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After Broadband, Then What? The Real Work Begins

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

I find myself writing more often about the challenges of getting broadband installed – financing it, building consensus, partnering with the private sector. The goal, as has been written many times, is create a foundation for economic growth.

But even after broadband is installed, economic growth doesn’t just happen automatically. It has to be nurtured. That’s the challenge that cities, regions, and countries have to be aware of. The work doesn’t stop once broadband transmissions start.

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Crowdsourcing Fiber Networks: Community Validated Investment in Action

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Fact: laying fiber communications infrastructure is expensive. Fantasy: the ability to know ahead of time how many property owners in a given neighborhood would pay for a new fiber infrastructure by subscribing to services or even – and here’s a real fantasy – paying more to get the fiber laid initially.

Except it’s not a fantasy. If you’re a telecom carrier, a cable company, a municipality, even a group of community activists, Greg Richardson is here to offer a compelling approach to capital investment in new infrastructure. And he’s done it with an idea that’s almost embarrassingly simple.

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If Broadband has a Sputnik Moment, What Will it Look Like?

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Those of us who cover broadband frequently bemoan its two steps forward, one step back progress, and the idealists among us yearn for a “Sputnik” moment that will galvanize regulators and carriers alike to leap forward into the future. Will broadband have such a moment, and if so, what will it look like?

Sputnik, of course, was the satellite the Soviet Union launched into orbit in early October of 1957. According to NASA, it was about the size of a beach ball and travelled at five miles per second 359 miles above the surface of the earth. It was a technological marvel that proved to be quite embarrassing to the United States, which at the time thought it was the leader of technological marvels.

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How Culture Affects Connectivity

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

As I wander through the world of broadband, I frequently worry that for every step forward, we take one step back. As I’ve written about previously, we seem to be at an inflection point where we see the potential value of broadband, but putting it into reality seems to be more ephemeral.

Especially here in the U.S., we seem to be “talking the talk” more than we’re “walking the walk.” The confluence of certain events recently has underscored my ongoing concern even more recently.

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Charting Broadband and Economic Growth in Brazil

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By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

With the news headlines lately about Brazil, it’s easy for those of us outside the region to get caught up in the image of a country going through a difficult, turbulent period. But it’s important to consider that what’s happening now in Brazil is ultimately a sign of positive change: an expanding middle class with higher expectations about the rewards they should reap from the country’s growing economy.

And in fact, that story—the tremendous economic growth happening in Brazil—is one of the more amazing pieces of good news from around the globe.

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