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Why Rural Broadband Access Matters

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Countries blessed and cursed with wide-open spaces continue to wrestle with the question of how to serve rural areas with broadband infrastructure. In Australia, naysayers question the viability of its National Broadband Network.

In the United States, the stimulus package included some $3.5 billion for rural development, but based on progress reports from officials at the Department of Agriculture, the broadband deployment only addressed a small portion of the demand.

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A Vision of Interconnected Knowledge Societies

If you want to motivate people to break free from the current status-quo, then raising the bar of expectations — with a compelling vision, plus some bold goals and objectives — is certainly one approach to consider. The Broadband Commission for Digital Development has issued a challenge to world leaders, their top policymakers and other key stakeholders.

The following is their list of raised expectations:

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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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The Network Week in Review and Look Ahead: October 17-21

It was another busy week here at Cisco! Check out the top news stories of the week.

1.) The Broadband Debate

This new feature addresses the issue of broadband as a basic right. Country by country issues vary, but how can access be achieved? Do you think countries should make broadband access a basic right?

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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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