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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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March 4, 2008 11:05 AM

Connected Nation Pegs Broadband Benefits at $134 Billion...That's It?

Last week Connected Nation released a report entitled "The Economic Impact of Stimulating Broadband Nationally." In it they claim that if the US were to stimulate the deployment and adoption of broadband that we'd realize more than $134 billion worth of benefits.

Unfortunately, because of the reputation Connected Nation has in some circles, these findings have been called into question, with many labeling this as nothing more than another PR stunt aimed to pressuring legislators into passing legislation based on what some to be Connected Nation's failed model for broadband mapping and community organizing.

The best analysis I've seen so far of their report comes from App-Rising.com friend Ann Treacy over on the Blandin Foundation's broadband blog.

Here's her final analysis of the report's findings in Kentucky: "I can’t say that I think these numbers are rock solid. But I think it is undeniable that Kentucky is in better shape now than they were before the push for broadband."

And this is the point that matters most in all this. I don't think it really matters what the precise number is for how much the availability and use of broadband can improve America. Who cares if it's $100 billion or $10 billion or $10 trillion, in the end there's no denying the fact that by having cheaper, faster, more widely available and more widely adopted broadband we can give our country a massive economic boost.

Beyond specific dollar amounts, let's also consider who far-reaching that impact could/will be.

It'll create jobs.

It'll save healthcare costs.

It'll reduce the amount of gas we consume and emissions we product.

And then there's the more qualitative benefits:

It'll expand educational opportunities.

It'll allow rural areas to get better healthcare and compete more readily in the global economy.

It'll encourage the development of our 21st century information economy by encouraging greater innovation.

This list just goes on and on.

Why we even need another study showing the economic impact of broadband is beyond me. No reasonable, informed person can doubt the fact that we'd be better off as a country with more broadband and more people online.

And I would argue that there is no greater investment we could be making as a country in our future than in aggressively pursuing all available options for bringing our broadband infrastructure into this new millennium. What else could we invest in that would improve healthcare, education, government services, economic development, and beyond?

The question is no longer if we need to do this, but what we need to do, how we can do it, and when is the soonest we can get it done by.

Those are what need answering, not embroiling ourselves in an argument over the specific dollar amount by which having broadband would enable us to realize.

In fact, rather than guessing how much of an impact broadband can have, why not set a goal of how much we want it to have?

I say by getting everyone hooked up to the Internet through broadband we should be able to realize a minimum of $1 trillion in benefits to the US.

Later this week I'll share with you how we might get close to that number, not by sitting back and observing broadband's impact but instead by leaning forward and actively pursuing its potential to revolutionize the way society works in the 21st century.


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