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28 May 2009


Wireless communications to benefit from $6.8bn Stimulus Bill funding

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, or the Stimulus Bill) will provide funding for a massive $6.8bn worth of wireless communications upgrades and new deployments over 2009-2010, according to the report ‘The 2009 Federal Stimulus Bill’ from ABI Research.

The act offers a significant one-off opportunity for wireless equipment vendors, adds the market research firm. “The ARRA represents a windfall for wireless service providers as well as for satellite service providers,” says vice president Stan Schatt. “It will have an enormous impact on Wi-Fi and wireless broadband vendors. It will also immediately benefit a number of specific vertical industries, including healthcare, education, homeland security, the environment, and the nation’s electricity infrastructure,” he adds.

In healthcare, the scope for adding wireless to the technology mix encompasses Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices and sensors, communications systems linking health networks, telepresence, wireless LAN equipment, and Wi-Fi-enabled video surveillance systems.

In education, already a leading adopter of Wi-Fi solutions, equipment vendors are developing templated solutions in such areas as WLANs for ‘learning anywhere’, voice-over-Wi-Fi, and WLAN equipment and software to track students’ progress for ‘No Child Left Behind’ record keeping.

The Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection are potential goldmines for wireless vendors, says ABI Research, because of the many agencies within them that will use ARRA funds for tactical communications equipment, infrastructure equipment, and security equipment. Even critical infrastructure construction projects such as bridges and tunnels often require wireless video surveillance systems.

“Many of the spending opportunities lie ‘under the surface’,” notes Schatt. “A civil engineering project which seems mainly about concrete and steel may actually benefit from a lot of wireless technology. And because vendors can’t apply for funds themselves, they are - and should be - doing everything in their power to help their customers do so.”

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