Report: State and local wireless spending to quadruple

The wireless market in state and local government will increase fourfold from $500 million to more than $2 billion in the next three years, according to a new report by market research firm Input Inc. of Reston, Va.

The report, "Wireless Internet Expands Broadband," states that legislation and popular demand are forcing state and local governments to look at wireless technologies to attract businesses and expand broadband penetration to rural areas.

According to Input, future telecommunications regulations will establish standards to help integrate systems for public safety purposes, citizen use and business, thus fueling the growth of the market.

For the United States to remain a global leader, it is necessary for government and business to work together to ensure high-capacity telecommunications is available in every business and home.

"Wireless Internet connectivity is the direction in which future networks are moving," said Marcus Fedeli, Input's manager of state and local opportunity products. Wireless is a cost-effective and rapid solution for achieving broadband connectivity in metropolitan and rural areas, he said.

Several large and small cities are acquiring wireless technology to enhance their communities, the firm said.

Funding for wireless networks and solutions within state and local government varies from traditional sources to alternative funding. Generally, large cities tend to leverage federally funded grant money and allocate money from their own budgets, while smaller cities rely on taxpayer money to bring in vendors that can build high-capacity networks.

Homeland security funding for public safety can be used to acquire and build wireless systems, according to Input.

"If the push to expand wireless broadband technology is to continue, state municipalities must continue to develop alternative means of obtaining funds to spark implementation of these systems," Fedeli said.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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