I wrote an earlier post on the limited role government should play in regulating the Internet. I’m a proponent of a governance model that relies on competition and free markets. So, while I’m not a fan of bigger government nor am I convinced that that the massive spending bill was needed, it is encouraging to see at least a portion of it, $1.8 billion, is making its way to 94 broadband projects in 37 states.
Dave Steward’s letter on broadband investment published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch this week made reference to the $1.8B in projects. In the letter to the Editor, Dave highlighted the need for continued investment in broadband infrastructure and how critically important affordable access to the Internet is to small businesses, to under served communities and to the overall health of the economy.
Private investment in broadband and the overall communications infrastructure has been a bright spot in the nation’s economy. Between 2005 and 2009, U.S. companies invested $576 billion in communications equipment and structures. One report suggests that communities with “new access” to broadband experience higher employment growth.
The billions of dollars of broadband and communications infrastructure investment, made by large and small service providers, cascades through a myriad of suppliers, manufacturers, resellers, and services companies.
In addition, broadband is the enabling technology for new services by content providers and is powering the massive rise in “big content” including on-line video streaming and high def. video conferencing.
World Wide Technology has had a unique vantage point in this ecosystem with the opportunity to provide products and services to customers in all of these segments. While we felt the pain of the dot com bust back in 2001, broadband investment and the vast ecosystem associated with the Internet has been a significant factor to our growth and many other companies in our industry.
The $1.8 billion broadband spending has the potential to create much needed private sector jobs today, particularly with small businesses, and be a catalyst for continued private sector investment for years to come.