Broadband Powering State & Local Governments – Greencastle, Indiana

12/17/2010 by Aaron Rossi

NextGenWeb is continuing its spotlight on how broadband is powering state and local governments. We were able to catch up with Sue Murray, the mayor of Greencastle, Indiana, for a phone interview to get a better understanding of how she is utilizing broadband in her community to create jobs and deliver services more efficiently. Mayor Murray was kind enough to provide us with some slides outlining broadband in her community. Click below to view the slides and listen to the interview.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Broadband in Greencastle, Indiana by Mayor Sue Murray

Expanding Broadband to a Community Near You

06/24/2010 by Graham Richard

The following is a guest posting by Graham Richard, former Mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Graham Richard

States are essential to broadband expansion according to a new Pew Center report. As a way to promote economic growth, states are beginning to view broadband Internet as a means to deliver important and necessary services like education and health care. “By some measures, many states lack capacity-dedicated staff and resources-to develop and implement new broadband policies, negotiate effectively with private-sector providers or resolve thorny infrastructure issues, such as coordinating access across many different jurisdictions for fiber cable or utility pole attachments,” Pew’s report states. Focusing on broadband deployment is nearly impossible when states lack adequate staff, resources and implementation plans.

This is the reason we need more leaders who understand the value of broadband and public private partnerships like the one I facilitated as mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fort Wayne and Verizon teamed up to make the city one of the first in the country to have fiber-optic broadband service (FiOS). This venture generated new business for Fort Wayne and resulted in significant cost-savings for the city. Broadband Internet allowed Indiana clinics to put medical records online giving doctors instant access, enabling them to treat patients more efficiently and effectively. And that’s just one example.

Check out my website for more ideas on how to bring broadband to your area.

Internet Regulation? That Is The Billion Dollar Question

05/21/2010 by NextGenWeb

As one of the leading voices on broadband policy, Larry Downes , a nonresident Fellow with the Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society, makes a serious case against the proposed Internet regulatory scheme being touted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He’s written a number of pieces pointing out the “unintended consequences” of the FCC’s intent to classify broadband as a common carrier service under Title II in the Communications Act. Language, by the way, originally authored in the 1930’s. That doesn’t exude a real futuristic connotation as one might expect to see in 21st Century Internet policy.

Downes, like many, believes a change in policy will undoubtedly slow growth and bring private investment into the broadband Internet economy to a screeching halt. How much private capital has been invested in today’s broadband infrastructure? $500B over the past eight years is how much. So slapping 1930’s Title II regulations on the Internet carries with it real consequences.

Please see below and read more about Larry Downes and his arguments against Internet regulation.

DeMoines Register
May 8, 2010
Guest column: Build broadband infrastructure for everyone
By Larry Downes
April 19, 2010 12:39 PM PDT
Reality check on ‘reclassifying’ broadband
By Larry Downes

The Orange County Register
Updated: March 18, 2010 3:04 p.m.
Larry Downes: Don’t regulate broadband Internet
By Larry Downes

The Hill
March 15, 2010 03:32 PM ET
Net neutrality would end innovation, not preserve it
By Larry Downes
March 11, 2010 10:00 AM PST
What’s in a title? For broadband, it’s Oz vs. Kansas
By Larry Downes

The Laws of Disruption: Harnessing the New Forces that Govern Life and Business in the Digital Age
By Larry Downes

Small Business & Broadband Big Players in the U.S. Economy

05/13/2010 by NextGenWeb

Yesterday the House Small Business Committee held a hearing that examined the impact broadband is having on American small businesses. You don’t have to look far to find an economist that says both small business and broadband are crucial to the growth of the American economy. Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) said that the number of jobs dependent on broadband are expected to grow by 25% over the next 10 years.

Long-time NextGenWeb contributor and small business owner Tom McDonald, CEO of BeSafe Technologies, was one of the panelists called to testify. McDonald told members that the broadband expansion America has witnessed over the past several years has been instrumental to the growth of his and other small businesses throughout the country. While he said it is tough out there on Main Street right now, that he is optimistic that the broadband explosion will continue in the years ahead. A caveat he added was that “certainty of the rules of the game” are critical and that he is worried about the uncertainty that could be created around the Title II issue unfolding at the FCC (more on that in our interview below). Ranking Member and Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), cautioned that regulatory schemes which discourage investment in broadband infrastructure are not only harmful to small business, but also consumers.

Evan Burfield, (@eburfield) President and CEO of the Synteractive Corporation said in his testimony, “I know Congress and policy makers are paying close attention to ‘Net Neutrality,’ and the Members of this Committee are more attuned to the ongoing policy debate than I am. But as an entrepreneur, I would encourage policy makers to steer clear of foreclosing new business opportunities for small business, including our ability to partner with carriers.”

Concluding the Q&A portion of the hearing McDonald urged members to make sure that “today’s solution is not tomorrow’s problem” when it comes to facilitating continued growth in the broadband marketplace. He told committee members that the growth of broadband penetration is an American success story, and that while there is more work to do we shouldn’t invoke policies that could stifle the growth we’re already seeing.

Be sure to check our interview with BeSafe CEO Tom McDonald below outside the U.S. Capitol.

Broadband En Accion

04/16/2010 by NextGenWeb

On Thursday, April 15, NextGenWeb attended a reception at AT&T’s Innovation Center hosted by the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. The reception kicked off the first meeting of the Broadband en Accion Task Force. During the reception, NGW caught up with State Senator (IL) and President of NHCSL Iris Martinez to discuss the impact of broadband on the Hispanic community. Click below to watch the interview.

