BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.
Issue link: http://bbcmag.epubxp.com/i/438104
82 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT The Challenge of Mass Innovation For the majority of people, broadband's economic benefts may depend more on usability and usefulness than on bandwidth. By Frank Odasz / Lone Eagle Consulting T ime is the most fnite resource of all. People are willing to pay for services that save time instead of wasting it. But for low-income populations, a super-fast broadband network may not save as much time as a slower but smarter "public benefts network." Gigacities have not yet had much economic impact on low-income populations, and few digital inclusion programs ofer scalable solutions to help average folks learn to earn online. Stimulating high-tech startups hasn't proven to create large numbers of jobs, and the jobs created will likely be only for those with high-level technical skills. Connecting the unemployed online to the local job service isn't much of an innovation when it means ignoring or missing booming opportunities for entry- level digital entrepreneurship. Can broadband be a solution for low-income Americans? Maybe low-tech, high-imagination jobs that proliferate in large numbers from the bottom up can outperform the top-down, high- tech eforts. MOBILE LEARNING Te most scalable educational solution is distance learning, especially if it is delivered on mobile devices. As of 2014, more online purchasing is done via mobile devices than via PCs. Mobile devices outsell PCs four to one. Pundits are predicting the death of the PC. Mobile devices are quickly becoming smaller, faster, increasingly integrated, interconnected, more powerful and essential to daily functionality. Apple has more than a million apps, and in 2012, it paid $12 billion in commissions to third-party app developers. New forms of entry- level digital entrepreneurship are popping up all over. Anyone can become a developer and create apps without learning to code, publish e-books without a publisher and much more. Creating and maintaining free websites via iPhones and iPads is now possible, enabling ever-easier "create and share" community capacity-building opportunities. For several years, 2 billion people have had Internet access – so that many of those with a bent toward self-directed learning and innovative entrepreneurship have already created a global boom in innovations, learning continually from one another globally and giving the rest of us the opportunity to use, copy, modify, mash up or morph their innovations into something new. New microsatellites and other technologies will help get the remaining 5 billion online within fve to 10 years. Te smartphone applications booming in Africa already provide insights into what kinds Don't miss Frank Odasz's session in the rural broadband track BroadBand Communities summit in Austin, April 14–16.