WIA CEO Jonathan Adelstein Tells Congress Action Is Needed To Ensure America Benefits from 5G Mobile Networks

Improved Siting Policies, Increased Training Are Key to Widespread Deployment of Next-Generation Mobile Connectivity

Washington, D.C. – Nov. 16, 2017 –  Jonathan Adelstein, President and CEO of the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA), urged members of Congress to take steps to streamline the process in which wireless infrastructure and mobile networks are deployed in communities across the United States.

Adelstein testified today before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology’s hearing titled “The Race to 5G and its Potential to Revolutionize American Competitiveness.” (View Written Testimony Here.)

During his testimony, Adelstein encouraged Congress to improve how communities approve siting of all wireless facilities, to change how specific siting applications are affected by tribal reviews on non-tribal lands, and to amend Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act to specify that installations of small wireless antennas are not subject to formal reviews under the law.

“5G could prove one of the most transformational standards in the history of technology,” Adelstein said.  “As promising as 5G is, it’s only as good as the infrastructure on which it’s deployed. 5G will involve up to 100 times more antenna locations than 3G or 4G. So all types of infrastructure is needed. Fully realizing the potential of 5G depends on how efficiently it gets deployed.”

Adelstein stressed that responsible deployment of wireless infrastructure and cooperation between the wireless industry and communities are crucial to widespread access to mobile broadband.

The wireless industry works closely with local governments and communities, he told members of Congress. “If a company carelessly circumvents localities, it rightly angers the community and creates resistance to siting new facilities. That can slow 5G. WIA and its members seek to work in partnership with localities because that’s the best way to develop the networks.”

Another pressing issue standing in between the widespread deployment of 5G networks is a skills gap within the wireless industry.

“WIA is working to bridge the skills gap by bringing apprenticeships into the wireless industry for the first time,” Adelstein said. “WIA has also developed training programs. We can’t afford the lack of skilled workers to slow the path to 5G. We’re encouraged that Congress and the Administration are seeking new ways to partner with industry on job training and apprenticeship programs. Thousands of new high-wage jobs await those with the proper skills. The move to 5G has the potential to unleash a wave of job creation, economic growth and greater global competitiveness.”