One of America’s enduring strengths has been its long embrace of technological innovation. From the widespread adoption of groundbreaking technologies such as the automobile and airplane , to the invention of common household appliances such as the dishwasher and microwave , America has never lost sight of technology’s critical role in driving economic development and societal progress.

In modern times, this embrace of technology has included 5G networks, a revolution of next-generation wireless networks that has touched nearly every aspect of American life, from education and medicine to shopping and taxes.

However, this revolution is fueled by a steady supply of spectrum , which refers to invisible radio frequencies over which wireless signals travel. Licensed mid-band spectrum , in particular, is in heavy demand because it possesses the ideal mix of speed and geographic coverage, making it perfect for 5G and future sixth-generation networks. Unfortunately, America is not currently identifying enough spectrum bands to satisfy growing consumer demand. This must change, and fast.

The government could start with sharing spectrum bands it isn’t using. According to a recent Accenture report , the government has access to 12 times more licensed mid-band spectrum than the wireless industry. While the government, particularly the Department of Defense , claims to need access to mid-band spectrum, there is no reason they should resist giving up access to spectrum bands they are not actively using.

Rebalancing mid-band allocations should also be treated as a top priority by lawmakers. A failure to act now could leave America vulnerable to international competitors such as China, a country that does not share America’s strategic interests and has allocated 70% more licensed mid-band spectrum for 5G. Leading on all 5G metrics , including mid-band spectrum, will put America in the driver’s seat for setting technical standards and building the “infrastructure the global network will depend on.”

Read the full Washington Examiner article here.

Nate Scherer is a policy analyst with the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the Institute, visit us at www.TheAmericanConsumer.Org or follow us on X @ConsumerPal.