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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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Top 3 Reasons Why Emerging Markets Will Adopt Mobile Broadband

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By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Changing global demographics are going to boost mobile broadband adoption significantly, according to a recent presentation by Wally Swain, senior vice president of the network research group at Yankee Group. Swain not only leads the emerging markets team, he has a front-row seat to emerging markets from his office in Bogotá, Colombia.

In his presentation, entitled “Fixed and Mobile Broadband Compete and Cooperate in Emerging Markets,” Swain revealed some intriguing insights about where mobile broadband is headed: nowhere but up.

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Intelligent Communities Global Blog Series, Taichung Sets the Stage (Perspective from Louis Zacharilla, Co-Founder of the Intelligent Communities Forum)

The Taiwan city of Taichung was in the spotlight twice this year.  Not bad for a place few had heard of in most parts of the Western world – at least until the Academy Awards broadcast in February.  During that event, Asian-born director Ang Lee, after being named the recipient of four Oscars for his film Life of Pi, thanked Taichung in his acceptance speech for its technical prowess.  Those bragging rights were celebrated.  Four months later the city had something else to claim.  In June, the city’s Secretary-General (the equivalent of City Manager in the United States), Ms Ching-Chih Liao, stood on the stage at Steiner Film Studios in New York to accept the Intelligent Community of the Year award on behalf of Taichung’s 2.7 million citizens and its charismatic mayor, Jason Hu. An international jury and a research company had ranked this city higher (by a few hundredths of a point) than the six other communities that had been invited to New York for their impressive achievement as innovative, job-creating places which used technology to enable growth.

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Madame Liao noted the hard work that her community has done to balance its rural and urban economies, and the role that both broadband and the cloud play to support an infrastructure upon which innovation and technology companies thrive and add value in a place once known as “The Mechanical Kingdom.”

To understand why Taichung went so far in the awards program, it is important to understand that it first grasped the basic importance of the layer of physical infrastructure (telecommunications) and how it would next lead to its ability to exceed at ICF’s other five criteria, including innovation and a knowledge workforce poised to grow its middle-class.

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Intelligent Communities Global Blog Series, Does Innovation Destroy Jobs?

The Intelligent Community Forum just completed its annual summit, which celebrates the Top 7 most intelligent communities in the world.   These are the global leaders who have already made investments in broadband and in community building — and who are now looking to see how they can build on those advantages.

This year’s theme was innovation and employment, so I was asked to give the keynote presentation on the question of whether innovation destroys jobs and how sub-national governments should respond.

This is a summary.  The video of the presentation will be available in a couple of weeks.  [Note: there was a foreshadowing of this presentation in my earlier blog post “Are Jobs Disappearing?“]

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Helping Caribbean Entrepreneurs Get Down to Business

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By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

There’s plenty to love about Jamaica: the weather, the food, the music, the gorgeous beaches and mountains. But there’s one area where, according to one study at least, Jamaica is lagging behind: information technology.

This shouldn’t necessarily surprise. While some Latin American countries, especially Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, are seeing significant economic and IT growth, investment in the Caribbean is growing much more slowly.

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