After a hellacious flight, we’re arrived in Dublin – and well I’ll just say that the weather is perfect for catching up with some report reading. One quick note – I’m super happy with my pay-as-you-go mobile broadband provider here. It’s been 5 months, since I last logged in but one quick top-up (online payment), a desperatejog of my memory for my login ID and I’m back online in minutes! Soon we’ll set up something faster for better home access but mobile broadband has its definite advantages!
Back to report reading, today I’m enjoying the OECD’s Network Developments in Support of Innovation and User Needs. Their first line says it all,
“This report makes a case for investment in a competitive, open-access national fibre-to-the-home network rollout based on potential spillovers in four key sectors of the economy: electricity, health, transportation and education.”
In short, they looked at ROI on government spending in broadband based on cost savings realized in those four key sectors. The OECD postulates that,
“On average, a cost savings of between 0.5% and 1.5% in each of the four sectors over ten years resulting directly from the new broadband network platform could justify the cost of building a national point-to-point, fibre-to-the-home network.”
The savings they specifically call out include:
Electricity – creating smart grids with advanced metering options
Healthcare – health monitoring, which reminded me of presenter from Eindhoven about how they noted access to healthcare as a service they were able to provide to citizens who might not have known they wanted/needed broadband access
Transportation – remote data collection and dissemination of traffic trends
Education – better communication between schools and educators for coordination and professional development
The report makes the case that attempts should be made to support private investment – but I think it also touches on the fact that government investment, unlike most private investment, does not need to focus on fairly quick ROI. Governments generally have the luxury of accepting a slower ROI. Also governments can look at cost savings in other areas when calculating ROI.
I think Minnesota’s Scott County is a good example of a county focusing on cost savings. They have been working on a region-wide fiber backbone. Gary Shelton spoke about the network and savings almost a year ago at one of the Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force meetings.