CTIA 5G Interactive Promotion – Ignores Rural Challenges

The Race to 5G

While the presentation makes the case for economic development, transportation, healthcare, education and smart cities, it does not address the issues facing rural communities. The three challenge presented are:

Freeing Up More Spectrum

Spectrum is the critical input for wireless service, and we need a pipeline of low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum auctions to meet Americans’ growing demand for more mobile services. Freeing up new airwaves will help providers meet that demand for the foreseeable future.

Modernizing Rules for Wireless Infrastructure

Traditional 200-foot cell towers are governed by rules designed specifically for such towers. Tomorrow’s 5G networks will rely on small cell antennas the size of pizza boxes, and they shouldn’t be governed by the same rules. Siting rules need to be modernized for the deployment of modern wireless infrastructure.

Creating Permanent Federal Regulations

Wireless consumers deserve to be protected. One of the ways to do that is by setting permanent, common sense federal regulations for interstate services like mobile broadband. Innovation and investment in tomorrow’s networks also need to be promoted to ensure an open internet and protect consumer privacy.

All this points to the loss of local control in small and historical rural communities if in fact 5G ever comes to their neighborhoods. Rural communities all across the nation and the rural counties in California do not have broadband today, because of the ROI challenges serving these communities present to the telco bean counters.  If the population density does not support broadband today, will it support 5G ROI when the technology used requires a clear line of sight between the small cell towers and the user, especially in the highly forested rural areas?  Are 5G promoters not thinking about the rural challenges or have they chosen to ignore them, just like they have the unserved communities today who do not break the ROI hurdles.

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