The U.S. is the world leader in deployment of 4G wireless networks. From President Obama to his Federal Communications Commission Chairman, national leaders are touting the central role of this next-generation infrastructure to our economy.
Over the past four years, direct U.S. employment by wireless carriers has grown almost 6 percent annually. Overall wireless innovation supports nearly 3.8 million American jobs and contributes nearly $200 billion to the U.S. GDP. And the next wave of innovative networks alone could add $151 billion to our GDP over the next four years and create 770,000 U.S. jobs.
Consumers rely on mobile communications in every aspect of their lives. There are now more mobile subscriptions than people in the U.S. One in five Americans now use a handheld device to access the Internet on a daily basis and mobile data traffic is expected to grow 100-fold over the next 10 years.
Only a small portion of spectrum is currently allocated to the wireless web. Yet the FCC predicts that demand for wireless connectivity could surpass existing capacity as early as next year, with massive deficits soon to follow, resulting in unreliable service and higher connectivity costs.
The Administration has proposed efforts to address the spectrum shortage, but many will take substantial time to implement. So it is critical that the government also take immediate steps, with tools readily available today, to provide relief to consumers and our economy in the short-run.
Simply put, the U.S. needs an 'all of the above' strategy to meet our nation's growing appetite for mobile Internet services. And, here are several concrete steps that our leaders can make this year to help avert 'comm-mageddon.'
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