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A Plea for Investment, Not Spending

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

As economic confusion roils the world, it’s disconcerting that no one seems to know which path to take to solve the problem.

Governments in economic turmoil, such as those in Greece and Italy, consider austerity. Other governments, such as the United States, consider even more spending.

I would argue for a different mindset, one that favors the concept of investing instead of spending. Certainly government must address present concerns, but it’s even more important that it lays the foundation to help its citizens prepare for and thrive in the future. (Would World War II have lasted as long, if the United States had been less isolationist during the preceding years?)

Rather than budgeting money for jobs, I’d prefer to see government budget money for infrastructure that will establish a foundation for the ongoing creation of new jobs.

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Next-Generation Networks for Socioeconomic Development

If you have been following the market research summaries and news that I curate for my Broadband Nation Update list, then you will have noticed a common theme in the commentary – the global movement to deploy Next-Generation Networks has accelerated in recent months.

Perhaps the narrative crescendo will peak next week at the ITU Telecom World 2011 event in Geneva, Switzerland. The focal point for the conference is to Connect the World. One of the features of this year’s event is the “National Pavilion” showcase.

Why would a country promote their region’s talent, technology and innovation at the show? It’s intended to help attract international investment, and thereby build upon a local digital economy ecosystem as a foundation to create new jobs.

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Global Broadband: Success through Collaboration

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Late in September, the International Telecommunications Union, the United Nations agency responsible for information and communication technologies (ICT), wrapped up its 11th Global Symposium for Regulators in Armenia City, Colombia. The meeting is a periodic forum designed to help national regulatory authorities exchange information about deploying broadband technology within their own countries and internationally.

The topics discussed among the more than 500 participants went beyond broadband services, however, touching upon other regulatory issues such as mobile payments and e-waste. Many of the presenters’ conclusions correlate to the conclusions reached in other Connected Life Exchange posts — that is, that for international broadband deployment to succeed, there needs to be a concerted effort on multiple fronts, including governments, service providers, vendors, and local business leaders.

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Digital Britain: Embracing Open Innovation

Since my first involvement with the ever growing East London Tech City, I’ve noticed that the social interaction is creating an electric atmosphere in Shoreditch. The lively restaurant and bar scene is also fuelling a vibrant business networking environment.  Tech-centric events are happening around the area — including the Silicon Roundabout Meet Up, the Mini Bar Meet and the Silicon-Drink-About.

One of the Co-Working spaces that have been a haven for me is the TechHub facility.  I have participated in a number of events, including their Tech Tuesdays and their 1st Birthday party – both of which orientated around beer, pizza and tech dialogue. I know what you’re thinking; we British really do enjoy a good pint.

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The Extraordinary Communications Satellite

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

Science, science fiction…which is it?

In October 1945, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke published a paper in Wireless World entitled, “Extra-Terrestrial-Relays: Can Rocket Stations Give World-Wide Radio Coverage?” In his paper, Clarke proposed the concept of a platform orbiting above the Earth that would serve as a relay facility for radio signals sent to it that could then be retransmitted back to Earth with far greater coverage (‘footprint’) than was achievable through the terrestrial transmission techniques of the time. He describes his platform in the article:

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