Skip to comments.Opinion: Chambers: It's time to broadband the economy
Posted on 01/12/2009 9:05:42 PM PST by nickcarraway
President-elect Barack Obama's ambitious economic recovery plan has a goal to create 3 million American jobs in the next two years. Broadband is a part of the answer.
Broadband has the potential to transform our country. It will create jobs in the growth sectors of our economy jobs that are driving the collaboration and interaction economy. Obama deserves our full support as he looks to revitalize our economy. An economic stimulus package that focuses on infrastructure must put America's broadband infrastructure at the head of the list. We have the opportunity to bring broadband to those who do not have access to it today and to dramatically improve the quality and speed of existing broadband to 21st century standards. Broadband is the highway to our future.
Obama understands the correlation between broadband and job growth and will be the first U.S. leader to execute a nationwide broadband plan that will spur innovation, productivity, growth and collaboration for generations to come.
He has discussed using the proposed stimulus package to rebuild our aging physical infrastructure of roads, bridges, water and energy systems. This is important and needed. If we want a new 21st century economy and society, he also recognizes that broadband connectivity is the additional infrastructure that is essential to our future.
Broadband's economic power derives from two sources. The first is reach how many people are using broadband at work, at home and in the community. The second is speed the speeds of the connection determine the impact it has on user behavior. We are all aware of how little things have changed over the years when it comes to broadband rankings for the United States. We continue to fall behind.
In 2002, TechNet, a group of technology executives that I co-founded with John Doerr and Jim Barksdale, called for 100 Mbs broadband adoption in 100 million American homes and small businesses by 2010. We are clearly not going to reach that goal, but the leadership from government that we asked for seven years ago still applies. We need to upgrade existing infrastructure to 20/50/100 Mbs and there should be tax credits provided to do this. And to prevent the disparity between the technical haves and have-nots from widening, we need funding to promote and provide broadband in unserved and underserved areas.
Including broadband in a stimulus package is not just about the longer-term vision it will immediately create jobs, with the Communications Workers of America estimating that 97,500 jobs result from every $5 billion spent on broadband infrastructure. Longer term, an increase in broadband usage in the United States of 10 percent would add more than 2 million jobs, according to the group Connected Nation. And in California alone, increasing broadband usage could add 1.8 million jobs over the next 10 years, according to the Sacramento Regional Research Institute.
But it is more than a mere connection. Behavior is dictated by Internet speeds.
Imagine what the United States could accomplish if our broadband speeds were not just competitive, but leading-edge. Imagine what broadband could do for health care: A medical specialist in Cleveland, Ohio, could do a virtual house call via high-definition video to a homebound retiree in Henderson, Nev. We have the technology now, but we need the connectivity. Imagine applying that same technology to education and changing the very nature of the way students learn or the way we train workers.
Our economic challenges are too dire to merely rely on Band-Aids. It's time to broadband our economy. The innovation, the productivity and the growth that is possible with a proper broadband infrastructure is nearly limitless. The time to act is now. Doing so will not only help stabilize and stimulate a recovery but create the foundation for long-term prosperity and competitiveness.
John T. Chambers is CEO of Cisco Systems.
The Clinton admin redux...”Digital Divide” being repackaged under a different name...
I guess we’ll have to buy everyone a computer, anti-virus subscriptions, word-processing software, etc. too, huh?
I am impressed by his sources. He references a study by the CWA. As long as the CWA can set the work rules, their estimates make sense.
I am skeptical about the claims in the article. What applications can be supported at 100Mbs but not at 10Mbs?
ok, who's next ?
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