Time Is of the Essence: US Must Implement the Broadband Communications Infrastructure Necessary to Remain Globally
By John M. Burns
17yearsago, there was a digital transformation that made the world smaller. New technologies have since intertwined and interconnected the global community where information is now instantly and readily available to more people than ever before. You can now have face-to-face conversations with people all over the world from your personal computer, tablet or even your smartphone.
But as this digital information age continues to progress at warp speed, consumers are quickly met with the constant challenge of ensuring the necessary infrastructure is in place to embrace and utilize the technologies of the day. At no time in our world’s history has a nation’s ability to compete in the global marketplace been so directly correlated to its technological infrastructure. In the past, a nation’s world prominence and dominance was dictated by the size of its military or its territorial reach; now, the fittest and most successful are those who learn skills quickly to effectively and efficiently implement and employ the latest technologies at their disposal. Towards that end, as the technological revolution continues to expand, the U.S. must immediately adapt to meet the technological realities of the day. And that means that as a country, we have an obligation to ensure that the necessary communications infrastructure is in place in order to utilize the technological realities on the ground and keep the U.S. at a competitive advantage.
There are numerous initiatives proposed and pending before the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) that set forth comprehensive plans and procedures for laying the foundation to upgrade the nation’s communications infrastructure through the building of high-speed, next-generation Internet Protocol (“IP”) broadband networks. In a country where 1/3 of U.S. citizens rely exclusively on wireless technology for their communication needs (this number is much higher in minority communities), we must be committed to expanding and improving broadband infrastructure to ensure that our communication needs and expectations continue to be met. Investment in this IP infrastructure is critical to carry us through the 21st century. While new emerging technologies sit at our doorstep, our nation still relies on an antiquated and archaic regulatory system that ultimately stifles our technological potential. The Obama Administration has an opportunity to promptly and aggressively take the necessary steps to ensure our country makes the transition to next-generation IP networks. This infrastructure upgrade would immediately create jobs, and more importantly, it is an investment in the truest sense of the word. Upgrading our technological capacity would provide exponential dividends with respect to access to information and dissemination of the same for generations to come.