Cities Tackle Broadband Imperative

2014-10-30-getimageI want to be an optimist about this effort, but I am afraid that it will turn out to be another of many conferences bureaucrats attend using taxpayer money. The contribution that broadband services makes to economies is well documented and understood so listening to highly paid consultants restate what they can read in a magazine or report is not a valuable use of time. Instead they should use this forum to openly share results and experiences in deploying broadband infrastructure. They should learn what business models work and what don’t work. This forum should present ways to stimulate new applications of services and promote competition of service providers. I hope that “Next Century Cities” is used as a constructive tool to share the knowledge of broadband infrastructure deployment and service provider competition and not as a way to grow government over the private sector.

There is a new organization in town and it’s quietly getting the attention it deserves.

Called “Next Century Cities,” it met last month with mayors and executives from 32 cities in Santa Monica, California to talk about the new economy, the critical importance of broadband infrastructure to economic wealth and well being and the vital role cities must play to succeed and survive in what is fast becoming a turbulent, knowledge driven world.

According to McKinsey and Company,

“In a world of rising urbanization…U.S. cities face turbulent times ahead as the economy strives to recover from deep recession… business and government leaders need to find ways through these difficulties if cities are to play their part in the US economy’s growth and renewal.

While insuring affordable, and ubiquitous broadband is not a panacea, as a whole new economy based not on manufacturing or even service provision, but on knowledge or more precisely creativity and innovation takes shape, cities have to be ready. In large part that means fiber optic broadband because broadband is critical to living and working in the global knowledge economy.

There is simply no alternative.

Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled The World, has written,

“The nation-state is failing us on the global scale,” and predicted that “cities and the mayors that run them, offer the best new forces of good governance…They are the primary incubator of the cultural, social, and political innovations which shape our planet. And most importantly, they are unburdened with the issues of borders and sovereignty which hobble the capacity of nation-states to work with one another.”

Next Century Cities says,

“Across the country, innovative municipalities are already recognizing the importance of leveraging gigabit level Internet to attract new businesses and create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities. Next Century Cities is committed to celebrating these successes, demonstrating their value, and helping other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband.”

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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