With our strong growth and attractive business climate, Florida needs to plan for tomorrow’s future today. By 2030, the Florida Chamber Foundation estimates that Florida will have another five million new people that call our state home, three million new drivers on our roadways and tens of millions of new devices that will plug into our data network.
As these technologies grow in number and complexity, the amount of data each individual uses will also increase dramatically.
In addition to the forces that we are familiar with, Florida is leading the charge on the adoption of autonomous vehicles. The Florida Chamber of Commerce has boldly declared their intent to make Florida the autonomous capital of the world. With our good laws on the books and openness to innovation, Florida has already welcomed six self-driving vehicle deployments across the state in places like Miami, Gainesville, Babcock Ranch in Lee and Collier counties and the Villages.
These new and transformational technologies have the potential to save thousands of lives and safely transport millions of goods and services, while unlocking incredible job opportunities for Floridians. But each of these vehicles will also create and use a tremendous amount of data.
Fortunately, private-sector businesses have created a solution: compact devices with incredible data capacity over a smaller range called “small cells.” These devices, working as a system, are the next generation of communications infrastructure. Companies in Florida are already installing small cells, but this 5G deployment is not happening fast enough to ensure Florida is able to cement its position as a global leader.
Simply put, in order for Florida to remain a leader in autonomous vehicles, smart devices and the next generation of jobs, we must continue to push for the deployment of 5G across Florida. To make that happen, network carriers, infrastructure builders and local leaders must partner together to bring 5G to Florida.
This week, business leaders, industry experts and elected officials gathered for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Florida Growth & Infrastructure Summit, where Florida’s future infrastructure needs and solutions were discussed. Leaders took take a deep dive into the role innovation plays in Florida’s future. In partnership with the Society of Automotive Engineers, the public was offered the chance to take a drive in an autonomous vehicle and interact with the next generation of virtual reality.
In order for Florida to embrace these new technologies and future growth, we must build the digital highways of the future. That starts with more small cells.
Chris Emmanuel is director of Infrastructure and Governance Policy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Malcolm Eve is Crown Castle’s Public Affairs Manager for the South Area and serves on the Florida Chamber of Commerce (Infrastructure Coalition-Chair of the Economic Prosperity Work Group).
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