5 Things WIA is Thankful for This Year

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the things that have made our lives, our industry and our world better during the past year. This was a year of many positives for the wireless infrastructure industry and the Wireless Infrastructure Association. Following are five things we are thankful for this year:

5. Trailblazers of Technology. WIA honored five Trailblazers of Technology – pioneers and visionaries in who played an important role in building the wireless industry as we know it today. The inaugural class of inductees to the Mobile Infrastructure Industry Hall of Fame were honored at a dinner and ceremony on Nov. 14 in Washington, D.C. Over $500,000 was raised for the WIA Foundation’s training, education and apprenticeship programs. Nearly 500 people were in attendance to see the following inducted:
Neville R. Ray, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of T-Mobile
Steven E. Bernstein, founder and former Chief Executive Officer of SBA Communications
Steven B. Dodge, founder and former Chief Executive Officer of American Tower
John P. Kelly, former Chief Executive Officer of Crown Castle
José R. Mas, Chief Executive Officer of MasTec.

4. Training Opportunities. As we honored these five pioneers in the wireless infrastructure industry, WIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein reminded the industry that there is still work left to be done. “To build a world-class 5G network, we need a world-class 5G workforce,” Adelstein told attendees at the WIA Foundation Hall of Fame ceremony. Toward this goal, WIA has been working to build its Telecommunications Education Center, a learning program devoted to improving safety and quality within the telecommunications industry. Designed to meet the demands of a growing industry and the need for a skilled workforce, TEC has been busy developing courses and curriculum that provide the training needed as the industry moves toward 5G. In addition, WIA has partnered with the Department of Labor and other government agencies as well as telecommunications industry stakeholders to build an apprenticeship program invested in improving workplace quality, safety and efficiency by addressing industry workforce needs, and providing employment and advancement opportunities. The Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP) provides Department of Labor-credentialed apprenticeship programs available to qualified employers for the training and career development of the telecommunications workforce.

3. Policy Wins. WIA’s government affairs team spent the year advocating for the wireless infrastructure industry in Washington and throughout the country. Among the most significant policy focuses in 2018 was working with the Federal Communications Commission to remove regulatory barriers to infrastructure deployment, including modernizing rules for tribal deployments and clarifying the roles of state and local governments to make the infrastructure siting process faster, and working with the Federal Aviation Administration to reduce the unnecessary requirement for marking certain communications towers. In addition, WIA President Jonathan Adelstein served on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee and has been named vice chair of the BDAC’s Disaster Response and Recovery Working Group.

2. Enriching Events. WIA launched its rebranded trade show in May, the only business technology event in North America designed for all stakeholders delivering infrastructure solutions for ubiquitous connectivity. Attendees made valuable networking connections and learned about the latest industry trends including 5G, the wireless edge, private LTE networks, DAS, small cells, fiber and much more. Work is already underway for Connect (X) 2019, which will take place May 20-23, 2019, in Orlando, Florida.

1. Our Members. WIA is an organization that benefits from the contributions and thought leadership of all our member companies and organizations. This year, members participated in the Innovation & Technology Council, which produced several white papers on timely topics; the City Networks Task Force, which ramped up its efforts to educate municipalities about the benefits and importance of wireless infrastructure and smart city technologies; the HetNet Forum, which continued to educate people inside and outside of the industry on the progressive role heterogeneous networks play in shaping the way people live, work, and interact; the Infrastructure Developers Forum (IDF), which continues to educate and inform the entrepreneurial stakeholders in the infrastructure space; and the Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum (WWLF), which expanded its membership and further improved opportunities for women to lead and mentor others.

Ultimately, we are thankful for connections. All of our efforts come down to ensuring connectivity. Machines are increasingly connected to improve business efficiency as well as to provide health, safety and lifestyle benefits to people. But even more importantly, wireless infrastructure allows people to stay connected with each other even when they are far apart – whether it’s sharing first-day-of-school pictures, sending a video of a grandchild’s first steps, or even just a having a simple conversation to send holiday greetings and love to family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at the Wireless Infrastructure Association!