TO: Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy

FROM: Tom Still, president, Wisconsin Technology Council

RE: AB 348/ Related to wireless facilities

Thank you, Chairman Neylon, and members of the committee.

The Wisconsin Technology Council has long advocated for advances in technology, infrastructure and public policy that can better connect the state and its citizens to the digital economy.

Assembly Bill 348 offers the latest chance to do precisely that, and I urge your favorable consideration.

The world, U.S. and Wisconsin economies are entering an era when digital connections will be more important than ever before.

The continued rise of the digital economy is embodied in a mix of issues that have come – or will come – before this very committee, such as legislation related to autonomous vehicles, drones, workforce development and more.

Since the introduction of first generation (1G) wireless technology in 1983, the evolution of wireless communications has laid the foundation for broad economic growth across the United States and in Wisconsin.

The next generation of wireless service will be built using small-cell networks employing fifth generation or 5G wireless technology.

5G will help to transform the way people work, play and live.

  • 5G promises to take people places they’ve never been by unlocking new experiences such as augmented realities, virtual presence, driverless cars, telemedicine and connected homes.
  • 5G will accelerate the delivery of entertainment at home and on the go and many more consumer and business experiences.
  • 5G is ideal for bandwidth-hungry applications because it will support multiple radio interfaces, enable more spectrum efficiency, and take advantage of our advanced network capabilities.
  • The connectivity and computing capacity unleashed by these high-speed wireless networks will bring the power of Smart City solutions to municipalities across the country.
  • 5G service is estimated to provide wireless devices with up to 1 Gigabit of speed, faster than most existing home connections.

This technology can help to evolve local economies. For example, management of vehicle traffic and electrical grids can produce huge benefits and savings through reductions in energy usage, traffic congestion and fuel costs. These 5G qualities will enable cities to reduce commute times, improve public safety and generate significant smart grid efficiencies.

AB 348 provides a framework for managing the deployment of small-cell technology while still encouraging investment in 5G wireless technology and all the benefits it will yield.

While communities large and small will benefit from small-cell and 5G technologies, the effect may be most pronounced in rural Wisconsin and the state’s small to mid-sized cities.

Wisconsin is, in fact, a state of mid-sized cities. They are a major part of the state’s quality of life. That quality of life will be difficult to sustain, however, if the state does not keep pace with emerging technologies that enhance the ability of businesses to compete, of tourists to enjoy their experiences, of students to learn and of all our citizens to prosper and remain safe.

Thank you for helping to keep Wisconsin on the forefront of the digital economy.