Guest Editorial Week of 6/15/20

By Johnny Kampis

Will 5G be boon to employment that proponents claim?
A study by the Free State Foundation found that the growth of 5G over the next five years will be a boon for employment and the economy.
James Prieger, professor of economics and public policy at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and a member of the Maryland-based Free State Foundation's Board of Academic Advisors, said that 5G will create 8.5 million jobs between 2019 and 2025. According to the study, those workers will earn $560 billion, create $1.7 trillion in additional output and contribute more than $900 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.
Prieger notes that the Internet of Things (IoT), fueled by the fifth generation of wireless technology, will be a major driver for that growth thanks to productivity improvements for businesses.
“The true promise of 5G and IoT for consumers lies in doing completely new things using mobile and fixed wireless and IoT technology devices, such as healthcare devices, autonomous vehicles and traffic management systems, the smart grid for revolutionizing energy management, smart home technology, and wearable devices,” he wrote.
Case studies in individual cities showed that employment created by network construction, increases in capital expenditures by private industry and consumer spending on 5G devices would create a bounty of new jobs. For example, Los Angeles is expected to see 250,000 new jobs through 2025 thanks to 5G.
Prieger expects that $225 billion in capital expenditures will be required through 2025 to fully deploy 5G. Growth is coming quickly: Verizon announced last year that it had met its goal of deploying 5G to 30 cities by the end of 2019.
Consumers are certainly expected to benefit, too, with 5G speeds expected to be 10 to 20 times faster than 4G LTE. The additional technological benefit of 5G will be lower latency, which means that the signal will take less time to travel from the sender to the receiver and for the receiver to process that request.
Deploying nationwide 5G is expected to help close the digital divide without taxpayer subsidies.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has worked to help usher in the growth of 5G, urging cities to reduce fees and regulations and to act quickly on permit applications.
During the pandemic, the need for fast, reliable internet has proven important, one reason the FCC will vote June 9 on a declaratory ruling and notice of proposed rulemaking that clarifies environmental assessments are not required before carriers modify existing wireless structures if there are already agreements on mitigating impacts to historic properties.
A group of 24 Democrats sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to delay the vote.
“We are especially troubled by the burden responding to this Declaratory Ruling will place on local governments that are justifiably focused right now on combating the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” they wrote.
Republicans supported this measure aimed at helping aid speedy deployment, noting that “reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens to promote broadband deployment is a top priority.”

Johnny Kampis is a senior fellow and investigative reporter for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.


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