"I believe we have an opportunity for America to lead the world in mobile."
– Julius Genachowski, the Obama Administration’s nominee to be FCC Chairman during his Senate confirmation hearing (June 17, 2009)
Wireless was front and center on Capitol Hill last week and in our view, the most notable take-away was the virtual unanimity about this industry’s vibrant potential. Again and again during three lengthy hearings, Senators and others held forth on the jobs, investment and technological advances coming out of the wireless sector.
First, there was Genachowski, who testified, "I’m energized by what is happening around the country in mobile. We’re seeing incredible innovation."
And as Senate Commerce Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller’s commented during that same hearing, "For our nation to meet the challenges we face in education, health care, the environment, and to remain globally competitive," he said, "We will require top-notch communications infrastructure."
Third, the General Accountability Office issued a report showing that 84 percent of mobile users surveyed were "very or somewhat" happy with their service.
Indeed, lawmakers in both parties went out of their way to recognize the transforming potential of mobile technologies. This is a welcome development for what it signals about America’s mobile future.
With everyone agreeing on the stakes, there was widespread recognition that new wireless services continue to spring up with remarkable speed – a core belief of Mobile Future.
Some Members, including Sen. Rockefeller, would like to speed mobile advances in rural areas. This is an important goal, to be sure.
But even during the sometimes tough questioning involving texting and handset issues, there was broad acknowledgement of how fast the marketplace is changing and will continue to change.
With 50,000 apps for the iPhone alone, three billion text messages sent daily, and 250,000 cell towers beaming signals nationwide, mobile consumers enjoy more and better services than has ever been possible because in today’s vibrant wireless sector, companies working in the mobile space are able to anticipate and respond to consumer demands. Thankfully, Members of Congress and the President’s nominee to lead the FCC seem to recognize this progress and appreciate its potential for the future.