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A Plea for Investment, Not Spending

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

As economic confusion roils the world, it’s disconcerting that no one seems to know which path to take to solve the problem.

Governments in economic turmoil, such as those in Greece and Italy, consider austerity. Other governments, such as the United States, consider even more spending.

I would argue for a different mindset, one that favors the concept of investing instead of spending. Certainly government must address present concerns, but it’s even more important that it lays the foundation to help its citizens prepare for and thrive in the future. (Would World War II have lasted as long, if the United States had been less isolationist during the preceding years?)

Rather than budgeting money for jobs, I’d prefer to see government budget money for infrastructure that will establish a foundation for the ongoing creation of new jobs.

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Made in the USA, again

October 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm PST

Finally, some good news. Amidst the standard fare of predictions of the inevitable decline and fall of US manufacturing, an interesting and encouraging 2011 report has been authored by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) called “Made in America, Again.”

According to the report, “Manufacturing is expected to return to America as China’s rising labor costs erase most savings from offshoring.” As US states become cheaper locations to manufacture goods compared to other developed countries, the report suggests that by 2015 manufacturing in some parts of the US will be just as economical as manufacturing in China.

The key reasons listed are: Read More »

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Cloud-Based Services Infrastructure Transforms Busan Metropolitan City

The need for cities to balance social, economic, and environmental resources is becoming increasingly critical. Cities, however, now have an opportunity to use the network as the platform for visualizing and modeling urban infrastructure to provide innovative urban services and manage urban sustainability. Using the network as the fourth utility (in addition to electricity, water, and natural gas), cities can integrate multiple systems to deliver on-demand services over an Internet-enabled cloud infrastructure supported by open innovation.

Busan Metropolitan City is one example of a city poised for Smart City development. Busan is South Korea’s second-largest metropolis and home to the fifth-largest port in the world. It also boasts an established 10GB broadband infrastructure, Busan Information Highway. As the city continues to grow, it faces the same environmental, economic, and social issues as other metropolitan areas. Because of this, the Busan government is investing in expanding the existing broadband infrastructure to improve urban services and service quality. Read More »

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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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