Minorities Leading the Broadband Revolution in Los Angeles

04/14/2010 by NextGenWeb

On Tuesday, April 12, the Mabuhay Alliance hosted a summit in Los Angeles titled, “Minorities Leading the Broadband Revolution.” Discussions focused on how minority communities are harnessing the power of broadband and how broadband can impact those communities. The panel featured Nancy Ryan of the California Public Utilities Commission, Elva Lima, Vice President of Strategic Programs at Verizon, Chris Boyer, Assistant Vice President of Public Policy at AT&T, and Inez Gonzalez, Executive Vice President of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

Two key themes presented themselves during the panel discussion – investment and digital literacy. Elva Lima talked about how private investment in broadband infrastructure is helping minority communities by giving them affordable access to broadband. She also stressed the importance of partnerships between broadband providers and local organizations to ensure that the community understands the value of broadband. This is especially significant in that recent studies show “relevance” as a primary barrier to adoption.

When asked what the power of broadband meant to him, Chris Boyer stated that he sees broadband in three basic terms. First, broadband is an enabler. Broadband allows for online applications that benefit almost every industry, including healthcare, the environment, public safety, education, and the economy. Second, broadband is a necessary tool that changes the way we go about our daily business. And third, broadband means investment. In California alone, AT&T invested over $7 billion in broadband infrastructure between 2007-2009. This level of investment not only means more people with access to broadband, but also job creation and growth. See more below in our interview following the event with Boyer.

Inez Gonzalez focused on the transformative power of broadband for minority communities, including giving them access to more jobs and financial aid. While Gonzalez cites price as another barrier to adoption, as we mentioned earlier price rarely makes it to the top of the page on the reasons why the non-adopters choose not to sign-up for high-speed Internet service. One of those reasons, digital literacy, is something Gonzalez elaborates on in our interview below, to include the importance of everyone in the community playing a role in helping people understand the life-enhancing benefits of broadband.

Stay tuned for future coverage of the Mabuhay Alliance Summits. The next one will take place in Chicago, IL on May 22, 2010.

NaCo Technology Summit Part 1

03/07/2010 by NextGenWeb

On Saturday, March 6 NextGenWeb live streamed the NaCo Technology Summit. Click below to watch archived footage of the summit.

NaCo Technology Summit Part 2

03/07/2010 by NextGenWeb

On Saturday, March 6 NextGenWeb live streamed the NaCo Technology Summit. Click below to watch archived footage of the summit.

Broadband is Fundamental to a Green Economy

03/05/2010 by NextGenWeb

Broadband can be a key player in driving the United States towards a new “Green Economy.” That was the message delivered by four organizations on Capitol Hill this week. The Progressive States Network, in collaboration with the Blue Green Alliance, the Sierra Club and Communications Workers of America, unveiled a new report titled, “Networking the Green Economy: How Broadband and Related Technologies Can Build a Green Economic Future.

Nathan Newman, Executive Director of the Progressive States Network, said that broadband can reduce energy in various ways, including smart meters in homes and businesses, telehealth, teleconference and telecommuting, and e-commerce. Newman also stressed the immense cost savings that broadband would bring in these same sectors. See NGW’s interview with Newman below.

Annie Hill, Executive Vice President for the Communications Workers of America, carried a jobs message and said that increased broadband deployment brings with it immense opportunity for gainful employment. “Investment in the green economy is the job creator of the 21st century, and broadband is part of that investment,” Hill said.

Allison Chin, President of the Sierra Club, discussed broadband and smart meters. Chin stressed the importance of ubiquitous broadband so that all consumers can track their energy usage, and in turn be more energy efficient. Check out NGW’s interview with the Sierra Club President below.

As the event drew to a close, Congressman Ed Markey, Chairman of the US House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, congratulated the organizations for their work on the report. He stressed the importance of the transition to a new green economy, and the fundamental role broadband will play in that transition.

Chicagoans Talk Broadband & Small Business with FCC

12/22/2009 by Shana Glickfield

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and his team gathered at the University of Chicago yesterday afternoon for a field hearing on broadband and small businesses.  Genachowski kicked off the event by sharing the three reasons that he believes broadband is the key to opportunity in the 21st century:

1)   Broadband is vital for economic growth, job creation and small business startups.

2)   Broadband is an essential platform for driving success with other opportunities like health care and energy.

3)   Broadband will be our platform for civic engagement and improved government services.

Not surprising with his background as an entrepreneur, the Chairman believes that small businesses are the engine of our economy.  “Broadband enables small businesses to reach new customers and new audiences, five miles away or 500 miles away.”  Just a few of the benefits of broadband that he mentioned, which many of the panelists echoed, include reducing costs, increasing profits and creating new jobs.

Panelists shared their diverse experiences and what they hope to see in the National Broadband Plan.  Representatives from government, tech startups, nonprofits, law offices and more, all discussed how they rely on broadband to do business.  Many would like to keep up with technology and told the FCC that they need strong broadband networks that will accommodate large files, video transmissions and a booming mobile market—all of which makes a strong case for ensuring any policy changes continue to support vigorous investment in broadband networks.

Broadband has created unprecedented opportunities for small business across our nation.  Here’s hoping the National Broadband Plan supports and continues this progress that is creating jobs across our nation. Hear are some recent postings on NextGenWeb that relate to broadband and small businesses that we hope the FCC will consider in light of today’s discussion:

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