In an effort to provide a much-needed forum for Members of Congress and staff to learn about Wi-Fi-related issues affecting their constituents, Congressmen Bob Latta (R-OH) and Jerry McNerney (D-CA) announced the launch of the bipartisan Congressional Wi-Fi Caucus to open a dialogue about appropriate policy solutions that can address today’s pressing concerns. Wi-Fi is the primary technology for internet access, delivering more than half of all internet traffic and over sixty percent of mobile network traffic offload. While a number of existing caucuses focus on policy issues that overlap, there is currently no caucus dedicated to addressing the policy issues specific to Wi-Fi.
“The integral role that Wi-Fi plays in our telecommunication infrastructure positively affects our economy, American businesses, consumers, and our way of life,” said Congressman Latta. “While there is hardly a corner of the tech sector that Wi-Fi doesn’t touch, we haven’t had a dedicated caucus in Congress to focus on the policy issues facing this essential technology. With the importance of Wi-Fi to all of our lives, this needed to change. I’m glad to team up with Congressman McNerney – someone I’ve worked with often – to launch the bipartisan Congressional Wi-Fi Caucus and help ensure we take the right approach to this technology and continue to spur innovation.”
The Congressional Wi-Fi Caucus will focus its efforts on Wi-Fi in relation to a number of issues, including 5G, cybersecurity, internet-of-things (IoT), smart cities, spectrum optimization, autonomous vehicles, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and more.
“More of our daily lives and activities rely on internet access, making it imperative that we work to close the digital divide,” said Congressman McNerney. “In today’s world, those who lack connectivity will be left behind, as they will be isolated from the prospects and many benefits that being online provides. Connectivity is a gateway for economic and educational opportunities, social engagement, and so much more. Wi-Fi plays a crucial role in our ability to expand access, and it is paramount that we understand how Wi-Fi intersects with other key policy areas, such as cybersecurity, transportation, telehealth, energy, and agriculture. I’m pleased to once again work with Congressman Latta on another critical issue facing lawmakers today.”
As the use and integration of Wi-Fi is likely to become more prevalent, there is a need for informed policy decisions so that Wi-Fi can continue to yield benefits for innovation and job creation and contribute to our nation’s economic growth and global leadership.
“Wi-Fi Alliance commends Congressmen Latta and McNerney on the creation of a congressional Wi-Fi Caucus to address important policy considerations shaping the future of Wi-Fi innovation,” said Edgar Figueroa, President and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi brings critical connectivity to society while contributing hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. economic value. The Wi-Fi Caucus will inform decisions to support a Wi-Fi ecosystem that will continue to provide ubiquitous and affordable connectivity while creating jobs, innovation, and value to the U.S. economy.”
"Wi-Fi is an incredible success story; consumers depend on it, it is critical to modern businesses and, in fact, it carries the majority of internet traffic,” said Ellen Satterwhite, spokesperson for WifiForward. “From schools and libraries to government agencies and small businesses, fast, reliable Wi-Fi is key to making our lives run. But Wi-Fi needs our support to flourish and continue to add billions - over $525 billion in 2017 alone - to our economy. Policymakers play an important role in enabling Wi-Fi use and promoting investment and growth through common-sense proposals. Gigabit Wi-Fi and the 5G experience is closer and more achievable than ever before—we just need the unlicensed spectrum to support it. WifiForward applauds Representative Latta and Representative McNerney for their leadership and looks forward to engaging with the caucus in the future."
Congressmen Latta and McNerney are both members of the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and Congressman Latta chairs the E&C Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee. Additionally, Congressmen Latta and McNerney co-chair the Congressional Grid Innovation Caucus.