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The inflated price tag for broadband

October 15, 2009 - 0 Comments

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been tasked with creating a national broadband policy for the US that would bring high-bandwidth broadband access to all Americans. In their first report, the FCC placed the price tag at a staggering $350 billion. Granted, that is the cost of a super-fast 100mbps broadband network which more than accommodates current bandwidth-hogging applications and activities, but even a slower 3mbps network was priced at $20 billion.

Although many Americans who live in rural and under-served suburban areas would agree that this price is reasonable, it has the potential to cause fear and resentment in some tax payers; even though the private sector is expected to foot a large part of the bill.

At TANDBERG, we feel that broadband is something that no American should have to live without. We support the expansion of broadband infrastructure across the country, but we don’t feel that the price tag is as accurate as it can be.

Why? Much like the more expensive washing machine that cuts back on water usage, or the pricey double-paned windows that cut heating expenses, broadband infrastructure’s initial steep investment is going to lead to significant savings over time.

A great example of this savings is TANDBERG’s video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions. Broadband enables VTC and other advanced communication technologies, and VTC use can lead to significant cost savings.

By enabling and embracing broadband and VTC, the government will be making significant strides in the proliferation of teleworkers. Teleworkers save considerable tax payer dollars, and reduce operating expenses for the businesses and government agencies they work for.

Teleworkers using VTC have less need to commute since they’re able to communicate face-to-face from anywhere. This reduces the need for pricey transportation projects and infrastructure paid for with tax-payer dollars. Teleworkers also cost their employers less money since they use less resources, are more content, productive and have better work-life balances.

The use of VTC in education and healthcare environments can also save significant amounts of money. We’ve detailed these uses and how they can be more efficient and effective than traditional healthcare and educational practices in previous blog posts, and the potential for cost savings from these implementations is downright astounding.

When reading the FCC’s report on the estimated price tag of a national broadband policy, don’t let sticker shock jade you into thinking that the return on the investment can’t possibly justify the costs. The TRUE cost of broadband is much lower when the ultimate cost savings is taken into account.

When it comes to broadband in America, the need is great, and the return will more than justify the expense.

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