Economic growth and internet access
Economic growth and internet access
Economic growth and internet access

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    I’m on my usual hunt for economic growth citations. Two recent useful ones:

    1. UK Competitiveness Minister Stephen Timms says that the UK needs a fiber plan:

    “Effective use of technology enables economic growth,” . . . . “We have hardly any fibre-to-home connections. As far as I’m aware, we have none. There are 900,000 in the US and eight million in Japan. We’re not suffering yet, but communications applications with higher [bandwidth] needs are not far behind. We need timely take-up.”

    [Thanks to Dirk van der Woude for the link.] This strikes a different note than I heard from Ofcom earlier this year. In April, Ofcom head Ed Richards made it clear that he wasn’t thinking of internet access or telecommunications policy being part of broader economic/industrial policy. Mr. Timms is a welcome addition to the scene, and I understand that he’s well-connected to PM Gordon Brown.

    2. Morgan Stanley recently weighed in, saying that the economic growth rate for the U.S. isn’t very strong – down to 2% from 3%. In general, Mary Meeker opines, the “US [is] less relevant to global economy – US share of global GDP has declined steadily since 1999 to 19% of GDP.”

    3. Mark Lloyd of the Center for American Progress presented testimony earlier this week. My favorite part:

    The telecommunications and cable industries have strong incentives to limit local investment in broadband. It is perfectly understandable for the industry to squeeze as much out of their old infrastructure or to delay investment in high-cost areas until they can be certain of an adequate return. This is smart, efficient business. And if we were considering the distribution of hula hoops or video games we would applaud this approach. But we are not concerned about a market in trifles. We are concerned about the health, education, economic viability, and public safety of our nation. We need national leadership to establish a national broadband policy.

    We need some new ideas over here in the U.S. that will help spur economic growth – and a key place for idea-generation is online. We’re not talking about hula hoops or tunafish sandwiches, both of which are also sold by private companies. Online communication is different.

    Tomorrow – back to the white spaces. Did you see this terrific NYT piece?

    Crossposted from Susan Crawford blog