Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) president and chief executive officer Steve Berry recently wrote about the impact the Internet of Things (IoT) will have on our lives and 5G networks. Connected Real Estate Magazine had the opportunity to speak with Steve, where he expanded on his thoughts about IoT and 5G networks and discussed the upcoming CCA Annual Convention.
Connected Real Estate Magazine: Why do you believe the IoT evolution will do what other generations of tech could not, in terms of creating an ecosystem of interconnected devices and allowing customers to control their environment, including their homes and vehicles?
Steve Berry: You’re going to have phenomenal amounts of data. It wasn’t long ago everybody had floppy discs that they put into their computer. A floppy disk could hold 205 kilobytes of information. That does not get you many songs on Spotify for 10 minutes. We’re going to see a huge jump in connected devices across all systems.
Ericsson is a member of the CCA and they did a mobility report. (The report) said in North America, mobile data will exceed 2.5 exabytes per month. That is more than 2.5 billion gigabytes per month and it is going to increase four to five times by 2023. So, it’s going to be around 19 to 20 exabytes per month. It’s astounding. Every generation of technology did what it’s supposed to do, but you and I and all the consumers wanted more. That’s what we are going to see in the 5G/IoT world.
Connected: How do you foresee 5G and IoT tech helping to spur economic and job growth as well as new services?
SB: Have you seen some of the reports on 22 million jobs associated with the 5G world over the next three to four years? A lot of our carriers represent rural regional markets and have the opportunity to be connected and conduct some of the same activities that involve huge transfers of data and information in what we’d call an ‘urban suburban’ areas. That will be an immediate economic growth to rural America.
Several years ago, we did a study that showed those areas in rural America had less than 90% population connectivity. This is just referring to the Internet, the broadband service. The 14 or 15 states we looked showed a couple of astounding figures. The first was on average each state’s job growth rate could go up as much 100,000 (with connectivity). The second was the average median income of the entire state would go up 3.5 to 5%.
Connected: How confident are you that Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) will be a successful bridge to 5G?
SB: I think it has to be successful to get to 5G. If you’ve looked at what T-Mobile is doing, they are being much more spectrum efficient by using narrow band technology of their 600 Megahertz rollout. This is going to spur additional infrastructure build. They are going to have a revenue stream off of their existing 4G LTE and 5G builds, and that narrow band IOT, is just a different technology, it’s not inferior, it’s a different purpose.
You’ll have the ability to put millions of devices on a narrow band network that are integrated into your network builds to 5G. It spurs infrastructure build that you need for 5G and it gives carriers that are building networks a revenue stream as you move down that pathway to infrastructure and network build.
It will certainly bring enhanced productivity and profitability to the companies that are using it. As we figure out what 5G is and what services are going to be riding on a 5G network, if you have narrow band IoT, you have an incentive to build out the network and prepare it for a much more dense and robust network in the 5G world.
Connected: What can be done to reduce small cell deployment costs so rural areas can enjoy broadband connectivity services, too?
SB: That is what we’re all about here, right now. How do we enhance and streamline the process so that you can in fact build the infrastructure that is going to be necessary to get to not only suburban, but rural America? Some studies show that 800,000 to a million new small cell sites have to be deployed over the next couple of years, in order to get higher speeds, more dense coverage and get to this 5G world, and you can’t do that under existing rules.
Congress has been focusing on this and thank goodness it has. It has identified ways to streamline the process so at the Federal level, the Historic Preservation Act needs some tweaking. If you already have an antenna there and met all the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements, why should you have to go through a full-blown NEPA process to change a tower or increase, improve, enhance or strengthen it? That is what we can immediately do and it goes right down to the municipalities.
When I was in Shenandoah Valley, Waynesboro (VA), I met with a support supervisor chairman for Augusta County who said, “Every piece of property, every home in our entire county, the value is measured by whether or not they have broadband capability.’
Connected: The CCA Annual Convention is coming up in October. What should our audience know about it?
SB: As you move to this broadband ubiquity and to 5G, I think every commercial real estate owner and private property owner should understand that broadband capability whether its wireless, fixed wireless or fiber, it’s going to be as important as electricity or water and sewer to your property. People are going not only demand it; they are going to expect it. If you’re a property owner, especially an enterprise property owner, that’s one of the things I think you can take from our show and what we’re talking about at our event in Orlando.
If you come to our show you’re going to see and get to talk to the carriers that are actually deploying these new innovative services. So there’s great partnering possibilities there with the real estate world and what I think is a necessity for connectivity.