leadership in the wireless space – but there’s a real risk America will lose our position to China and South Korea if we lose the race to 5G.

The economic benefit of leading the move to the next level of network speed and capacity is not fiction. History shows that 5G will provide tremendous economic benefit. America led the way on 4G technology, resulting in $100 billion in economic impact. We took that lead position from the European Union, which had been ahead of the game on 2G. Losing that front-runner status led to job losses and contractions in the telecom hardware and software industries in Europe.

We can’t afford to have the same thing happen in the U.S.

Bringing 5G technology, and all of its benefits, to market requires the deployment of new infrastructure, namely a new network of small wireless nodes called “small cells.” Small cells are about the size of a pizza-box and are most commonly attached to existing infrastructure, such as utility poles and streetlights. In order to lay the foundation for 5G, we will need small cells deployed in mass to optimize the strength and reach of the coverage.

To roll out these new networks, municipalities and states must be forward-thinking. We can’t just default to the regulations established in the past that slow the deployment of small cells. We must rethink regulations to allow for 5G networks to spring up all over the country so every community can benefit.

If not, there’s a real risk we will not only fall behind China and South Korea, but that within the U.S., we will be creating a new type of digital divide.

Cities such as Sacramento and Long Beach in California are aggressively moving forward with 5G. Officials in Long Beach hope that the new network will help bridge the city’s digital divide and attract new businesses. These emerging cities may find themselves attracting the Googles and Amazons of tomorrow as larger cities drag their feet on 5G.

While that might be good for some, it would be better for entrepreneurs everywhere to have access to the 5G network. If we don’t put ourselves in a position to lead on 5G, we could feel the effects in the not-too-distant future.

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