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How Broadband Boosts Individual Productivity

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

We’ve shared our perspective about how broadband boosts the potential productivity of continents, countries, and municipalities. But never about how broadband boosts the productivity of individuals. Nor, who gets the most benefit out of broadband — the employee or the employer? As traditional vacation time begins in the northern hemisphere, let’s explore the upside potential.

The most recent Cisco Connected World Technology report, released last year, included two interesting findings. First, despite the downturn in the economy, employees value flexibility of work location more than salary. Second, the borders between professional and private time continue to blur, thanks to mobile connectivity to the internet.

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Intelligent Communities: a Smart Choice?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

We talk a lot about how broadband could boost a nation’s economic competitiveness, but it’s equally true that broadband can raise the future prospects of cities and towns as well.

The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a New York City-based group “dedicated to economic growth in the broadband community for communities large and small,” has been designating seven “intelligent communities of the year” since 2002. Winners since that year have been on every settled continent except Africa, and include names you might expect (Seoul, South Korea) and names you wouldn’t (Tallinn, Estonia).

Earlier in June, it named this year’s award winners. On the list were two previous winners — Eindhoven and Issy-les-Moulineux, France — and some surprises, including Chattanooga, Tennessee and Dublin, Ohio.

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Fixed Wireless Broadband: How and When

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Howard’s recent post on the potential for broadband to reshape rural areas raised some interesting issues, and generated a lot of discussion. For me though, the biggest question it raised was how service providers will actually make it work. How can they deliver broadband services to vast, sparsely populated regions in a way that makes sense economically?

Of course, the industry is already answering this question. One promising possibility: fixed wireless broadband.

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Broadband Pricing: Where it is Falling

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Two reports issued by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in the past few months reveal that concerted efforts of both governments and service providers are combining to make broadband more accessible and affordable, at least for developing countries.

Let’s look at the most recent report first.

According to the 2010 ICT Price Basket report, broadband costs around the world have dropped approximately 52 percent between 2008 and 2010 — compared to a 22 percent drop in prices for mobile cellular services.

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Creating a Digital Business Ecosystem

Most informed people tend to agree, broadband services can be applied as an enabler of socioeconomic advancement. However, while high-speed internet access is an important ingredient for gaining entry into the global networked economy, its application is most effective when used as part of a concerted effort to empower the members of a local community.

Howard’s recent story about the role of broadband in rural development attracted some interesting commentary — both on the blog post and within the LinkedIn groups where I shared a summary. Most of the comments were about infrastructure investment, but some of the other insights reminded me of the observations that I made during my recent trip to London, England.

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