I have always loved trains. Never knew why, but I think I just discovered the reason. They’re part of the industry I work in – or at least played a founding role here in the United States. And, they gave us much of the terminology that infuses our telecom vocabulary: switches routers, hubs, trunks, lines, etc.
But one railroad in particular played a fundamental role in the development of the industry and, more importantly, in the development of a truly competitive U.S. telecommunications industry.
Telecommunications infrastructure is so pervasive that we sometimes don’t even see it — one of those blind spots that fade from consciousness due to overexposure. Cables run from pole-to-pole; cell towers spring up; utility boxes on sidewalks, sometimes painted to match the wooden fence behind them — hidden within plain sight.
I’ve been working on a future-oriented economic growth program with the US Conference of Mayors and we have identified Chattanooga as a location to demonstrate some of these ideas because it has, by far, the largest and fastest deployment of fiber in any metro area in the US — enabling every home and other building to have a gigabit connection.