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Broadband is critical to the convergence April 25, 2006

Posted by Tom in Economic Development, Innovation, Opinion, Workforce.
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Last week, I participated in a town meeting/listening session on the Indiana Lieutenant Governor's Rural Indiana Strategy for Excellence (RISE 2020) tour.  This process was fascinating to observe; the culture clash between progressive/modern thinking and traditional/"values" thinking was never more evident.  I placed my cards with the former.  The RISE 2020 initiative really demands its own entry, so I will focus on the larger project later.  

One of the questions in the meeting struck me: What does rural Indiana need in order to succeed?  I offered my solution: Broadband.  Whether you're in manufacturing (and rural Indiana has a lot of manufacturing – at least in Northern Indiana), agriculture or the service economy, you need broadband to work in the modern era.  Not only does it allow you to conduct business as expected by your commercial peers, broadband removes the issue of place.  It allows a farmer in rural Indiana to communicate with a customer in New York or Beijing on even terms.  

Problem is, broadband is not being rolled out in a universal manner.  

Connecting the Dots lays out the need for universal broadband – and the implications of having a nation of haves and have-nots – in a well-written blog entry.  He also discusses Minnesota's boradband initiative, which has the potential to place the entire state at a competitive advantage if carried through as stated. 

The infrastructure is only one part of the puzzle, though. We have to orient our population – everyone – to the potential presented by this technology.  From research and science to commerce and entertainment, true broadband communication can revolutionize our ways of thinking and working. 

Which means that we need workforce programming to meet these new challenges.  

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