In his final State of the Union address, President Obama raised an important question: how do we reignite the spirit of innovation to meet the nation’s biggest challenges?
As the global leaders in communications technology, TIA’s members know the answer – and are leading by example. Every day, the technologies created and advanced by America’s businesses are providing solutions to challenges in healthcare, education, public safety, environmental sustainability and more – enabling a better life for individuals across the country and around the globe.
The connectivity enabled by the U.S. communications industry is improving the quality of healthcare – especially for those in rural areas – as telemedicine and remote patient monitoring create efficiencies and decrease the cost of care. It is ensuring students have access to the Internet to prepare them for the 21st century workforce – providing educational tools to grade school and high school students and giving adult learners the ability to gain a secondary education online.
Connectivity is also making game-changing improvements in public safety. It is helping to save lives through instantaneous public alerts sent via wireless networks to those in disaster areas and improvements to first responder communications. And we are also seeing an increase in smart cities in which technology is being employed to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, including sensors on light posts and vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems that will reduce traffic congestion.
The rapid pace of technological innovation is truly astounding and with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), we are truly on the cusp of a technological revolution. In 2012, an estimated 8.7 billion “things” were connected worldwide. That is expected to hit 50 billion by the year 2020 – generating global revenues of $8.9 trillion in the process. And we still haven’t even scratched the surface of IoT’s potential.
Technology is moving rapidly. Unfortunately, many times our government’s laws and rules are not keeping pace. So, how do we reignite the spirit of innovation to meet the nation’s biggest challenges?
TIA believes there are three things the President and Congress can do in 2016 to meet the future head on:
- Increase spectrum availability: The federal government is the largest holder of spectrum. In order to meet the growing demand for connectivity – and to advance solutions for healthcare, education, public safety, the environment and more – the government must make more spectrum available for commercial use.
- Encourage investment in next-gen broadband infrastructure: Restoring a light regulatory touch will provide the economic and regulatory incentives needed for network deployments and upgrades.
- Pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership: The international trade agreement recognizes that the Internet and connectivity are at the center of the global economy. Passing the TPP will open more markets to U.S. technology goods, growing our economy and creating jobs here at home. It will establish a template for digital trade for future agreements.
Each of these policies will ensure continued U.S. technology leadership that will benefit American companies and consumers. We look forward to working closely with the Obama Administration and Congress to fulfill these tech priorities and build a connected world in which technology and innovation continue to confront our nation’s biggest challenges.