Editorial By: U.S. Rep. Billy Long
It’s finally here, a technological revolution that will increase wireless network speeds across the nation. A technology that will allow those who have never accessed high-speed wireless internet to do so. We have heard so much about it, we see it mentioned in commercials, on the news, but what really is 5G? What are its benefits to society and why is it such a big deal?
5G itself simply stands for the fifth generation of broadband cellular networks. You might be old enough to remember the advent of 3G and 4G wireless networks and the increase in broadband connectivity that those networks presented. The current 4G networks improved connectivity speeds greatly when they first launched, but where these current broadband networks struggle is in their support of the internet of things. In today’s world, everyday items are starting to take up bandwidth on wireless networks; microwaves, pet feeders, thermostats, lights, locks, garage doors, and more can all be controlled by your cell phone. The drastic increase in speeds that 5G presents will not only allow you to download movies, games, and pictures 100 times faster, but also make the networks more viable with the internet of things, being able to connect 100 times more devices.
Not only will 5G improve our speeds and connectivity, but it will also have a great impact on our economy. Companies big and small will be able to optimize their networks and increase efficiency in the delivery of goods and services via the internet. The World Economic Forum estimates that the global upgrade to 5G will result in $13.2 trillion in economic value by 2035. In the United States, the upgrade to 5G could result in upwards of 4.5 million new jobs and $1.5 trillion in economic growth from 2020-30. In Missouri alone, GDP is estimated to grow by $17.5 billion, and 47,500 new jobs are estimated to be added. 5G is and will continue to be an economic driver with endless technological benefits.
Now more than ever, policymakers and the private sector must work together to back the growth of 5G networks. According to a recent report from the Defense Innovation Board, China is leading the United States in 5G technology and is estimated to deploy the first 5G wide-area network. This will give China a major economic boost and drive the communist state ahead of the United States technologically. We cannot allow the Chinese to have a technological advantage over us. Such an advantage will give the Communist Chinese the upper hand economically, and militarily.
Given the importance to our economic and national security futures, we must win the race to 5G. The benefits of the fifth generation of wireless broadband networks will be revolutionary when it is launched on a wide scale. Our country’s leadership in 4G resulted in tremendous economic growth and winning the race to 5G will bring even more economic success: 5G will contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy and generate millions of new jobs. But America’s success is not assured. I look forward to working with the private sector in this important effort to ensure that the U.S. leads the way in 5G and reaps the economic and other benefits that advanced communications networks will provide to all Americans.
For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington, I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, “Long’s Short Report,” by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.