Why is it so important for governments to invest in connectivity now?
When we look at the technology landscape, and 5G in particular, we see that governments and voters need higher speeds and more connectivity. Everyone, from young students to older adults, needs secure and reliable connectivity to accomplish many daily tasks.
This is why 5G is important, as well as investing in and adopting this technology. We have a great 4G network, but building on that and having a 5G network will meet today’s bandwidth and speed requirements while preparing for future developments and new advancements.
What role do public expectations play in the desire to improve connectivity?
During the pandemic, connectivity efforts have increased rapidly. Today, people still expect these enhanced connectivity options. Instead of going to a government office to deliver documents, for example, users want to be able to do it from their phone.
Having 5G infrastructure allows governments to find new ways to serve their constituents. For example, if someone sees a pothole, they can simply take a photo of it and submit it, which includes information about the location of the pothole. Thanks to 5G technology, an agency can now send a drone for an immediate inspection and relay what is needed for repairs.
As we see 5G connectivity expand and expectations grow, we find that we can push the boundaries of what is possible. Soon, communities will dive deeper into technology like augmented reality or machine learning, self-driving vehicles, and other possibilities.
What are the main benefits of bridging the digital divide?
The first is a highly skilled or educated workforce, which is good for everyone. Connectivity enables students, faculty, universities and other organizations to attract talent. But more importantly, no student will be left behind.
There is also a focus on rolling out 5G in rural communities, not just urban areas. In addition to supporting school systems and higher education, bridging the digital divide is about supporting previously underserved communities. It is essential to provide this digital equity. We see the ability to text 911 and upload videos to 911 systems, which has so much potential. By bridging the digital divide, opportunities like this will be possible for everyone.
What steps can communities take to improve their connectivity?
The first step to addressing connectivity challenges is having budgets to enable action, so earmarking funds to acquire this technology and provide broadband access is the first step. To obtain this funding, we encourage governments to explore federal legislation that allocates funds to qualifying technology projects. . My biggest recommendation to government agencies is to take a step back. What is the problem you are trying to solve and are you looking for this solution accordingly? Too many people focus on the ingredients, not necessarily the end result of those ingredients.
Meeting voter expectations and bridging the digital divide are top concerns for local and state governments. Bryan Schromsky, Managing Partner, Connected Solutions at Verizon, explains the importance of investing now.