Last week, I was speaking to a chamber member who had called me from his car in a rural area of South Carolina. While we did not experience the familiar “dropped call,” our reception was poor and he said he would have to call me back when he reached the city.
Each week announcements of a new smart phone with its amazing capabilities flood our email. While you can literally speak into your iPhone and have Siri look up the closest Starbucks, it wasn’t that long ago that we were dependent on faxing documents over telephone lines. Now edits can be made on the run and transmitted back to a sender in moments.
You may recall in the movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (based on the 1987 movie Wall Street), the chief protagonist of the film, Gordon Gekko, collects his belongings when he is paroled from prison in 2001 after serving eleven years for insider trading and securities fraud. In the film, a prison guard releases personal items that have been placed in storage, among them, Gekko’s dated cell phone – a bulky beige phone that resembles a walky talky from World War II.
Ironically the cell phone he returned to Gordon was a Motorola DynaTac 8000X and represented state–of–the–art technology costing over $4000 when he went into prison in 1990. The device was over a foot long and weighed nearly 2lbs. Far different from the Droids and Apples which fit conveniently in our pockets now.
The smart phones and tablets we use today carry out many of the capabilities required of our older desk top computers. It is not just the corporate executive who is reliant on this ever-changing technology. The small business owner, retirees, even today’s students are dependent on mobile communication technology to provide productivity and entertainment. In just the last two years alone, AT&T has invested more than $500 million in the Charlotte region in its wireless and wireline networks, with a focus on expanding 4G coverage and continually improving the performance of its networks.
N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis has said, “Investments in the state’s broadband
networks are critical to keeping North Carolina competitive…” Firms like AT&T understand the critical need to make significant investments in technology. It is also very important that we have a state legislature that creates and fosters regulations which encourage our communications industry.
The strong support of the Charlotte region’s business and political leaders have spurred mobile Internet upgrades and helped business prosper giving us a major competitive advantage, as nearly a third of the United States still lacks 4G service.
Whether it’s placing an order online, checking movie times over the Internet, or doing research for that homework assignment – our local communications industry and state elected officials are making investments in our commerce and industry, quality of life, and future!
W.E. “Bill” Russell, CCE IOM