Bruce P. Mehlman
The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.
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$7.2 billion [for broadband in the stimulus] works out to a little more than $140 million per state.
Given the cost of building broadband networks in rural areas, the money is unlikely to be enough to provide even basic broadband service to all areas of the country.
Columbia Institute for Tele-Information Business Strategy Research Director Prof. Raul Katz estimates that, under the House version of the stimulus program, a network roll-out could create 110,000 jobs and employment after the infrastructure is in place and could reach 235,000 (if the broadband is coordinated with employment-creation programs).
A national, ubiquitous broadband infrastructure has four critical and complementary components: fixed broadband, wireless broadband, satellite broadband and broadband core and backbone transport.
For every dollar invested in broadband, the economy sees a ten-fold return on that investment.” (From TelephonyOnilne coverage of the economic stimulus bill).
Analysts and telecommunications executives say the $6 billon to $9 billion packages being discussed appear too little to bolster spending in the industry, which is suffering a sharp cutback in consumer and corporate spending.
A trade group representing midsize telecom providers with 27 million customers says its members alone would require $6 billion to $6.5 billion to reach about 3.6 million homes in their territories that don’t have high-speed Internet access.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocates $6 billion in funding for broadband deployment, with $2.825 billion in grants to be administered by the National Telecommunications Information Administration for “unserved” and “underserved” areas of the country.
IT, of which broadband is a central component, added a full 1.18 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) growth and accounted for 2/3 of the growth in total factor productivity during the second half of the 1990’s.
Spurring the investment of $10 billion in health IT will create 212,000 new U.S. jobs and will lead to better quality care and fewer medical errors for patients and lower costs for health care payers.
$10 billion investment in broadband deployment would create about 50,000 direct jobs in the cable and telecommunications industries, in addition to 13,850 manufacturing jobs that would be created as a result of a higher demand for fiber optic cable, routers, servers, switches and related computer equipment. About 64,000 direct jobs would be created in the telecom and related computer and electronic equipment industries, and an additional 166,000 indirect and induced jobs – many in the year the investment occur.