Benefits of 5G | Citizens Against Government Waste
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Benefits of 5G

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


With all the focus on creating a nationwide fifth generation (5G) network, questions often arise about why it is important for the U.S. to lead in 5G development, the benefits of moving to 5G, and why is there a continual push for more spectrum to be made available for 5G.

The first benefit of developing a 5G network is economic.  According to a January 2017 study commissioned by Qualcomm, the full global economic benefit of the 5G economy will be realized by 2035 and potentially provide 22 million jobs and produce up to $12.3 trillion in global economic output.  By comparison, the creation of 4G networks contributed nearly half a trillion dollars to the U.S. economy in 2016, and the introduction of mobile broadband added $100 billion to the U.S. GDP.

One only needs to follow Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr’s twitter feed to see the economic benefits of 5G in action, as he travels the country meeting with companies that produce the equipment and the skilled workers who are deploying 5G across the nation.

The second benefit of 5G is speed, including larger bandwidth for bits of data to travel through and lower latency for the delivery of critical information to end users.  There will be enhanced patient outcomes in healthcare through improved telehealth applications and better remote monitoring of critically ill patients, among other benefits.  5G will also bring out improved transportation management to help ease congestion and provide new safety features that could save thousands of lives each year.

The third benefit of 5G is enhanced manufacturing productivity through improved performance of data transmissions that monitor factory automation, reduce occupational accidents, and provide data analytics capabilities that will allow manufacturers to quickly adjust to changing needs and requirements.  5G will also provide better precision agriculture to provide farmers with the tools necessary to increase yields.  Smart home technology will improve energy efficiency and the Internet of Things (IoT) that will allow residents and business owners to monitor and quickly adjust the energy load of their dwellings or work facilities.

Finally, 5G will enhance the infrastructure of cities and towns across the country, saving taxpayer resources through effective resource management.  Several cities are already developing Smart City technology, using IoT sensors to track and manage assets, such as waste collection, traffic management, and pothole reporting.  During the 2018 Smart Cities Week, held from October 2 to 4, 2018, federal, state, and local officials gathered to share best practices and resources to aid in the development of additional Smart Cities.

Developing the 5G network takes time, resources, and most importantly, spectrum.  The deployment of 5G networks across the country will require access to millimeter wave spectrum for dense urban communities; mid-band spectrum for metropolitan areas; and low-band spectrum for nationwide coverage, including rural communities.  On July 12, 2018, the FCC adopted an Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would review a portion of mid-band spectrum for expanded flexible use, and on April 12, 2019, adopted a report and order to conduct an auction of high-band spectrum. 

Making more spectrum available for 5G will enable the U.S. to continue its leadership role in developing innovative next generation technologies to create economic growth, faster speeds, greater productivity, and better resource management.

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