By Ava L. Parker, BroadbandAndSocialJustice.org
City governments nationwide are discovering ways to make their operations work faster by applying broadband technology to city operations and services. Cities that use broadband effectively also enjoy cost savings and enhanced relationships with the citizens they serve.
High-speed Internet, once viewed as a luxury, is proving to be a wise investment for municipal governments.
“While nothing will replace the value of face-to-face contact with a public servant, especially for vulnerable populations,” advises the Washington State Broadband Office, “broadband has the capacity to deliver many services efficiently and rapidly while opening up new venues for civic engagement.”
Cities that incorporate broadband into daily operations — and many cities have already done so — find a variety of benefits and cost savings:
Operations efficiency. Many municipal workers spend time out of the office, checking on projects, operations, and situations throughout the community. If city workers in the field can use wireless broadband to access office records — GIS data on drainage, for example, or maps of underground utilities — then they can shave hours, and even days, off the time to complete an assignment. Further, greater use of broadband networks reduces paperwork and creates the potential for all municipal forms to go online.
Round-the-clock interaction. Though city offices close, the Web remains open 24 hours a day. This means that citizens in communities with strong broadband infrastructure can gather information and access a number of city services any time of the day or night, and on weekends and….