This week, a number of startup businesses will be on Capitol Hill to participate in the first annual “Startup Day.” Not surprisingly, many of today’s startups leverage the wireless internet platform. The wireless industry has revolutionized the way we live, work and play. In less than two decades, the cellphone has evolved from a device with only telephone capabilities that very few could afford into a device that is a telephone, computer, camera, gaming system and more all in one that nearly everyone over the age of ten owns. In fact, there are now more connected wireless devices in the U.S. than people. None of this could have happened without the enormous investments made by carriers in the wireless networks. But it also couldn't have happened without the ingenuity and innovation of many startup businesses that have leveraged the wireless platform to provide applications for just about everything you can imagine.
Investment in wireless networks coupled with new and innovative wireless products and services has had a significant and positive impact on the U.S. economy. This is obvious by the fact that even in the midst of a recession and slow recovery, people still line up outside stores to buy the latest and greatest wireless devices. The wireless industry directly or indirectly supports 3.8 million jobs, or 2.6% of all U.S. employment, and pays wages that are 65% higher than the national average. The wireless industry has also enabled an entirely new business, the “app” economy, which is responsible for approximately a half a million jobs in the United States. This is pretty remarkable considering the “app economy” didn’t even exist five years ago.
Recently, in a rare show of bipartisanship, Congress passed and the President signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which is intended to help increase entrepreneurs’ access to capital by allowing startups and small businesses to more easily raise funds. While an important step, there is more than Congress can do to encourage economic growth and job creation. That is why CTIA is endorsing the Startup Act 2.0 (S. 3217) recently introduced by Senators Moran (R-KS), Warner (D-VA), Rubio (R-FL) and Coons (D-DE).
The Startup Act 2.0 allows the United States to attract and retain the best and brightest entrepreneurial talent in the world in order to create jobs here. Additionally, the Startup Act 2.0 would provide a better environment for job creation by requiring a thorough analysis of new regulations that often burden businesses with significant costs and hamper job growth. The legislation also makes some modest changes to the tax code that will help enable startups to grow and create jobs.
CTIA applauds the bipartisan group of Senators who introduced the Startup Act 2.0 and all the startups on Capitol Hill this week for what they do and for telling their story. We hope that common sense bipartisan legislation like the Startup Act 2.0 will be enacted, making it easier for these startups to succeed. Their success is good for all of us.