In 1996, movie rental stores were ubiquitous and cell phones were few and far between. The modern Internet was unimaginable – web pages were largely text-based and could take almost a minute to load. Google wouldn’t even exist for another two years.
We’ve made incredible strides since then, and our infrastructure has made incredible strides too. Moving forward, California must continue to support and expand the infrastructure needed for the 21st century and beyond.
Read below for just some of the ways that investments in 21st century communications infrastructure will create huge economic and social benefits for all Californians.
California grows enough food to feed the world, but has a volatile climate and experiences droughts that can last years. For example, in 2014, one of the driest years on record, the drought resulted in a net water shortage of 1.5 million acre-feet, which cost statewide agriculture $2.2 billion and the loss of 17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs.
However, new advances in precision-agriculture, driven by 21st century communications technology, promise to yield huge efficiencies in California’s water usage. Field sensors and drones are beginning to provide farmers with precise weather, crop, soil, and air quality data that can be used to greatly improve use efficiency and reduce runoff.
For California to realize the social and economic benefits of emerging and future communications technoogies, it must have an equally advanced communications infrastructure to support them. As other states and countries take steps to facilitate network upgrades, California’s communications infrastructure will need to be updated or risk being unprepared for future requirements placed upon it.
With the coming wave of digital demand, investments in 21st century infrastructure are needed to seize the benefits that new communications technologies offer. To meet these shifting demands and to keep California economically competitive, policies can be put in place that will give communications providers greater flexibility to innovate and reduce barriers to investment.