Wireless connectivity is as essential to the daily lives of Mainers as it is to the strength and vitality of our local economies. We should welcome continued wireless investment in our communities rather than denying the deployment of new infrastructure, as the moratorium project in the City of York aims to do.
This moratorium – which York voters will decide at the May 21 ballot box – would prohibit upgrades to existing wireless infrastructure and any new infrastructure to improve existing wireless coverage. If passed, the moratorium will degrade wireless service, discourage necessary upgrades to existing networks, and further limit opportunities for much-needed infrastructure investment in York Region.
Wireless is a necessary asset to attract and retain businesses and residents, rebuild our economies after COVID-19, promote tourism and provide opportunities for all generations of Mainers where they live, work and learn. York’s moratorium would directly contradict and discourage these efforts, all of which are critical to Maine’s future progress.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, there are as many wireless connections in Maine as there are people. Most of us probably use wireless for work, retail, healthcare, education, entertainment, communication – the list goes on. For many families, which make up nearly half of Maine households, wireless provides the only internet connection, and during the pandemic in particular, we’ve seen how essential mobile hotspots are for learning. in line.
Ensuring York is ready for wireless investment is as much about strengthening networks to meet today’s consumer demands as it is about building infrastructure for tomorrow’s needs. A survey of mobile phone companies shows that Americans have increased mobile data traffic 108 times over the past decade, reaching a record 42 trillion megabytes of data in 2020. As we enter the era of 5G “everything connected”, the demand for wireless connectivity will only skyrocket.
The reality is that if future connectivity demands cannot be met, potential residents and businesses will likely look elsewhere. A survey conducted by Morning Consult in 2017 found that 67% of Americans consider reliable wireless service a “must have” when buying a new home, superior to good schools (65%) and reasonably priced real estate (60%). After the pandemic forced the entire world to go online virtually overnight, reliable wireless service has become even more valuable to current and future residents and local businesses.
Additionally, 5G will touch every aspect of our lives by revolutionizing what it means to be connected, reaching far beyond our personal mobile devices to transform key industries in Maine today and enable new industries and opportunities for the future. . 5G will allow us to rethink what we know and imagine what is possible for businesses and businesses in a post-pandemic world.
We have already seen at the state level how sensible policies that modernize the rules for deploying wireless infrastructure and 5G-ready networks can help open the door to industrial investment, economic growth, and the creation of businesses. jobs across the state. According to Accenture, the wireless industry contributes $1.1 billion to Maine’s GDP and more than 14,000 jobs that, on average, pay 53% more. Another Boston Consulting Group report predicts that 5G will be the next economic engine, generating massive job and GDP growth nationwide. For Maine, the deployment of 5G will create $2.8 billion in GDP growth and more than 8,000 jobs by 2030.
Undeniably, we depend on powerful wireless networks for work, education, and connection, but let’s not forget the significant civic and economic benefits that wireless brings to our state and local communities. Allowing this moratorium to hamper innovation and investment would put York and Maine at a clear disadvantage.
Supporting wireless infrastructure and industry investment today is an important part of York’s future success.
Connors is the president and CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.