The first half of 2020 was unprecedented. Seemingly overnight, workers moved from office buildings to home offices. Teaching and learning were done from home rooms – literally. Medical appointments were done on smartphones, tablets and laptops. And restaurants were forced to offer curbside service instead of tableside service.
COVID-19 has transformed businesses of all sizes across the state and nation, putting the brakes on economic growth; upending business models; and forcing all of us to work on plans to re-open the economy and put New Jersey back on track.
I serve on the Restart and Recovery Advisory Council, joining an array of talented and dedicated New Jerseyans who are looking at how we will safely recover; get our residents back to work; and preserve our reputation as a state with a rich legacy of innovation leadership.
Having a strong technology infrastructure, which includes a continued build-out of emerging 5G networks, will be at the core of all we do.
5G technology, which brings stronger wireless connections, is expected to be the building block for greater innovation. Wireless networks can lead to smarter cities that deliver services to residents more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Autonomous vehicles, supported by connected smart traffic management systems made possible by 5G technology, will significantly reduce emissions. Teachers and students will have enhanced educational experiences using virtual reality. And these are just a few examples.
The economic impact of 5G networks is expected to be significant.
According to the latest report from the wireless association CTIA, 5G will bring $275 billion in new investment, $500 billion in economic growth, and 3 million new jobs to the United States. New Jersey must be prepared to adopt and welcome 5G innovation, which will bring additional investment that will help grow high-speed broadband access across the state.
Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, D-7th District, Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, D-6th District, and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, D-14th District, recently introduced a bill, Assembly Bill-1116, that would make it possible for telecommunication companies to more efficiently enhance their networks to meet today’s demands for mobile broadband and build out robust 5G networks for the benefit of residents and businesses throughout the state.
Moving swiftly to adopt policies that will speed up investment in 5G infrastructure will be essential to our recovery, and we look forward to working with leaders across New Jersey to make this happen.
Tom Bracken is the president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce based in Trenton.