Broadband Communities

AUG-SEP 2013

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.

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bandwidth hawk Economic Development: Fiber Is Key To Avoiding the Zero-Sum Game Infrastructure improvements stimulate new economic activity; telecommunications is one of the cheapest infrastructure bets around. By Steven S. Ross / Broadband Communities I was born and raised in Boston and returned there in 2001 after raising my family in New Jersey and working in New York City. In my lifetime, the New England economy has had three major economic drivers. When I was born, the textile industry was king, followed by defense electronics. Now pharmaceutical research and manufacturing is rising to the top. No Rust Belt mentality there. Te secret has been infrastructure: great roads, great schools and a government that works on all levels and takes a low percentage of gross state product – always in the bottom third of the country. Boston itself spent $16 billion on new highway construction – the Big Dig – burying dysfunctional elevated roadways over a 15-year period. Not since Paul Revere have Boston residents traveled across town so fast. But you say you can't aford $16 billion, and you don't need to bury Main Street. How about state-of-the-art fber communications for your community's homes and businesses? Of the 16,000 American communities big enough to have a school system, FTTH now serves about 2,000 – half by Verizon FiOS and half by others, mainly small telephone companies. About 150 communities have their own FTTH networks, run as public utilities. Often, a community can spur an incumbent carrier to action merely by threatening to build a better network. GROwTh, NOT POAChING Tat's what BroadBand Communities' economic development conferences are all about. Why put tax dollars into subsidizing growth by stealing companies from other communities rather than growing old businesses and establishing new ones, even home-based enterprises? Tis November, the latest in our series of regional economic conferences takes place in the Chicago Southland – an area now served by a new fber trunk, from which dozens of local FTTH systems are branching out or soon will be. Experts, including Illinois governor Pat Quinn, will be on hand to explain what works and what doesn't. Tese are just a few of the topics they'll cover: • Encouraging cooperation between network builders and local economic development agencies to get the job done • Understanding how an early focus on economic 8 • • • • • development helps broadband projects get started, fnd funding and launch successfully Using broadband to drive economic development and create jobs: successful state and local approaches from the Midwest Making broadband projects sustainable – fostering economic growth is key to building robust revenue streams without saddling taxpayers with the bill Enlisting local anchor tenants – libraries, hospitals, schools and major industries – to get a system started, upgrade local workers' skills and grow the local knowledge economy Helping small businesses grow and prosper Understanding the emerging services that FTTH can enable – services few have heard about but that already exist. Tese aren't pie-in-the-sky promises. Tese are case studies of real projects, operating and generating benefts right now. Come in a day early for detailed workshops – free to conference registrants – on such topics as communications for precision agriculture and on getting seniors involved. Te simple fact is that a fber optic network is among the cheapest infrastructure improvements a community can build. And make no mistake. Tere have been many great advances in copper technology, but Internet trafc alone will increase eightfold in the next six years, 250-fold by 2030. Only fber can get the job done for businesses that provide the jobs. Internet trafc has been doubling and redoubling every two years since the Internet spread beyond a handful of universities in 1970. Tink that's over? Tink again. Television screens with four times the pixels of today's broadcast standard (1080p) are already being sold and dropping fast in price. Worldwide, 15 billion devices area already connected to the Internet. Market research frm IDATE predicts 80 billion by 2020, with North American growth outpacing much of the world. Tink smart grid, telehealth, video security, hundreds of thousands of "apps" on the TV, computer screens, tablets, phones – and now watches, eyeglasses and clothing. Shouldn't you be at our Midwest economic development conference, November 5–7, 2013, in Tinley Park, Ill.? Register now at www.bbcmag.com. v Contact the Bandwidth Hawk at steve@bbcmag.com. | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | August/september 2013

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