LIVE FROM CCA ANNUAL CONVENTION, FORT WORTH, TEXAS: Brendan Carr, a commissioner at the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), flagged a growing need for operators to have access to a skilled workforce as they construct next generation networks.
While the FCC focuses primarily on opening up spectrum and trying to streamline infrastructure regulations, Carr (pictured) said he recently attended a roundtable event at which broadband, wireless and infrastructure providers all highlighted a worker shortage. The revelation was a “wake up call”, he said.
The US Bureau of Labour Statistics forecast the wireless telecommunications sector will offer 21,200 more jobs in 2024 than in 2014 as network buildouts continue.
Carr acknowledged the FCC has less of a direct role in the workforce issue than it does on the matters of spectrum and infrastructure. However, he said he believes the FCC can focus additional attention on the issue and potential solutions, like job training programs.
“I want to hear your experiences and ways that the federal government – that is, the FCC, the Department of Labour – can partner with you to make sure you have access to the skilled workforce you need to deploy this massive amount of additional infrastructure.”
The infrastructure Carr is referring to includes, among other things, the deployment of new fibre and small cells as wireless operators densify their networks ahead of 5G, as well as new 600MHz equipment so US operators can use the spectrum they won in an FCC incentive auction completed in February.