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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Page 42 of 122

Economic DEvElopmEnt Small Business and E-Commerce: Making the Connection A survey of small businesses in Louisiana reveals that too few take advantage of the opportunities the Internet ofers. By David Moore / Louisiana State Broadband Grant Program U pon taking ofce in 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower made the revitalization of the nation's highways one of the goals of his frst administration. Since then, the Interstate Highway System has enhanced the abilities of citizens to travel great distances and lowered the cost of commerce for U.S. businesses. What if the federal government had built the interstates but U.S. businesses had failed to recognize the benefts? What if businesses had passed on the opportunity to use this network of highways to lower costs, increase customer bases and create more jobs? Tat was not the case with the Interstate Highway System and the nation's small businesses 60 years ago, but it may prove to be just that with the growing national broadband network and today's small businesses. A well-known axiom among policymakers and economists is that small business drives the U.S. economy. Recent studies indicate that small businesses account for 50 percent of the gross domestic product. National leaders of both parties rally around the cry that small businesses are the nation's job creators. Simultaneously, U.S. policymakers consistently promote broadband as the linchpin for the future competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Te $7 billion investment in broadband infrastructure and adoption funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 36 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 2009 was followed by additional federal programs designed to expand the reach of broadband, such as Connect to Compete, the Nationwide Public Service Broadband Network (FirstNet), and the recently announced ConnectED program, which was designed to ensure that 99 percent of U.S. public schools have high-speed Internet access in fve years. Independent of federal programs is a movement to build robust, ultra-high-speed broadband networks on the municipal level. Google initiated Google Fiber projects, frst in Kansas City (Kansas and Missouri) and more recently in Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah. Gigabit Squared is partnering with municipalities to install fber networks in parts of Seattle and Chicago. Many municipalities have built gigabit networks on their own – most prominently, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Lafayette, La. Former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski recently captured the imagination of state policymakers by issuing the Gigabit City Challenge, designed to have a city in each state achieve gigabit city status by the year 2015. SMAll BUSINESSES AND E-COMMERCE Tough broadband programs and gigabit city projects abound, one obstacle may limit the potential impact of these gains on the U.S. economy. Small-business owners and entrepreneurs have not fully embraced the impact that e-commerce can have on their enterprises. | August/september 2013

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