Thanks to Ann Higgins for sending me the following article by Blair Levin from All Things D. I found it to be inspiring – although in fairness I’m predisposed to inspiration around technology. I’m hoping that it may inspire others…
In the 21st Century information economy, the productivity of every sector depends on its efficacy in collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information. Another is the transformational exchange of inputs. A century ago, America established world economic leadership by exchanging iron, coal and trains with steel, electricity, cars and planes. Future leadership now depends on our dexterity in exchanging inputs based on atoms with inputs based on microprocessors, fiber optics and digitization.
These trends come together over broadband, the commons of knowledge exchange. America thrived in the last century by exploiting a new and abundant industrial infrastructure (railroads, highways, etc.) that enabled us to lead in productivity and innovation. The foundation for leadership in broadband, however, requires two fundamental building blocks: A strategic bandwidth advantage and a “psychology of bandwidth abundance.” This psychology is what has fueled the uniquely American spirit of experimentation and innovation — from the first wave of European immigrants to the post-World War II America that helped rebuild Europe and Asia and created our modern economy and unleashed huge new industries from transportation to telecommunications.
Unfortunately, however, the current environment suggests that we aren’t building that foundation.
It is similar to the message I heard in a recent talk from Susan Crawford. I think, or maybe I hope, that broadband advocates are becoming more passionate and direct in their message about the importance of broadband expansion. If not, I think maybe we can see our futures by taking a look at what happened to nations that were slow to hop onto the car and plane paradigm shift in the last century, especially when I learn…
For the first time since American ingenuity birthed the commercial Internet, we do not have a single national wireline provider with plans to deploy a better network. For most Americans, five years from now, the best network available to them will be the same network they have today. As a result, the best networks — along with the innovations they enable — will live in other countries as well.
Although perhaps the key there is “national wireline provider” because I know I”ve heard local providers talk about their plans to move to fiber.