Linda McMahon, administrator of the Small Business Administration, Thursday talked up the economic boon as well as the safety aspects of self-driving cars, but signaled that those driverless cars won't be going anywhere without the accelerator of a strong digital infrastructure and a light regulatory hand on the break.
McMahon was keynoting a Small Business Entrepreneurship Council event on Capitol Hill.
She said that while slow internet speeds might be annoying when you are trying to download a movie, they are "dangerous in a world of autonomous vehicles."
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She said since wireless carriers would be making most of the investment in that infrastructure, they need a regulatory environment that operates "fairly and efficiently so they are not overly burdened by red tape."
She urged small businesses to guard against that burden and let Congress know how they feel.
She said she was pleased with a bipartisan Senate resolution last week in support of deploying 5G nationwide.
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She said internet access was critical and that thanks to Google Maps, she was never lost.
McMahon put in her own plug for 5G deployment, calling it both "superfast" and "reliable." According to the Senate resolution, 5G deployment could add $500 billion to the economy and create 3 million new jobs. "As the head of SBA, that's music to my ears," she said, adding: "Cars may no longer need drivers, but our economy does, and small businesses are the engines."
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