The need for the broadband stimulus package January 20, 2009Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, Carriers, Japan Wireless Market, Mobile Applications, Mobile Ecosystem, US Wireless Market, Unified Messaging, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , trackback
As we get ready to witness history today with Obama’s inauguration, Vern and I wrote a piece on the need for renewed emphasis on broadband to revitalize the economy. Our 2c to forward the discussion.
The need for the broadband stimulus package
- Vern Fotheringham and Chetan Sharma
Broadband Communications IF Properly Conceived, Incentivized and Deployed Can Lead to the Revitalization of the American Economy and Our Global Competitiveness
There is an urgent need to upgrade the telecommunications infrastructure in the United States, if the new administration intends to restart the engine of commerce that has empowered our nation to prosper for so long. Over the past few decades, we have slipped onto a slippery slope of public policies that have confused the pseudo value of trading financial instruments with the actual creation of new wealth that refreshes and expands the foundation of our economy. Our attention shifted from incentivizing those who actually create wealth, to rewarding those who simply trade existing assets.
Regardless of how many times asset backed securities, or for that matter obsolete telecom infrastructure, can be repackaged, and creatively revalued into an ever-increasing spiral of pseudo financial gains, the value of the underlying assets are finite, and often eroding in value. It is essential to the restoration of the American dream, that the new administration immediately address ways to restore the core drivers of the US economy, which have been eroded to a point of imminent disaster. Our leaders have failed to protect our nation’s engine of innovation through a cascade of policies that have literally strangled the “goose that lays the golden eggs.”
Key initiatives such as Education, Healthcare, and Emergency Response all require affordable broadband availability to modernize archaic systems and processes. Our kids shouldn’t be penalized in comparison to children in other countries who are benefiting from real-time access to education and information 24×7. With global access to the best minds and teachers becoming available via the Internet, the expense and inefficiencies of traditional educational institutions are soon in for a major challenge from the virtual realms of the broadband Internet versus the physical benefits available to students’ physical attendance in a campus setting.
As far as healthcare is concerned, broadband availability becomes ever more important in the global society in which the end-points of any solution can be anywhere. In an interconnected world, for example, healthcare delivery will be much more decentralized and distributed. Our senior citizens should not have to haul themselves up to the hospital every time they have a question or concern.
The ability for emergency service providers of all types will benefit from the seamless interconnection of their wireless broadband networks. Our first responders should have as much information about the crisis they are expected to tackle in real-time. All this requires a high-speed flow of information, access, and intelligence that most of our existing infrastructure is simply incapable of supporting.
Broadband policies and the extension of U.S. international competitiveness is a topic that affects all political camps equally. We challenge our politicians, regulators, financiers, carriers, vendors, and the consuming public to pay very close attention to how we balance the public policy issues and the sometimes-painful business impacts that are expected. Too heavy a hand in any one dimension of the debates will surely have negative impacts on overall progress. How the pains and the gains are shared and distributed across all boundaries of the industry and its publics will determine our ultimate success, or alternatively, just subject us to a muddled mess that ultimately penalizes everyone, as we lose our competitive advantages as a global leader and innovator.
Will the United States regain its position as a world leader in advanced telecommunications, or will it slowly but surely slip into the role of a tired old economy, past its prime and slipping into its declining years? The potential to do damage is real, and the potential for the United States to lose its position as a world leader is also real and imminent.
We will all enjoy the benefits of the broadband future, yet there is much work to be done, with many regulatory and technical battles still to be fought over exactly how to bring these services into being. We will get the future we deserve, on the basis of our courage and wisdom in how we balance massive, highly disruptive change, without destroying much of the value created in the narrowband and wideband eras, which have enormously benefited our society at large, and each of us personally, as we move forward into the broadband era. However, it will only be from the hindsight of the future that our generation of pioneers will be judged for our wisdom, competence, and creativity in solving the numerous financial, regulatory, and technical challenges facing the creation of the universal information society on a truly national scale.
Vern Fotheringham and Chetan Sharma are co-authors of “Wireless Broadband: Conflict and Convergence” (IEEE Press/John Wiley, Nov 2008)