/America’s military vets depend on strong wireless networks

America’s military vets depend on strong wireless networks

November 11, 2018

As we honor US military veterans this week, it is important to ensure that our nation’s heroes can make the connections and access the benefits and services they need for a smooth transition to civilian life.

Veterans returning home and transitioning back to civilian life face unique challenges. After having been away, they need to reconnect with family and friends, establish new routines, and find new jobs or career paths. Returning veterans may have disabilities and mental health issues and require access to health care and support services.

There are numerous federal, state and local agencies that provide benefits and services to veterans, and almost all of them have a significant online presence. Since many of these resources for veterans are provided online, access to a strong wireless connection is essential to providing veterans with the support they need.

A lack of connectivity can limit veterans’ efforts to find and secure the help they need and successfully transition to civilian life.

For example:

  • Internet access is critical to job searches today. Eighty percent of recent job seekers relied on the internet in their job search.
  • Many of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) counseling services are accessed online, which may hinder low-income veterans who do not have Internet access.
  • Research from the VA suggests lack of Internet access can hamper veterans’ efforts to quit smoking. The VA offers online support and mobile websites to assist veterans who are trying to go tobacco-free.

A 2017 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey report found that 25.3 percent of rural veteran households do not have reliable means to get online. Many telecommunications providers offer low-cost internet packages for veterans, but these services rely on strong wireless infrastructure to make this connectivity possible.

In order to ensure that we have reliable and robust wireless networks that can accommodate our data needs, we need to increase the number of small cell nodes by a magnitude of nearly 5 times by 2020 and nearly 8 times by 2026.[1] Local governments are responsible for working with wireless carriers and wireless infrastructure developers to approve permits for wireless infrastructure. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening fast enough to keep up with demand, and we run the risk of increased data congestion and decreased reliability on our wireless network if we don’t significantly speed up the installation of small cells that will increase data capacity.

WIN educates and advocates with key public safety organizations and other related third-party stakeholders to ensure wireless infrastructure can be deployed to keep veterans connected to the services they need.

Join WIN to stay up-to-date on wireless issues and add your voice to the growing demand for reliable wireless connectivity.

[1] S&P Global Market Intelligence, John Fletcher, Small Cell and Tower Projections through 2026, SNL Kagan Wireless Investor (Sept. 27, 2016).