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The Telecom Inventor Island Mystery

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

What a wonderful thing maps are. As a child I would pore over them, sometimes for hours, looking for the silliest names, the most intriguing locations, the most exciting geographies. I was particularly taken by maps of the Canadian Shield, a place so vast and forbidding that even today large swaths of it remain unexplored.

This is the home of the world’s largest remaining arboreal forest — it is huge. I also like the fact that on the maps of northern Canada, even today, roads meander northward from the reasonably populated cities near the US border, and then, inextricably, end. As a kid I longed to go there, to see what lay beyond the end of the road. I still do.

I still take aimless ambles through maps today when I have time. The nature of my work is such that I have had the pleasure of driving to the end of some of those roads, and in some cases, creating roads of my own. I have visited places with exotic names like Timboctou (we call it Timbuktu), Ouagadougou, and Zanzibar. The joy of map-gazing, however, still burns hot for me.

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How Leading Nations Reach ICT Supremacy

What separates the technology-advanced nations from all others, and how is that supremacy being applied most effectively for social and economic advantage? This is a question that I’ve asked myself repeatedly over the last decade.

Clearly, I’m not alone in my quest for insights that help our understanding of why some nations have excelled at enacting meaningful Information and Communication Technology (ICT) market development.

What I’ve learned to date: the nations that were able to make a quantum leap in progress did so only after they completed a candid assessment of their current status – essentially, a detailed situation analysis that ranked their relative position in the global networked economy.

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Broadband and the Global Networked Economy

Ongoing investment in essential telecommunications infrastructure matters to everyone, whether they know it or not. This fundamental assertion will be a reoccurring theme in my commentary. My belief is deep-rooted, and it goes back to the beginning of my work experience. As a young man, my first job in the telecom industry was at The Commercial Cable Company, a subsidiary of ITT Worldcom in London, England.

Back in the 1970s, I had the opportunity to join what was then a leading international record carrier, that was also an early pioneer of unique data services. I was schooled in the application of electronic teleprinters, private line services and store-and-forward message switching systems. I quickly learned about the socioeconomic benefits gained from deploying telecom facilities, while assigned to support the communication needs of numerous private and public institutions.

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Introducing the Connected Life Exchange

Hello, my name is David. I want to tell you a story. It’s a story about the people who imagined that there might be a way to enable humans to communicate across time and space. It’s about their passion and determination to pursue that dream, to boldly explore all the possibilities.

It’s also about a series of events that led us to the invention of new technologies, to the development of new systems and the ongoing investment in essential network infrastructure that enabled a bounty of telecommunication innovations that would ultimately benefit all humanity.

This story began to unfold more than 150 years ago. Since then, there’s been rapid progress. In fact, people are now accessing many types of multimedia content on a multitude of connected devices. The “connected life” reflects our desire to have many  integrated services and experiences that are available anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

Today we’re launching a new project.

Welcome to the Connected Life Exchange – an evolving narrative about how people connect, communicate, and collaborate.

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