As a kid, in the early ’80s, a Sony Walkman and The Clapper were the closest things I had to mobile entertainment and home lighting automation. Some 30 years later, my kids can text, share live video and lock the doors from a hand held device. The smartphone with a myriad of apps has become the modern day version of my Swiss Army Knife.
And yet, the pace of technological innovation is still rapidly accelerating with the promise of giving everyone access to a new and truly wireless environment. Access to high speed reliable mobile broadband is becoming fundamental to economic growth and social equity. So now is not the time to sit back and marvel at how far wireless technology has come, at least not if we want our communities to prosper in the coming decades.
One of the more important projects I have been involved in over the last year has been as Chair of an Innovation and Technology Council working group at the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA). The initial phase of our group’s effort was to survey and study emerging trends and changing roles for municipal government in fostering mobile broadband deployments. With several leaders in the space, I co-authored a WIA paper entitled Unleashing the Economic Benefits of Mobile Broadband Expansion. In the paper, our group sets the stage for policy change and implementation at the municipal level to remove barriers to deployment of small cells and deliver the benefits of mobile broadband.
It’s definitely time to change the conversation locally and advocate for municipal policies, practices and regulations that foster mobile broadband. Our communities depend on it.