Coming from our National Executive Board Meeting in Hawaii, I’m blessed to have had a reliable mobile internet connection throughout my stay in Honolulu to keep in touch with my family and make sure to get “pasalubong” or souvenir requests from my aunties, uncles and cousins before the holidays.
But the week I spent there also reminded me how technology has upended traditional communications over the past twenty years, especially in harder to reach places, like the Hawaiian Islands.
Though, what’s exciting in 2017 is the advent of 5G, or what The Washington Post recently called “mobile data on steroids.”
With 5G technology, wireless connections will be 10 times faster, allowing for instant, two-way communication not possible with today’s systems.
In places like Hawaii or the Pacific Islands, the benefits to our lives will go far beyond better phone calls or faster texts. For example, the instant, high-resolution transmissions will have huge medical benefits, as surgeons can monitor operations taking place hundreds of miles away.
Above all, this new technology also has the potential to change the way we access free high quality, instant entertainment, especially video streaming, over wifi.
For U.S. policymakers, developments in Korea, Japan, and the European Union should be important signals that America’s lead in this industry is at risk. This is a key reason that Federal policy, with a notable exception, has encouraged mobile deployment and usage.
The future is exciting and it is rapidly approaching – and our communications in some of the hardest to reach places will become that much easier. But lawmakers and regulators, especially at the FCC, should remember that their actions will determine this new technology’s ultimate success and America’s ability to build something even more amazing and interconnected.