Private investment in wireless infrastructure, if unfettered, will have a huge impact on the U.S. economy across the next five years, according to a study released by PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association.
PCIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein announced the report’s findings, at the AGL Regional Conference in Chicago.
The study, titled “Wireless Broadband Infrastructure: A catalyst for GDP and Job Growth 2013-2017,” looked at the direct and indirect benefits of wireless infrastructure development, projecting mobile broadband investments of between $34-36 billion per year that will serve as a catalyst for between $863 billion and $1.2 trillion in economic development. The impact on the overall economy is estimated to be an increase in GDP in 2017 of 1.6 percent to 2.2 percent or between $259.1 billion and $355.3 billion.
“That means the wireless industry will generate 606 percent more for the economy than it invests,” Adelstein told an audience of 200. “That is pretty good bang for the buck…or for the billions in this case.”
The report, produced by Information Age Economics, said more than 28,000 jobs in 2017 and more than 122,000 jobs in the next 5 years will be created in the wireless infrastructure industry alone. Overall, including indirect impact, 1.2 million net new jobs will be generated, even with the potential job losses due to increased productivity.
“We are talking jobs when this country most needs them and economic growth when the rest of the world is taking steps to make sure their countries are competitive,” he said.
Adelstein said it was time for the wireless industry to receive it due as a catalyst for efficiency and an enabler for job growth. The data from the report will be used by the association convince government officials of the economic benefits of zoning ordinances that enable the siting of wireless infrastructure.
“It is high time we put some numbers on [the wireless revolution],” he said. “These are numbers we can use again and again as we fight to get wireless infrastructure sited and built out as soon as we can to meet the demand,” he said. “We are going to say, ‘you gotta stay out of our way and let us build these networks.’”
Adelstein discussed some changes to wireless regulation, which the association supports, dubbed “4G Policies for a 4G World,” which would:
· Recognize that small cells and distributed antenna systems, the face of next-generation networks, should not be subject to the same environmental and historic preservation regulations as their tower cousins;
· State that carriers should not have to provide proof of need when deploying a wireless facility;
· Facilitate the efficient use of existing support structures, including towers, buildings, water tanks, and utility poles, to ensure that coverage and capacity can be delivered as quickly to all parts of our country with minimal impact.
A copy of the IAE report is accessible online at www.pcia.com.