Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2017

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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54 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MAY/JUNE 2017 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT The Economic Development Benefits Of Broadband Broadband is the underpinning for some of today's most important transformations in business activity and government services. By Steve Smith / Ronin Technology Advisors B roadband in 2017 bears many similarities to the railroads as they opened in the United States in the late 1800s. In both cases, a significant investment of time and materials was necessary to develop new infrastructure, and in both cases, the ultimate value of that investment derives not from the infrastructure but from the economic ecosystem that grows and evolves around it. In the case of the railroads, that meant banking and financial services institutions, travel and hospitality providers, printing and communications companies, freight logistics and shipment handlers, and a host of other businesses. e impact of the railroad became defined not by connecting distant points but by creating new businesses out of nothing, enabling existing businesses to grow and changing the way municipalities viewed themselves in the broader economic landscape. at's true of broadband, too. High-speed connectivity offers more than just improvement in online work. It offers five broad economic benefits to communities – connections to the information economy, the internet of things (IoT), the engine of electronic commerce, the world of big data and the visual experience era. THE INFORMATION ECONOMY In much the same way that railroads opened commerce among towns and expanded the focus of municipal economies to the sale of products and services regionally and nationally, broadband enables municipalities to think bigger. Remote work is one of the most immediate and obvious benefits. Towns connected to fast, reliable broadband enable their citizens to take jobs with firms in distant cities, creating new opportunities beyond the reach of the local economic base. e statistics point toward remote work becoming the norm: e number of work-at- home employees has grown by 103 percent since 2005. ough the total U.S. employee workforce grew by 1.9 percent from 2013 to 2014, the number of remote-work employees grew by 5.6 percent – nearly three times as fast. In a survey of business leaders at a recent Global Leadership Summit in London, 34 percent said more than half their company's full-time workers would work remotely by 2020. Connecting to the information economy involves more than remote work. It also involves remotely acquiring the skill sets necessary to Fast, reliable broadband enables citizens to take jobs with firms in distant cities, creating new opportunities beyond the local economic base.

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