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July 23, 2018

Capitol Hill Gets a 5G Makeover .

Capitol Hill Gets a 5G Makeover

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Kelly Cole
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs

The foyer of the U.S. Capitol’s Rayburn building wasn’t built to be a tech hub, but it was transformed into one for the day Thursday as the 5G Caucus hosted a Technology Showcase.

CTIA and its members helped pull the showcase together for lawmakers and their staffs to see first-hand how 5G wireless networks will change the world around us.

With $500 billion in added economic output and 3 million new jobs in play, the stakes are high for getting the right policies in place for America’s 5G future and in ensuring that rival nations like China and South Korea don’t beat us to the punch.

As CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker underscored in opening the showcase: “We are in a global race to 5G and the U.S. must win.”

CTIA President & CEO Meredith Attwell Baker with opening remarks at the 5G Technology Showcase
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CTIA President & CEO Meredith Attwell Baker with opening remarks at the 5G Technology Showcase

The good news is that an increasing number of lawmakers – including 5G Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Susan Brooks and Debbie Dingell – are stepping up to put the right policies in place to secure America’s 5G lead.

With the U.S. on the cusp of a new era that will spur Smart Cities and connect billions of devices, while transforming industries as diverse as transportation and healthcare, the tech demos offered a timely insight into 5G’s game-changing potential.

They included a virtual smart city and examples of how 5G will cut city pollution, reduce emergency response times, and offer improved remote patient care among many other benefits.

Members of Congress and their staffs packed the Rayburn foyer and peppered industry participants – including AT&T, Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, Qualcomm, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon – with questions about their 5G applications. The VR bike also proved a popular hit!

Many were excited to learn that major wireless providers are planning their first commercial launches in the coming months.

5G Caucus Co-Chairs Susan Brooks & Debbie Dingell host the 5G Technology Showcase on Capitol Hill
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5G Caucus Co-Chairs Susan Brooks & Debbie Dingell host the 5G Technology Showcase on Capitol Hill

However, there was also a clear recognition that more work needs to be done on Capitol Hill to make 5G’s promise an economic reality. Those discussions included ensuring that there is enough spectrum available to support new networks, and that outdated siting rules don’t put a brake on innovation.

“We know we need more spectrum … to have the infrastructure in place both in the rural areas, but in the urban areas as well to make sure that 5G can be a reality,” Representative Brooks told attendees.

While the showcase helped raise further awareness, lawmakers are already responding on a bipartisan basis. Congressmen Lance and Doyle’s AIRWAVES Act sets a schedule of future spectrum auctions, while Senators Thune and Schatz’s STREAMLINE Act will modernize siting rules while preserving local authority.

This leadership is critical to our 5G future. Thank you Representatives Brooks and Dingell, and all the members of Congress and their staffs who took time out of their busy schedules Thursday to attend the tech showcase.

And congratulations to Chairman Walden for winning the Augmented Reality challenge!

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