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Can Broadband Access Fuel Job Creation?

The message from leaders across rural America is clear — they want broadband access to the internet, and they’re hoping that by raising the awareness of their common cause they’ll see some near-term progress towards that goal (helping to fuel new job creation).

Howard’s prior editorial entitled “Can Broadband Reshape Rural Development” seemed to trigger some spirited commentary. But that’s not surprising, when you consider how well organized and vocal the rural stakeholder groups have been in the past.

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How Broadband Boosts Individual Productivity

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

We’ve shared our perspective about how broadband boosts the potential productivity of continents, countries, and municipalities. But never about how broadband boosts the productivity of individuals. Nor, who gets the most benefit out of broadband — the employee or the employer? As traditional vacation time begins in the northern hemisphere, let’s explore the upside potential.

The most recent Cisco Connected World Technology report, released last year, included two interesting findings. First, despite the downturn in the economy, employees value flexibility of work location more than salary. Second, the borders between professional and private time continue to blur, thanks to mobile connectivity to the internet.

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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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Can Broadband Reshape Rural Development?

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

If you are a student of history and commerce, you recognize a clear pattern to the development of cities. In the beginning, most of them were founded on rivers — think Paris and the Seine, London and the Thames, New York and the Hudson.

Then railroads took over from rivers as a catalyst for development. In the United States, Chicago and Denver owe their existence to the proximity of tracks, rather than proximity to water. Thus began the transition from natural to industrial.

Today we are in the middle of the transition from the industrial to the digital, based on the rapid deployment of broadband technology. What will be the first major city based on digital technology? Is it Silicon Valley, in California? Is it Bombay? Is it Shanghai?

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Broadband Enables Radical New Efficiencies

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

How many problems can broadband Internet access solve?

U.S. television news commentator Tom Brokaw, a native of South Dakota, wrote a compelling essay in the New York Times several years ago, asking why his home state and North Dakota, with a population of 1.5 million, maintained some 17 institutes of higher education. He noted that it was “a carry-over from the early 20th century when travel was more difficult and farm families wanted their children close by during harvest season.”

He posed a very rational question: “Couldn’t the two states get a bigger bang for their higher education buck if they consolidated their smaller institutions into, say, the Dakota Territory College System, with satellite campuses but a common administration and shared standards?”

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