Wireless legislation can lift businesses in all communities: Guest commentary
April 11, 2017
By: Hector Barreto
Last month, The Latino Coalition hosted Vice President Mike Pence at our Make Small Business Great Again Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. In his remarks, the vice president championed the Trump administration’s honorable efforts to restart our country’s regulatory engine, create jobs and spur economic growth around the country.
His comments on economic pathways to encourage small business growth truly resonated with our audience:
“The difference between a small business and a big business is big government,” Pence said. “Get government out of the way.”
California’s Legislature has an opportunity to act on this call to action for Latinos throughout the state who depend on our rapidly growing digital economy. Senate Bill 649, by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-Chula Vista, would pave the way for next-generation wireless networks by helping to streamline the burdensome government permitting process.
Internet connectivity is an essential driver for economic activity, and the development of new technologies promises even greater opportunities. State-of-the-art 5G wireless networks, in particular, offer Latino entrepreneurs immeasurable potential for growth through innovative business models.
PG&E President and CEO Geisha Williams, for example, used smart grid technologies to make record-setting improvements to her company’s electric reliability across the state. Access to innovative tech also allowed her company restore power to communities in breakneck speed after the earthquake in Napa in 2014. As the first Latina to lead a Fortune 500 company and one of the many Latina business leaders leading the way in California’s economy, Williams’ efforts can serve as a model for how Latinos can effectively leverage connectivity to reach business success.
But stories like Williams’ are just a drop in the bucket when you see the problem-solving and economic opportunity 5G will bring in the future. With unparalleled connectivity as well as near instantaneous speeds and increased capacity for data, the 5G world will give countless Latino business owners an array of connected devices and sensors to improve and modernize their business operations.
One report released earlier this year concluded that 5G networks could create as many as 3 million new jobs nationally and $500 billion annually to the U.S. GDP. The study indicates that by vastly improving connectivity speeds, 5G networks will advance teleworking video applications and e-training opportunities, which will bring higher-paying jobs to communities.
In addition to generating economic empowerment, 5G will mean more opportunities for those who fall on the wrong side of the digital divide and depend exclusively on wireless to connect to the Internet.
Robust 5G networks will help Latino students get the access they deserve when it comes to the newest, data intensive connected educational tools.
To fully realize these benefits and many more, however, new infrastructure — fiber optic cables and high-capacity small cells — must be deployed across the state to create a pathway for 5G networks. In order to support this deployment in a timely manner, it is imperative that the public and private sectors work together to limit regulatory bottlenecks and incentivize infrastructure deployments.
Efforts to reduce red tape have already worked at the local level. San Jose updated its zoning procedures to increase small cell deployment in underserved communities. SB649 seeks to build on this by creating paperwork consistency from municipality to municipality.
Passing SB649 — which was unanimously approved by the Senate Utilities Committee last week and is pending before the Senate Committee of Governance and Finance — is the first of many actions needed to create the environment necessary for confident investment in local communities that will enable the 5G future.
Continually enhancing and upgrading our wireless network infrastructure is critical to growing the economy and closing the digital divide. Embracing the modern digital economy will provide Latino communities with new avenues for economic and social vitality. It’s time for government and private sector to come together and embrace the 5G revolution.
Cited From: Los Angeles Daily News