The arrival of the railroad in the mid-18th Century, electricity in the 19th, and the telephone in the 20th brought economic prosperity to countries and communities that were early adopters of these technologies. Beneficially, they removed distance between communities, increased trade, created jobs, and improved living standards. In the 21st Century, ubiquitous symmetric Gigabit broadband access over fiber is the engine to economic prosperity.

The Link to Our Economic Future

The world has changed. North America’s legacy copper telecommunications infrastructure is a barrier to economic prosperity. Copper lacks the capacity to support knowledge and information based economies. Our economic future depends on achieving ubiquitous symmetric Gigabit access to households, institutions, and places of business. It is a platform for increased efficiency, greater effectiveness, and improved quality of life.

Impact Institutional Efficient and Effectiveness

The effectiveness and efficiency of our institutions can be greatly improved by having Gigabit access. It is the digital platform to deliver advanced services like e-health, e-government, e-education, e-transportation, and e-business. Gigabit access is essential to unleash our entrepreneurial and innovative energy.

Quit Relying on Telco and Cable

“Sweating the Copper”, , strikes at the core reason why Telcos and Cablecos lack the motivation to take on the task of providing Gigabit access. They are incented to squeeze incrementally bandwidth from their legacy copper infrastructure, deferring capital investment, while providing basic service at unjust and unreasonable rates. Even where they do have the capability, they have no motivation to deliver Gigabit access. In part, our oligopoly telecommunications industry structure is stifling the development of a ubiquitous, symmetric, open, robust, Gigabit broadband access service over fiber. This behaviour is a barrier to economic prosperity.

Lack of Leadership

Canada’s Federal Government does not have a stated broadband vision. In the U.S., the FCC’s 2010 National Broadband Plan advocates that by 2020 the minimum household speed should be 4Mbps download and 1Mbps upload. The FCC’s second goal is that by 2020 100 million U.S. households will have at least 100 Mbps download speeds and 50 Mbps uploads. Cable currently delivers speeds beyond these levels. The FCC’s goals are minimalist. We need aggressive goals.

The Goal

Catching up to other countries will be a challenge. Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Australia are in the process of building Gigabit access. In North America we must set a goal to achieve affordable, ubiquitous, symmetric, Gigabit access for households, institutions, and places of business by 2025.

Leadership from Below

Cable and Telcos are resisting local governments, school boards, higher learning institutions, and business demands for Gigabit access. New competitors are emerging by way of municipally owned power distribution companies, Google Inc., and community organizations. They are working in partnership with regional governments, municipalities, investors, and business to build Gigabit access. Chattanooga TN, Lafayette LA, and Olds Alberta provide models of Community vision, leadership, activism, and a sense of urgency necessary to fulfill an economic prosperity strategy.

To Achieve Economic Prosperity

We are at a crossroads in North America similar to past centuries when small town leaders encouraged the arrival of the railroad, electricity, and the telephone. Communities need to understand they cannot rely on the telecommunications oligopoly and their “Sweating the Copper” strategy to deliver this transformative infrastructure. Our economic future depends on regional and municipal governments to take the lead and build Gigabit access to households, institutions, and places of business.


  1. The Telco and Cable leadership maintains that consumers do not want or need Gigabit access. What are your thoughts?
  2. Some pundits maintain that there are not sufficient apps to support Gigabit access. Are they right? Is this a chicken and egg comment – build it and they will come?
  3. Can we link economic prosperity to Gigabit access? If so how can it be measured?
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7 Responses to Gigabit Access, the Engine to Prosperity

  1. Nick says:

    Some tough issues to consider:

    1) as consumers gradually up their online viewing/gaming using multiple devices, they’re going to demand bigger bytes from their ISPs (I’d argue that it’s just starting)

    2) if you do build it, people will come (the iPads etc have demonstrated this) but the content must be compelling

    3)yes, productivity would be a key metric

    • Eamon D. Hoey MBA, CMC says:


      Thank-you for your comment.

      Re your first point I would add that it has more than started we are well into it – what has prevented bigger bytes is the carrier practice of throttling and the practice of limiting the amount of usage.
      On your second point I think you are right. We need more apps. If you talk to doctors they will tell you that the apps are there but the networks cannot accommodation their upload needs. We just had that experience with a doc in Markham ( a community just North of Toronto).
      You raise the issue of productivity – good point. Our view around here at HOEY is that you need to have Entrepreneurs who bring Innovation then you get increased productivity as a result of the digital Innovative applications that an Entrepreneur creates.

      Thanks again.

  2. Nick says:

    Yep to the throttling Eamon -> until more competitors are allowed to enter the market, it’ll continue (the CRTC reduction of wholesale ISP rates to the small ISP companies is a good start).

    Regarding point three -> these indicators would work as well


  3. Eamon Hoey says:


    In the last decade we have had lots of bad policy comming out of the CRTC. I do not think tipping the scales in favor of any ISP big or small yields the desired results.

    I read the article you suggested Measuring Innovation part 1: Frequently Used Indicators. The poor Doctor just does not get it. Measuring inputs such as R&D and introduction of new products just doesn’t tell us anything about Innovation or the role of the Entrepreneur in the innovation process. Go read Drucker on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


  4. Nick says:

    Will do on reading Drucker Eamon – thanks for mentioning him.

    And ditto for making me think as well.


  5. First of all I would like to say superb blog! I had
    a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your
    mind prior to writing. I have had a tough time
    clearing my mind in getting my ideas out. I truly do take pleasure
    in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend
    to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any suggestions or tips? Appreciate it!

    • Eamon D. Hoey MBA, CMC says:

      Thanks for your comment re my Blog and question. Yup the first 15 minutes sometimes it is the first few hours that are tough to get going – it is the blank page that can be scary. I use various approach – I write a small outline often when I am watching TV – I sketch out in bullet form what needs to be said. I start by the theme of the article – if I get the theme right – 3-4 sentences then the rest comes more easily – A friend who writes books for a living says he just sits down and writes and develops the theme and content as he goes. He writes on average 800 to 1,000 words per day of finished copy. Yesterday I wrote an 800 word article. It took me most of the day between walking the dogs, grocery shopping and a trip to the wine shop. I spent about 3 hrs writing the 1st draft and another 3 hrs on 2nd and Final copy. There is no magic – just get down and do it.

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