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Stimulating Economic Growth with Broadband

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

One of the toughest aspects of promoting new technology deployment and usage is finding meaningful facts to support its potential value to local business community stakeholders. While there are readily available estimates and forecasts, detailed analysis and actual payback examples are somewhat rare.

That’s especially true with new technologies such as broadband that require the concerted efforts of multiple parties — which can include government agencies, service providers, equipment manufacturers, and end-users — in order to deliver quantifiable results.

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The Most Complex Machine Ever Built

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

If you read my prior story on this topic, and appreciate my love of conversations with cab drivers, then you’ll understand this cryptic note:

hi Steve, how are u, its been long time,

this is cab driver Masud from Vancouver, I drop at the airport, we discus many issue, I hope u remember me.

Any way if u have any thing to shear on new thinks, please don’t hegited.

That message is why I travel, and why I work in this field.

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Digital Britain: Lessons Learned from London Riots

August 18, 2011 at 8:00 am PST

Most people can remember where they were when a high-profile news event happened — such as the 9/11 attacks on the USA.  I mention this because I was standing in a hotel room a couple of weeks ago listening to my wife tell me about the London Riots – from insights she received on her smartphone via Twitter. Reality happens in real-time, so does today’s news reporting.

The internet and mobile communications have enabled this transformation.

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Broadband Impact: The Macroeconomic Benefits

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Last June, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a joint project of the International Telecommunications Union and UNESCO, issued a report about the impact of broadband globally. It contained enlightening estimates — variations of which we’ve discussed frequently — about the value of broadband for business. For instance:

  • Europe: Broadband can create more than two million jobs and an increase in GDP of at least €636 billion by 2015
  • Brazil: Broadband has already added up to 1.4% to the employment growth rate
  • China: Every 10% increase in broadband penetration contributes an additional 2.5% to
  • GDP growth
  • Thailand: Even though only some 3% of households and 12% of individuals had broadband, broadband promotion could add 2.4% to the country’s GDP growth rate.

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A Record Year for Digital Music

In 1982, Roland Swenson, a band manager in Austin, splurged $75 of his band’s budget to travel to New York City to attend a music conference.  Knowing that his band wasn’t happy about the expenditure, he hustled to make sure the trip paid off.  On the first day he successfully tracked down a booking agent and secured a $200 gig.

As Swenson told Texas Music Matters, he figured if this model worked in the Big Apple, it would work in Austin, so in 1987, he co-founded the SXSW Music Festival, which in its inaugural year hosted 172 acts and more than 700 attendees.  For Austin bands, Swenson and his co-founders had created the most efficient way to connect with music fans, agents and distributors — ever.  That is, until the arrival of the Internet.

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