President Donald Trump wants to beat China to the punch on world-class 5G networks, but he faces an uphill climb against a country that has the workforce capability versus one that does not, according to Politico.
“It’s almost a crisis, because if it’s not a crisis today, it will be by tomorrow if we don’t act now,” Wireless Infrastructure Associate President Jonathan Adelstein told Politico. “You can’t just invent a new workforce overnight.
“The lack of a properly skilled workforce is a top obstacle we’re facing right now to winning the race to 5G.”
And to beat China, the U.S. will struggle to match their ability to deploy a large, cheap workforce, particularly if their government gets involved to subsidize its efforts.
“China can much more quickly redeploy labor,” Adelstein added. “They have much cheaper labor and much more readily available labor than we do. So if they make it a national priority, they can use state instruments to quickly ramp up and clear blockages to broadband.”
It starts with tower workers in the U.S., which has 27,000 working right now but is still 20,000 short, according to Federal Communications Commission’s Brendan Carr.
“We’re talking about the ability to double the existing workforce,” Carr told Politico.
All told, there are about 100,000 jobs to fill in the industry, according to Carr, which is made tougher by a historically low unemployment rate in the U.S.
Also, China has invested hundreds of billions “in building up a more robust digital infrastructure of fiber optic networks that are important to facilitate the large-scale deployment of 5G,” Center for a New American Security reported in November.
The 5G networks are integral to speeding up wireless processing 100 times faster, improved technology that will aid the economy as well as make life and work easier and more efficient.