January 6, 2022
What to Expect for Wireless Policy 2022
Wireless brings boundless benefits to our everyday lives. Connections with family and friends, telehealth, and remote work rose to the top of wireless use cases in 2021, as we found innovative ways to stay connected. As we look at the year ahead, here are the top three trends to expect in the world of wireless for 2022:
More People Than Ever Will Be Connected
Last year, Congress enacted the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, which will deliver $42.5 billion dollars of investment to help bring faster home broadband to millions of Americans. This will help fund broadband infrastructure projects across the country—in fact, each state will get at least $100 million for these efforts.
What’s another step we can take to connect even more Americans and continue to bridge the digital divide? Spectrum, spectrum, spectrum. Have we mentioned spectrum? The backbone of the wireless ecosystem and what connects calls and data from point A to point B is spectrum. Mid-band spectrum is the “sweet spot” for 5G. Congress needs to prioritize smart spectrum policies to make more licensed mid-band spectrum available, which can accelerate the deployment of 5G and boost the economy. The Boston Consulting Group estimates that 5G deployments could contribute up to $1.7 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and create as many as 4.6 million jobs. That’s a strong case for making additional spectrum available for 5G (and dare we say 6G?) deployment.
Faster and More Reliable Wireless—And Expanded Uses
If you look at the top left or right corner of your phone, you’ll see how you are connected to wireless, and there is an increasing likelihood that the connection shows “5G.” That’s because 5G is rapidly being deployed across the country and now covers more than 300 million Americans. But that doesn’t only mean faster and more reliable wireless for phone calls and video streaming. It also means we are seeing new use cases for 5G. This includes monitoring energy costs, helping reduce emissions and combat climate change. This is true for our daily use, such as installing the new smart thermostat (Side note: See 7 things you didn’t know your smart thermostat can do) you may have just received for the holiday, but equally as true for company applications as well. In the U.S., commitments from the wireless industry alone would be equivalent to removing 2.3 million cars off the road per year. This doesn’t even account for the benefits of implementing 5G technology across other sectors such as power, transport, manufacturing and construction, making emissions savings are even larger.
Now is the Time for National Privacy Legislation
We’ve said this for the past several years, but now is the time for national privacy legislation. Increasingly, states are endeavoring on a well-intentioned but misguided path to pass legislation of their own. This is resulting in a patchwork of state laws that are confusing, have compliance challenges, and inadequate in giving ALL the privacy protections we need.
The good news is that in absence of national privacy legislation, wireless companies have strong privacy policies that protect customer data and empower customers to make informed privacy choices. However, 2022 needs to be the year of privacy to ensure that all Americans are protected even when crossing state lines.
What do you think will be a wireless trend in 2022? Send us a Tweet at @ACTwireless and let us know.