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”, http://www.eamonhoey.com/?p=324 , 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.
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.
- The Telco and Cable leadership maintains that consumers do not want or need Gigabit access. What are your thoughts?
- 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?
- Can we link economic prosperity to Gigabit access? If so how can it be measured?
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