Research & Development
The United States has long stood as the unrivaled leader in information and communications technology (ICT). ICT is ubiquitous, supporting every industry sector, improving the capabilities and productivity of every business, and providing benefits to every home and individual.
As much progress as the ICT industry has seen over the last several decades, expanding from plain old telephone service (POTS) to advanced fiber optics, cable, and wireless technologies, the ICT industry remains immature with significant opportunities for innovation and growth. The role of the federal government facilitating innovation in the ICT sector has been absolutely critical in supporting a robust ICT research ecosystem both through direct federal investment in ICT research and facilitating commercialization and private research investment.
Research is the backbone of the ICT industry and the building block for the future development of advanced telecommunications products and services. In recent years, the need for federally funded telecommunications research has dramatically increased. As a result of the telecommunications market crash of 2000, intense market competition and a focus on low price points keeping profit margins at a minimum, long term research has lagged.
Over a decade later, in the midst of our current recession, companies remain focused on survival. This has translated into an era of deep cost cutting and lean workforces, as well as a focus on product development and incremental research, rather than innovating for the future and seeding technology development.
The result is a research gap that threatens U.S. leadership in the ICT sector with repercussions for the U.S. economy and national security. Maintaining U.S. leadership in the ICT sector will require active engagement by the federal government to create a framework to unlock private R&D investment, to direct federal funds to ICT research in targeted areas, to encourage broadband deployment, and to better coordinate and account for research efforts across federal research agencies.
Read TIA's ICT R&D Policy Report for more details.
TIA Communications Research Division (CRD)
TIA's member companies are deeply concerned about the future of long-term, pre-competitive communications research in the United States. In August 2005, when corporate funding for long-term, high-risk communications research was at an all time low and federal funding for this research was a mere 0.1 percent of the entire federal research and development budget, TIA created its Communications Research Division (CRD).
Since its inception, the CRD has advocated for additional incentives for research and development and increased support for the federal research and development budget. The charter of the division is to:
- Ensure U.S. communications sector leadership in advanced research;
- Provide expert advice to the government and to TIA on the status and impact of research and technology to the communications industry; and
- Educate the public on the importance of communications research as a foundation for the communications products and services on which they depend.
CRD's Policy Recommendations:
- Promote greater private investment in basic research through enactment of a permanent, simplified R&D Tax Credit
- Promote federal funding for targeted ICT research that includes multi-year research plans and a commitment to basic research
- Continue appropriations to fulfill the authorization levels included in the COMPETES Act and remain on the path to double the basic science budget by 2015
- Improve coordination and accounting of ICT research throughout the federal government
- Promote policies that stimulate broadband deployment and research
- Facilitate greater ICT industry input into agency funding priorities to achieve better coordination between research and commercialization
- Advocate enactment of immigration reform to allow companies to hire the best and brightest minds in the world
- Promote investment in STEM education to help ensure that America is educating the workforce of the future
TIA CTO Council
The TIA CTO Council is a leading voice providing high-level industry input to senior policymakers on key technology policy issues such as cybersecurity, spectrum, broadband deployment and adoption, energy efficiency and cloud computing, as well as issues related to the U.S. ICT research ecosystem such as R&D funding, STEM education, visa reform, and R&D commercialization.
The Council consists of senior levels representatives from the ICT industry and has the objective to make significant and substantive contributions in support of the ICT industry in the U.S.