The Next Generation of Wireless Technology and Why It Matters

For most of us, terms like “3, 4, and 5G” may not mean much more than an indicator that we can use our smartphones, or that it’s time to upgrade them to a newer model. They are simply markers of each new generation in wireless technology.

But for telecommunications policy experts, 5G really matters. Some have predicted that exciting new technologies like driverless cars can only become a reality with the speed and reliability that 5G will provide. Futuristic smart-homes that rely on a variety of different internet-connected devices may need the flexibility that 5G offers, and virtual reality may only be convincing in a 5G world.

But if 5G is really that different from 4G, it’s fair to ask if we’re prepared for the change. Today, we’re going to talk about what needs to happen, particularly in the policymaking world, in order to capture the full benefits of the next generation of telecommunications technology.

Here to do that, we're joined by two guests:

  • FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, prior to his time as Commissioner, worked for years on Capitol Hill on banking, technology, transportation, trade, and commerce issues
  • Brent Skorup, Senior Research Fellow here at Mercatus, where he focuses on wireless policy, new media regulation, telecommunications, and transportation technology

Additionally, Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, a governance studies fellow with the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution, was invited to join the discussion, but unable to participate due to her travel schedule. 

You can read her work on whether or not the US will be '5G ready,' or watch her conversation with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr to learn more about the topic.

Looking to connect with a scholar you heard on the Download? Email Kate De Lanoy of our Media team at [email protected].

This week's beer is from Tröegs Independent Brewing. Check out their IPA's and other tasty beers here!

You can download and subscribe to the Mercatus Policy Download via Apple Podcasts, or your favorite podcast service.