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Strong wireless connectivity vital infrastructure

The continued development and improvement of infrastructure is vital to our sustained growth in Washington County. Water, sewage and roads, as well as the physical plants and people that support them, are instrumental in ensuring our county’s long-term success in attracting both new business investment and residents to our area. However, when we consider infrastructure development, we need to start thinking of the space over our heads, not just under our feet.

In today’s economy and in our everyday lives, wireless networks and the mobile devices they support are an infrastructure necessity. We do everything on our phones, tablets and other connected mobile devices, from ordering food and filming our children’s sports games to writing business presentations and connecting with friends. Staying connected has become our way of life and having access to fast, reliable wireless connections has become integral to running a successful business. It is challenging to find anyone who does not have at least a smartphone, if not several other mobile devices. In fact, studies show that the average household has over 14 connected devices.

Just as the advent of cars and suburban expansion created a need for improved traditional infrastructure in the 20th century, it is now these connected devices that are straining our wireless networks in this century. It particularly becomes an issue when many devices are connecting to the network in a small area. When this occurs, we notice. Although our phones show “four bars” we may still experience a dropped call or connection lags. Capacity is becoming an issue that needs to be addressed in our infrastructure plans.

To ensure capacity for ever-increasing mobile usage and alleviate these issues for our wireless networks, we need to consider flexible technologies such as small cells that can be deployed in densely populated areas or where greater capacity is needed. This includes places where crowds gather – like business centers, industrial sites or at sporting and entertainment venues. These technologies ensure consumers and businesses have the connectivity they need, when they need it.

As Washington County grows and works to attract more residents, businesses and jobs, it is vital that our wireless networks, just like our traditional infrastructure of water, sewage and roads, keeps pace. Only through continued investment in our technology infrastructure can we continue our growth as a county and as a business community.

Jeff Kotula

President, Washington County Chamber of Commerce