FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr Thursday addressed the 5G rollout and the challenges it presents in the U.S. Speaking to members of the agency’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee yesterday, Carr said, “We are on track to get over 40 commercial 5G builds done before the end of this year. That compares to China, which right now has zero.”
“But how do we have the skilled workforce in place?” Carr asked rhetorically. “If you look at the tower side alone, we have about 29,000 workers today. The industry could absorb about 20,000 jobs right now,” he added, “about double the amount of tower crews.”
Carr spends a lot of time on the road, meeting men and women who perform tower and other wireless infrastructure work. “They say they are looking to double their workforces in the field. When we do that, it has an effect across a lot of industries,” Carr explained.
The commissioner was recently in North Charleston, South Carolina, at a manufacturing plant that builds concealments for small cells. The business had just built a new manufacturing plant because of the increase in demand for small cell builds, according to the commissioner. That plant is increasing its workforce almost each month, he added.
Carr says he’s seen plants that manufacture small cell poles, from Iowa to Texas, that are increasing productivity. In order to expand the workforce training to other communities, he cited a school in Sioux Falls, SD that’s building a tower tech certification program. The school is near a towerco, “so they can leverage some of the facilities they already have, with the classroom training in a community college. It will be interesting to see how we can work to identify more of these opportunities,” he said.
September 20, 2019
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