Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 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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76 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Worker Skills Are Critical to Obtaining Broadband Economic Development Benefits Connecting the Dots of Ohio's Broadband Policy, Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy, The Ohio State University, April 2017 By Mark Rembert, Bo Feng and Mark Partridge / Ohio State University e most recent research suggests that broadband can be an effective economic development tool in some rural areas, specifically more populated, metro- adjacent areas that have a higher share of skilled workers. For areas that do not fall into those categories, the best case for broadband may not be economic development. Efforts to provide access in these areas – especially in areas with low skill levels – might need to be coupled with other economic development efforts aimed at offsetting the potential adverse effect of firms' using information technologies to outsource work or replace workers with technology, such as supporting entrepreneurship and skills development. … Considering this evidence within the context of the costs and benefits of broadband expansion, the vast majority of benefits stem from benefits to consumers. Broadband can greatly expand consumer access to products and services at lower prices, resulting in large economic gains. e evidence regarding the economic development benefits of broadband expansion are less assuring. While more populated rural areas adjacent to metros likely have opportunities to spur some economic development through broadband expansion, these gains are likely to come at the expense of smaller, more remote rural areas. e economics literature suggests broadband expansion into [rural areas with low-skilled workforces] can actually have unintended consequences that reduce employment. is suggests that broadband expansion policies should be coupled with targeted economic development efforts that include entrepreneurial support, internet literacy, and skills development to mitigate the potential losses associated with broadband expansion. Finally, internet job search can significantly reduce the length of unemployment for job seekers, producing additional economic benefits for workers and the state. Is the Internet More Like a Country? Refreshing Our Understanding of the Internet Economy, Internet Association, March 2017 By Christopher Hooton, Ph.D. Simply placing the internet sector … within the current NAICS taxonomy (or other formalized system) produces a deceptively intuitive fit. Researchers can quickly provide comparators that seem appropriately matched: e internet sector contributes approximately 6 percent of the U.S. GDP; it is a top-20 industry within the United States economy (in 2015); it is larger than powerhouse sectors such as construction (3.6 percent in 2012), transportation and warehousing (2.9 percent in 2012), and others. All of these are true, but as several other researchers who have analyzed the internet economy have argued, the estimates are likely conservative, and the comparators are not entirely appropriate. Perhaps a more useful approach, hinted at by du Rausas et al. (2011), is to consider the internet economy as a unique market (i.e. the same way we would a sovereign nation). ey estimated that in 2009 the internet would have been one of the 10 largest national economies in the world, larger than Canada, Spain, and many other large developed economies, implying a global GDP contribution of over 2.1 percent. And while not entirely applicable, the approach does fit many of the economic activities in the internet. Recent years have seen the development and stabilization of new currencies (bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies), the development and sale of new territory (domains and sites), new production and distribution infrastructure systems (apps and network platforms), new communities and culture (social networks), and the collection and utilization of new forms of resources and commodities that can be mined and processed into economically useful items (data, APIs and more). is is not to suggest that the internet should be considered a country, but it does illustrate that the types of goods and services developed via and available through the internet should, at a minimum, be given more attention than they currently receive and … considered a unique class with a more sophisticated approach of incorporation. Goods and services developed via the internet should be considered a unique class.

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