WIA President and CEO Patrick Halley gave the official welcome to the assembled hall of a thousand-plus attendees at Connect (X) 2023 in New Orleans yesterday, hitting on the show’s theme of “connectivity everywhere.”
“It’s a bold vision,” Halley said, “a vision that is achievable with everybody in this room working together. It’s a vision that requires massive investment from industry and government. It’s a vision that requires the ingenuity and innovation from the best and brightest minds in the industry. It’s a vision that requires smart policy that provides a regulatory environment for the builders, operators and innovators in this room to succeed.”
Halley said WIA envisions a world where every person and every organization is connected from the classroom, to the factory floor, inside the hospital, on the farm and into living rooms. He cited his association’s lobbying efforts in Congress, at the FCC, at state capitals and even at the White House. The goal of his association, Halley said, is to empower the companies assembled in the hall of New Orleans’ Morial Convention Center to do what they do best: build, operate and maintain the best networks in the world.
Citing statistics that showed 99 percent of Americans have access to three or more 4G providers, Halley said 315 million Americans are already connected to 5G with a roll-out that was twice as fast as 4G. Wireless broadband networks in 2021 were 85 times faster than in 2010, Halley said. Consumers are now experiencing 130 MBs per second on average several times faster than 4G – and in some cases one-to-two Gigabits per second over a mobile broadband connection.
“Speeds so fast that fixed wireless broadband is the fastest growing at home broadband service on the market today,” he said, “accounting for 90 percent of net broadband additions in 2022.”
Halley said when he joined WIA less than a year ago, what struck him is that there are a lot of organizations that focus on wireless and there are a lot of other trade associations out there. But there is no other organization, he said, that focuses so clearly on the “I” in WIA – Infrastructure.
To continue that advancement in connectivity “everywhere,” Halley said the industry needs a national spectrum strategy that identifies a clear spectrum pipeline to power the next generation of wireless innovations. To do so, he said, a well-trained workforce is key, pointing out the apprenticeship, training and government partnerships offered through WIA.
It takes a concerted effort from a myriad of resources, Halley said “so that the infrastructure builders and innovators in this room can deploy the infrastructure that our entire economy and society depends on.”
By Jim Fryer, Inside Towers Managing Editor