Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Broadband = Economic Development
Have you ever felt like you are in an episode of the Twilight Zone? Occasionally, I find myself in conversations where I truly believe I am being "punked" by Rod Sterling. Usually, it happens when the topic of "Economic Development" comes up.... perhaps this doesn't happen at your dinner table - but somehow the topic manages to come up often in my world.
For those who know our efforts around the Google Fiber campaign (http://www.googleisland.net/) you will already know how passionate we are about broadband, but beyond that campaign we are also working hard on convincing our public and private leadership how important it is to make broadband a priority in our community. Right now, the city has over 50 priorities set for this fiscal year, and broadband isn't one of them.
So, lets take a step back - and redefine what "broadband" is - specifically in the context of things we care about creating jobs, health, schools, safety and the environment. When I say "broadband" in meetings, I think most people have a picture of a cable pop in their head. This is probably why they are so quick to dismiss the concept of "broadband saving our city" is a "dream". So perhaps this is the challenge we are faced with in educating our leadership exactly what broadband really is....
1. Broadband is the number one asset to any business. If you take away bandwidth, the business will die. If you restrict bandwidth the business will lose to its competition.
2. Broadband is the number one asset in education. Without connectivity to information, to tele-learning, to connect classrooms around the world - our education system will fail to keep up with our work force standards.
3. Broadband is the number one asset of healthcare. Communication, data gathering and collaboration are critical to 21st century healthcare. Tele-medicine, remote monitoring, and mobile devices for managing health care operations are critical to providing state-of-the-art cost-effective health care.
4. Broadband is the number one asset in our environment. Preserving our environment requires research, collecting data, monitoring energy use - all of which requires broadband. Our use of energy is directly related to our ability to monitor date and improve operations leveraging broadband.
Almost every challenge we face as a community you can assume that broadband is part of the answer. We are not simply talking about improving connectivity to the home so we can all download movies faster - we are talking about the lifeline to our community.