Thursday, December 18, 2008

Telecom Overhaul, Part 2 - Now with Sarah Lacy

Listening to this morning's Forum program on KQED (highly recommended, by the way) the subject was about what constitutes "infrastructure" in the 21st century and how an Obama presidency would align his infrastructure priorities. There was discussion of the traditional pieces of infrastructure, ie. roads and bridges, and then there was plenty of discussion on 21st century infrastructure, ie. telecom. The main question is, how much in the way of financial resources to we devote to this newfangled telecom stuff? As I've argued previously, a lot.

At this time, I will attempt to channel Nick Carr:
  1. the "big switch" to universal electricity brought about new business models that weren't possible previously
  2. a similar phenomenon would accompany a shift to ubiquitous, "always-on" broadband that penetrated every sector of the country.
And switching back to my usual themes:
  1. the original "big switch" required a metric crap load of government investment and resources
  2. so would the 21st century equivalent
  3. lots of companies would form around these new initiatives and grow, generating wealth for a new middle class
Look, it's not complicated - if we want a 21st century economy that allows us to maintain our global technology edge, we need this. Cheap, plentiful broadband in the form of end-to-end fiber optic cable as well as new wimax technologies would allow companies to form as cloud services, as well as companies in traditional markets looking to gain an edge by making use of the new cloud services and service providers. It's a win-win for everyone.

As a footnote, I'll point out that Sarah Lacy was most disappointing when interviewed on Forum. She apparently reduced these initiatives down to working in coffee shops and giving poor kids access to broadband. Not that I mind either of these, of course, but she misses the larger point - this sort of large-scale investment by the federal government would inject a great deal of energy into our present and future economic growth. Our economy right now absolutely relies on a strong IT component, and it only makes sense that future economic growth hinges on our IT investment.

Boo, Sarah - it's the economy, stupid.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi JM- I know this post is ancient, but just found it following a current tweet back to your blog. We (State of California) had a specific strategy for broadband to everyone that was widely acclaimed by Gov, Legis, regulators, industry over *15* years ago -- but usual suspects with parochial interests made sure key parts didn't get implemented...