Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stimulus measure's broadband funding could spell economic opportunity

NetworkWorld published a piece today examining the potential economic impact of the $7.2 billion earmarked for grants and loan guarantees to finance the construction of broadband telecommunications infrastructure.

The article discusses how broadband access may effectively stimulate entire towns and regions by supporting businesses and jobs that might not otherwise locate there. In the larger scheme, broadband has the potential to more evenly distribute economic activity and population across the United States among major metro regions and less populated areas.

Here's an excerpt:

Asked whether the stimulus plan could mean call centers such as those in Mumbai could start showing up in central Kansas, Settles said, "It depends on how fast the stimulus works, but there is pent-up demand in the U.S. for broadband. If a company wanted to expand a business, broadband could decide if they go to rural Kansas rather than Milwaukee and would be a driver to get a company to open a business in a smaller community with less overhead. Generally, it might still be cheaper to go abroad, but broadband would help companies afford to build not just call centers but IT service operations."

Opening such businesses in the U.S instead of abroad would certainly lessen "administrative hassles," he added.

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