A recently released study from Accenture Strategy highlights the overwhelmingly positive benefits that will come to cities across the country -- and the taxpayers who live there -- as they move to 5G wireless communications technology. The top line numbers are impressive; employing 5G would lead to $275 billion in investment, create nearly 3 million jobs, and boost Gross Domestic Product by $500 billion. At a time when economic growth has been relatively anemic, the report is certainly welcome news – highlighting the potential that innovative technologies can play in spurring the economy.
Yet, an overlooked portion of the current debate about 5G technology is that it will help expand high-speed broadband to the approximately 5 percent of Americans currently unable to receive such services. The upshot: moving to 5G will further blunt arguments in favor of ill-conceived government-owned broadband networks that have often left taxpayers on the hook for huge liabilities. Once again, the private sector, not government, is being proven as the best way to meet demands from from underserved communities.
With the Federal Communications Commission’s decision last summer to make high band spectrum available for 5G technology, the major hurdle to further deployment of the promising technology is the local regulatory landscape. Specifically, municipal policymakers should expedite onerous permitting processes and curb discriminatory fees in order to unleash the potential of 5G broadband.
As policymakers look at ways to increase economic growth in the coming years, deploying 5G broadband shows enormous promise. National Taxpayers Union will continue to monitor these developments and report back about the steps policymakers should take to ensure their taxpaying constituents fully realize the untapped potential of 5G technology.