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Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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October 13, 2008 8:50 AM

Stitching Our Economic Wounds Shut With Fiber

My exasperation with how the federal government continues to generally ignore the potential of broadband to drive economic growth is not new but it still pains me when I read about things like the next potential stimulus package.

Rumor has it that Congress may be called back into session after the election to pass legislation that would extend jobless benefits, increase money for food stamps, and possibly include a tax rebate. The total cost? $150 billion.

First off, as I've said before, for $150 billion we could wire the entire country with fiber. So again, it's not about the expense of full fiber networks, it's about where our priorities are.

Secondly, I'm not an economist, but it seems like continually trying to throw short-term surges of capital into a failing market is nothing more than trying to stop the bleeding of a shotgun wound to the chest with a Band-Aid. Sure it may seem to make things better for a few minutes on the surface, but before long it's going to bleed through.

The only way to improve the situation is to get deeper and pursue a longer term solution. Rather than a Band-Aid, we need to stitch the wound shut. Putting money into someone's pocket is one thing, but equipping them with the ability to make more money on their own is something far greater.

On this third front there is some understanding of this among government, the only problem is they still have such a 20th century mindset.

Included in the last stimulus package passed by the House was money for road and bridge construction, not necessarily for the sake of improving our infrastructure but instead with the intent of creating jobs.

Here's the thing that drives me batty: deploying fiber networks creates jobs too!

It's my understanding that Verizon's been hiring like crazy to build out FiOS, and those jobs are at least as good as if not better than any involving road building, both in terms of pay and quality of life. So if we were to get serious about wiring America with fiber we'd be creating thousands if not millions of new jobs.

Plus as we all know the long-term impact of full fiber networks is much more significant to driving economic growth than having nicer roads. It opens up a lot more opportunities for job creation plus this connectivity can have a more profound impact on aspects of society like education and healthcare.

So the choice seems clear: we can keep using the Band-Aids of one-time checks and building more roads, or we can stitch the wound shut with fiber optic cable enabling an infrastructure that will create better jobs while improving the long-term outlook of our entire economy moving forward into the 21st century.

Call me crazy, but this seems like a no-brainer. Now if only our politicians would realize the same thing...

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Comments (1)

I completely agree.

Having said that - why don't you create a report and roll out the stats heavy, then distribute it to all the members of Congress? Maybe I'm thinking big - but the old bats won't know if you don't paint the picture for them, right?

Whatever - you're in charge of the economy in my Administration.

Posted by Ryan on October 13, 2008 8:29 PM

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