The Maryland Department of Commerce recently convened the Maryland Wireless Technology Forum in Annapolis to exchange ideas to keep Maryland a leader in high-tech. Event participants heard from state and local leaders and industry experts who discussed various initiatives in Maryland and nationwide that rely on robust and faster wireless connections. They also discussed new technology infrastructure known as small cells. Learn more about small cells here.
After welcoming remarks from Steve Pennington, managing director, Business and Industry Sector Development at the Maryland Department of Commerce, and Maryland Delegate John F. (Johnny) Mautz, IV, the first panel provided an overview of today’s wireless networks, along with a discussion about what a small cell is; how it works today with the current network; and role it will play as a launch platform for forthcoming 5G technology.
The second session, which included a presentation by Chris Nurse, assistant vice president for External Affairs at AT&T, focused on the next generation of wireless networks, called 5G. The panelists discussed how states have been at the forefront of enacting streamlined processes to ensure 5G readiness.
Nurse said 12 states, including Florida and Texas, have passed legislation that will make installing critical infrastructure, such as “small cells,” more predictable, and a dozen more states are considering similar legislation. In the Mid-Atlantic region, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed legislation earlier this year. And, in Delaware, HB 189 — The Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Investment Act is awaiting Gov. John Carney’s signature. A bill also was introduced this year in Pennsylvania.
A third panel focused on “smart communities” and what wireless providers are doing to enable technology that helps communities address budget pressures and growing demands for new services. AT&T’s Amy McIlvane from the company’s Smart Cities team demonstrated AT&T’s technology initiatives nationwide that enable safer, cleaner, more responsive and efficient communities.
The last panel of the day included local officials from Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County who discussed their policy goals and real-life experiences in processing small cell applications.
“We’re pleased the Maryland Department of Commerce organized the forum, allowing our company and our industry to share the kinds of investments we’re making to help Maryland remain a high-tech leader. And, we were able to discuss how public policies need to be updated so we’re able to build and expand modern wireless infrastructure to meet consumers’ demand for strong wireless connections,” said Denis Dunn, president, AT&T Maryland.
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