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How Broadband Reduces Small Business Expenses

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

When it comes to proving the benefits of broadband deployment, we frequently focus on the macroeconomic issues – the big-picture impact of infrastructure and access to high-speed networking. But the Internet Innovation Alliance and the Small Business Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC) recently looked at broadband from a microeconomic standpoint.

In their report, Start-Up Savings: Boosting Entrepreneurship through Broadband Internet, jointly issued last month, they calculated how much small businesses can save by conducting their administrative activities online. The answer: a  substantial $16,550.52.

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Recognizing Communities Around the World: Part 2

Last week I spoke with Louis Zacharilla and Robert Bell co-founders of the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).  They were both very busy getting ready to announce the Intelligent Community of the Year at the Building the Broadband Economy summit in New York City June 6-8.

Each year, ICF presents an awards program for Intelligent Communities and the public-sector and private-sector partners who contribute to them.   

This year the 2012 Revolutionary keynote theme will be Intelligent Communities: Platforms for Innovation.  Innovation is one of ICF’s five Indicators, but the special theme will focus on how Intelligent Communities create uniquely powerful innovation ecosystems on a foundation of information and communications technology.   Innovation in Intelligent Communities brings together business, government and institutions in a dynamic partnership that produces results ranging from better and cheaper service delivery to citizens to the birth and growth of entrepreneurial businesses and vital new institutions.

There is a nice synergy between the Cisco Smart+Connected Communities and the Intelligent Communities recognized by ICF. 

This year’s ICF finalists include: 

  • Austin, Texas, United States
  • Oulu, Finland
  • Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  • Riverside, California, United States
  • Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Straford, Ontario, Canada
  • Taichung City, Taiwan




 Do you know any communities that deserve to be recognized?

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Getting to the UN Broadband Commission’s 2015 Goals

Earlier this week, I attended the UN’s Broadband Commission meeting in Ohrid, Macedonia, where we discussed initiatives to reach the Commission’s goals by 2015:

1) All countries have national broadband plans;

2) Broadband is affordable in developing countries so that entry-level broadband services cost less than 5% of average month income;

3) Broadband is adopted by 40% of households in developing countries; and that

4) Broadband penetration reaches 60% of the worldwide population and 50% in developing countries

To support this vision of an ever expanding Internet that people see as essential, Cisco sponsored the 83rd Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting last week in Paris. At the IETF, more than 1,400 of the leading Internet engineers and technologists from around the world gathered to further develop the standards which provide the foundation for Internet services such as domain names, email, the Web, and instant messaging.

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Broadband ROI: Calculating the Payback in Sweden

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

When most of us were in school, our teachers instructed us to “show our work.” It wasn’t enough that we came to a conclusion; we had to demonstrate how we had arrived at that conclusion.

That’s why this October 2011 report on the socioeconomic effect of fiber to the home (FTTH), sponsored by the Swedish government’s broadband council, Bredbandsforum, is so interesting: the authors, Marco Forzati and Crister Mattsson, show exactly how they arrived at their numbers — achieving a positive payback of 1.5:1 in five years.

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Broadband Down Under: Isolation Breeds Innovation

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

One of the plum assignments of my journalism career was co-authoring a report for CIO about IT in Australia. Ten days in Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne (with a weekend jaunt to Tasmania) brought out one key aspect of the Australian attitude toward technology: being isolated from most of the world, they have to be twice as creative.

At that time, in the late 90s, Australia had already deregulated its telecommunications industry (just a year after the U.S.) and developed a state-of-the-art $3 billion national fiber-optic network.

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