Wireless Broadband Is Rising Quickly

David Byrd
It is often noted that hosted unified communications must include mobility (FMC) and integrated mobile access (smartphones, laptops and tablets). Given the rise in wireless broadband investment, up more than 40 percent between 2009 and 2012, from $21 billion to $30 billion per year, wireless is central to conducting business and for communications and access to information.  The need to access information wirelessly has enabled the app economy” that is purported to have created more than 500,000 jobs since 2007.

The U.S. now leads the world in the deployment of LTE with 94.37 percent of the population having access to broadband speeds equal to or greater than 3MBps. Eighty percent of the population has access to wireless broadband of 10MBps or greater. LTE ultimately is to achieve 100MBps at which point it will offer access and speed on par with wireline broadband. However, note that North Americas average mobile data connection is 2.6MBps, which is twice that of Western Europe and five times the global average.

In addition to leading with access and speed, more than 80 percent of smartphones sold globally run operating systems developed by U.S. companies. Six years ago just 5 percent of smartphones utilized these operating systems.

As more and more demand is placed upon wireless networks, it becomes increasingly important to reduce or remove hindrances to investment in expanding wireless infrastructure. The FCC and NTIA have been directed to work together to repurpose 500MHz of spectrum to wireless broadband within 10 years. Separately, the FCC, using new authority to auction spectrum, will expand wireless broadband service and raise new revenues for the Treasury.

Last year, as noted in the “Four Years of Broadband Growth” report, NTIA also created the First Responders Network Authority, or FirstNet, to design and deploy a nationwide interoperable wireless network for first responders. The creation of FirstNet is not without controversy as it could compete with local/regional wireless carriers. However, the benefit of our nation to have a coordinated wireless network nationwide for emergencies and public safety should not be delayed. FirstNet has dedicated spectrum and $7 billion in funding to partner with commercial providers and others to expand wireless broadband access nationwide.

The expansion of wireless broadband with improved speeds and pricing supports the efforts of hosted communications providers to deliver unified communications with integrated mobility.

David Byrd is chief marketing officer and executive vice president of channel sales for


. He previously spent five years as vice president of marketing and sales for Broadvox and before that was vice president of channels and alliances for Eftia and Telcordia.

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