JAW Speak

Jonathan Andrew Wolter

Archive for June, 2007

Broadband as a driver in social progress and economic development

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Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

There is an interesting videoconference on Broadband as an economic development driver by Steve Rosenbush, senior Writer at BusinessWeek Online engine.

http://www.iian.ibeam.com/events/mcgr004/14273/index.jsp?autoLogin=false lets you log in. It should be free, although you may need to create an account.

Some interesting tidbits:

  • The US has 94 telephone lines per 100 people.
  • Developing countries may only have 5 lines per 100 people.
  • A 1% increase in phone lines leads to a 3% increase in GDP
  • Nov 2003: 35% of US internet users had high speed access, May 2004: 42%, Dec 2004: 50%, 2005: 53%+

Dr. John Rudledge of Rudlege Capital, LLC (Economic Advisor to Reagan and Bush) talks about what is broadband. He suggests it is a verb, not a noun. It means you’re faster than everyone else. Once the “Pony Express” was broadband, now it is wireless and cable internet, for some it is optical fiber to the desktop. He continues,

“I think of broadband as the Central Nervous System of the economy…. America is not competing for jobs, but capital. Capital makes you productive and allows you to earn a paycheck. We need to learn to compete for capital with other countries in the world who know the importance of telecom capital. … China’s current energy use 20 years in the future (with no conservation) uses more than total world production today. … Because of that impending clash, they are shifting resources from oil and gas industries to IT growth [and efficiency.] … The US is in 16th place in the world telecom speed tables.

Christina Heakart (?) is the Gen. Mgr. of Marketing for Microsoft TV. She points out that the entire broadband revolution is limited to people using PC’s. It’s helped businesses and homes (with PC’s) into the digital age. In 5-10 years broadband will bring it to the TV. We will see the ignition of enormous new amounts of new commerce, new ways to communicate, unite community, and new content. … Bring the TV in as a full citizen to the digital age. TV will become 2-way and no longer 1-way.

Leo Hinderly, Jr (Managing Partner of InterMedia) claims broadband is not available to all and is in fact discriminatory–favoring urban and wealthy areas; rare in rural and poor areas.

Once again, John Rudledge says there is not (or only recently) a broadband policy in the administration. Most pressure for reform has come out of congress.

“5 years ago 40% of telecom equipment was made in the US, now it is down to 20%. R & D is going as well. Because the manufacturing factor is going, the intellectual aspect is getting more and more important. This year [2005], China will make more engineers than America + Germany + Japan.”

Christine advocates the free market to “wave it’s invisible hand” that will allow economic models to emerge for the digital divide to reunite. Most people that are poor don’t have PC’s. They have TV’s but not PC’s. It doesn’t matter if they have broadband in the home if they can’t use it.

About Christine’s point with poor not having PC’s — the open source community in Chicago has been working on creating free machines in exchange for volunteer hours building refurbished PC’s out of donated hardware. I’ve been volunteering there, and I encourage you check out their website at www.freegeekchicago.org With some digging, you can even find some pictures of me, I suspect.

Then they go into a lengthy Q & A where I stopped watching. I’m tired and can use my sleep to arrive at work early and get my laptop to then meet with Chris Perry, CEO and Frank Gruber, blogger extraordinaire (and tech event planner) two fascinating entrepreneurial types.

Written by Jonathan

June 6th, 2007 at 2:46 am

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