December 2010: The Year in Broadband


Ghosts of Broadband Past, Present & Future    

Greetings – I hope your Holiday Season is going well.

As we bring 2010 to a close and usher in 2011, we look back to what a significant year 2010 was for our industry.  This past year the United States and Australia both recognized broadband needs to be a cornerstone to their economic future, as they invested heavily in proposed projects. Next year, the rubber will meet the road as strategies to best implement projects will be critical for global competitiveness in the foreseeable future.

SNG is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to partner with regions as they travel along the Broadband Lifecycle. Just recently, our work with North Carolina revealed just how significant broadband is in driving opportunities and job growth. We look forward to partnering with more States and regions across the globe in 2011 to help ensure they get the most from their broadband investment.  One of the ways we do this is by mapping demand and helping to drive e-solution utilization.

In 2010 we introduced the Digital Economy Index to reveal a broadband score and opportunities to drive efficiencies through e-solution use. Beyond the DEi’s abililty to measure individual organizations, DEi can also be used in any industry, sectoral, or geographic region.  As our services continue to grow in 2011, look for an announcement early in the year for our business intelligence database of projects from across the globe – Digital Impact Intelligence to show how your project stacks up… and where opportunities lie for greater economic and social impact.

This year also marked a new, updated website for SNG (The Broadband Economists) along with a blog and monthly newsletter.  The feedback we’ve received has been extremely positive and we thank you for subscribing to Bandwidth. We publish monthly to help you keep up with issues and best practices so that your project – no matter where it is on the Broadband Lifecycle – will experience success.  What is success? Well it starts with utilization of broadband and e-solutions – driving significant (and measurable) economic and social impacts.

So we wish you all the best in 2011 – and want to remind you that we are here to help ensure success along the Broadband Lifecycle. May you have a Happy and Prosperous New Year. 

In Case You Missed it…   

A few articles from 2010 we want to make sure you have seen. 

What Exactly Are We Stimulating?  

…broadband is the platform for innovation, competiveness and progress in the 21st century. Without this as a foundation, modern societies cannot compete in terms of economic opportunities – or quality of life.  Investing in broadband is a great thing – it creates jobs and opportunities… But beyond our “gut feeling” and pointing to other areas of the world where broadband has meant the difference between stagnation and prosperity – how do we really know how effective stimulus is… and will be?

A Fresh Look at the Digital Divide 

A lot of funding is being invested in broadband infrastructure, which will bring high speed connectivity to many communities and regions around the world who previously did not have high speed access. As the number of communities without access to broadband declines, there will be room, both politically and financially, for other priorities. Within the context of the digital divide, what priorities need to be articulated and placed on the political and policy map?

For example, as planning and mapping efforts unfold across the United States, including our own SNG projects in North Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, and Kentucky, more and more evidence is emerging of a shifting picture that is more complex than just “un-served” “under-served” and “served” as defined in the United States by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. These relatively broad categories have played their role, but need to evolve if they are going to be useful for future planning efforts based on evidence that we have recently collected.

Australia’s NBN Poised to Transform Down Under    

It took several weeks to sort out, but Australia’s hung parliament emerged with the Labor party still in power – and the National Broadband Network (NBN) very much alive and well.  As a refresher, the proposed plan by the Labor party for a $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) will provide 100 megabits per second broadband access to approximately 93 percent of the Australian premises.  Currently around 62 percent of households have broadband now and – for the most part – it is slow and expensive. In conjunction, the plan calls for a boost in broadband investment for businesses with hopes that it will directly support economic growth during the rollout?

How to Invest Wisely: 4 Key Guidelines       

Now that you have funding, how can you make sure that your project lives up to the promise that got it funded in the first place? Hundreds of broadband projects are being funded in 2010 – be it from Stimulus or some other funding source – but how many will truly become a community asset that drives economic and social benefits?

Key to making sure your project will have a return on investment with quantifiable outcomes starts with these four guidelines:

  1. Don’t focus on Engineering; it is all about awareness and utilization;
  2. Use data to drive decisions before, during, and after the project;
  3. Create a “platform for innovation”: investing in broadband is NOT just about the financials;
  4. Frame the benefits, measure them, and promote.


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