The road to 5G: The inevitable growth of infrastructure cost


Been waiting for five g. The fifth generation of wireless technology for years and the promise of it is great. That will eventually be a hundred times faster than four. G and make technologies like driverless cars and augmented. Reality more sophisticated. But there's still a lot. The incoming biden administration and telecom companies will have to do before we have the five g. We've been promised doug break is director of broadband and spectrum policy at the information technology and innovation foundation. He says there are several different kinds of five g. And we're pretty far off from having the fastest kind from coast to coast. We're still sort of in early days of rolling out this technology and some of the most advanced flavors of five g that has a pretty narrow geographic reach while that's sort of the most advanced and gives you the greatest leap in performance it still relatively limited in where it's available. Those were broad five g that still being pushed out. We'll certainly be better. But it's not as as dramatic improvement as the millimeter wave that they call it the high frequency spectrum. What steps do you think biden and we'll take on infrastructure. I do think that there's a lot of hope a big opportunity for a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure package that includes significant amount of rural broadband funding. You know when you get out into rural areas and it just no longer becomes economical just because of the population density. You have to build up so much more infrastructure to cover a in even smaller population right. It's just you know. Classic market failure where given a tremendous benefits of this technology and all the spillover benefits to the economy and the and really are are sort of competitive industries certainly justified for the us. To be spending a significant amount money to subsidize deployment of both wired and wireless networks into rural areas. There's that needs to be built for five g. to really get off the ground in the us. How do you think the biden administration approach that. I would hope at least a few billion usually. There's a big time lag between the rnd and our rb processes that where you see. Universities kind of develop initial technologies and then that gets you develop and taken over by corporations that want to invest in this area so it makes sense now for us to be investing in the rnd so that we don't feel silly even bringing up the six gb right. We're still in the midst of five g but it's like we do need to be investing in. Rnd to be leading the way in developing the next generation of wireless well on that. know it. In your estimation how much does the federal government need to spend on infrastructure for this to work your if we're talking about rural broadband. There's quite a few numbers that are that are thrown around out there on the low in some of the estimates from the waning days of the obama administration said that it would take about forty billion dollars to get to ninety eight percent coverage with broadband that could easily be upgraded to To stick with the demands well into the future Hundred billion is out there. As as one of the key. Democratic proposals in in legislation has been drafted. And so i think we'd see somewhere between fifty one hundred billion set aside for for rural broadband. That i mean really could do a lot of good to move towards a future where we don't have nearly as bad a divide between rural and urban areas when it comes to connectivity which obviously living through the pandemic has has become critical tool these days. Doug break with the information technology and innovation foundation speaking of six g. Yes companies are already working on it and it's supposed to be even faster than five g. Well let's not get ahead of ourselves

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