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Economic Innovation within Established Markets

If you’ve been following my commentary about the role of telecom infrastructure investment in new master plan cities, such as Songdo in South Korea — or Howard’s posts about recent developments in Africa — then you may have assumed that the economic gains are likely being reaped mostly in these type of markets. Actually, the positive impact is applicable to all types of environments, including established markets.

As an example, consider the forward-looking plans for the East London Tech City, in the heart of one of Europe’s largest and most established metropolitan areas. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has set out the government’s ambition to build on the existing cluster of technology companies in East London, to create a world-leading technology center.

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Economic Incentive for Telecom Infrastructure Investment

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama identified government investment in infrastructure as a key antidote to the U.S. economic doldrums. This is not a new concept. During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration spent $7 billion over a three year period to construct buildings, roads, parks, and bridges, bringing short-term jobs and long-term competitive advantage.

Nor is it strictly a U.S. strategy. During the recent downturn, multiple countries have started taking the same tack, but instead of dams and highways, they’re funding telecommunications network infrastructure.

According to a 2009 speech by Taylor Reynolds, an economist with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the numbers are impressive for countries both large and small:

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Honoring Cisco Certified Network Professionals

When we started the “Connected Life Exchange” project I mentioned that we intend to honor all the key stakeholders that help conceive, build and maintain the important communication network assets of service providers.

Today, I will recognize the contributions of Cisco Certified Network Professionals, Experts and Architects. I also offer my encouragement to all the students who have chosen to aspire to attain this respected distinction in our industry.

As I’ve said before, during my career I’ve worked for trailblazing wireline and wireless telecommunication service providers. On numerous occasions I’ve participated in groundbreaking projects that were built on a foundation of Cisco Systems technology and networking products.

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The Telecom Inventor Island Mystery

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

What a wonderful thing maps are. As a child I would pore over them, sometimes for hours, looking for the silliest names, the most intriguing locations, the most exciting geographies. I was particularly taken by maps of the Canadian Shield, a place so vast and forbidding that even today large swaths of it remain unexplored.

This is the home of the world’s largest remaining arboreal forest — it is huge. I also like the fact that on the maps of northern Canada, even today, roads meander northward from the reasonably populated cities near the US border, and then, inextricably, end. As a kid I longed to go there, to see what lay beyond the end of the road. I still do.

I still take aimless ambles through maps today when I have time. The nature of my work is such that I have had the pleasure of driving to the end of some of those roads, and in some cases, creating roads of my own. I have visited places with exotic names like Timboctou (we call it Timbuktu), Ouagadougou, and Zanzibar. The joy of map-gazing, however, still burns hot for me.

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Africa: No Longer the Dark Continent

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

After writing several recent posts on the telecom infrastructure efforts of Connect Africa, I’ve gotten a much better sense of what’s going on there from an ICT standpoint. The conventional wisdom for places like Africa states that it has the potential to achieve telecom parity more quickly than the U.S. and Europe did.

Why? Because it can skip the cost of wireline installations and go straight to wireless. An easier infrastructure, a faster deployment, a more rapid road to the connected life. The question, perhaps, is that optimism unfounded?

You might think so if all you saw was the political news coming out of Africa over the last weeks of 2010: bombings in Johannesburg; a disputed election in Ivory Coast; secession in Sudan; Kenyan politicians named in a drug dealing scandal. Telecom operators are no different than any other business — they’re attracted by stability and repelled by instability.

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