After a nudge from Bill Coleman, I ended up on Senator Klobuchar’s blog today. Her last 3 posts have related to broadband. They all related to a letter she sent to President-Elect Obama urging him to make broadband part of his economic stimulus package.
She says, “In many communities,” Klobuchar said, “the problem is that access is either too slow or too expensive, or both. As a result, businesses, hospitals, schools and even law enforcement are all at a disadvantage.” She adds that rural access and usage is significantly lower than the national average.
I am so pleased to see this extended light shining on broadband – especially when some of that light is coming from Minnesota. I think that Klobuchar is positioning us to be in a good place to take advantage of any broadband investment opportunities.
Klobuchar is not alone. Mike O’Connor recently posted a long list of folks who are lining up broadband project proposals for the new Administration on his Urban Broadband User in Minnesota blog.
I think broadband fever is building for a good reason – the research out there indicates that broadband is an important economic development infrastructure in the long and short term. Klobuchar cites a study by the Brookings Institution, which estimates that every one percentage point increase in broadband penetration per year would lead to the creation of nearly 300,000 new jobs. As I recall those jobs do not directly relate to the building of broadband but rather reflect jobs created by broadband use.
On the other hand the FTTH Council just unveiled a study that indicates that in the short terms tax incentives for direct fiber connections would create more than 200,000 jobs in each of the next 3 years and increase economic output by $100 billion. The same report also says that increased broadband penetration would indirectly generate another 360,000 new jobs.
The flip side of all these people clamoring for broadband is a recent report posted on the Benton Foundation site claiming that unless we do move ahead with some of these plans, broadband subscriber growth will decline by 12% in 2009.
Again it’s great to see – there aren’t enough hours in the day lately to keep up on broadband headlines!