With investments in everything from balloons that enable Internet access to unused sections of RF spectrum, the wireless broadband market is changing rapidly. With such changes comes investment and growth, with projected private investments in wireless infrastructure over the next five years expected to generate as much as $1.2 trillion in economic growth. Over a million new jobs are also expected within the market and in tangentially associated markets as well. These projections and more are provided by a new report from Information Age Economics (IAE), entitled, "Wireless Broadband Infrastructure: A Catalyst for GDP and Job Growth 2013-2017.”

As a whole, the report evaluates the economic and job-creation impacts generated by projected investments of $34 to $36 billion, per year over the next five years. From there, between $863 billion and $1.2 trillion in cumulative economic development is expected over the next five years, a 606% increase over the total amount the wireless industry will invest. A 2.2% increase in gross domestic product (GDP) is also expected by 2017. Over the same five years, the creation of over 122,000 jobs in the wireless infrastructure industry alone is anticipated. The report also states that investment in broadband infrastructure will have a positive catalyst effect on network benefits of mobile broadband services. An expected 1.69% increase in GDP by 2017 and an additional 1.2 million jobs over the five-year time span is projected, subsequently providing increased wireless broadband access and higher data speeds.

In his announcement of the report, PCIA- the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s President and CEO, Jonathan Adelstein, stated that these numbers will only be possible if certain policies are implemented across the wireless network industry. These policies include the recognition of small cells and distributed antennas systems as necessary components of next-generation networks and their need to be regulated differently than the towers of previous systems. Also, carriers should not have to provide proof of need when deploying a wireless facility. Finally, existing support structures, including towers, buildings, water tanks, and utility poles, should be used efficiently so that coverage and capacity can be delivered quickly and with minimal impact.

The study was led by economist Dr. Alan Pearce, IAE president and founder. The research team also included wireless industry veteran J. Richard Carlson, and Dr. Michael Pagano, the Robert J. and Mary Ellen Darretta Endowed Chair in Finance at Villanova University.

The entire report can be read here.