As rivers were once the widespread and easily accessible transportation infrastructure that allowed for decentralized technological development in the U.S. in the early years of the Industrial Revolution, writes Computerworld’s Richard Adler, broadband communications serves as this same kind of network today. From multi-billion dollar industries like GPS (pried from the Pentagon by the Clinton administration in the 1990s), to the far-reaching and ever-mutating Internet itself, broadband empowers research, lowers transaction costs, and makes every market it touches more efficient. But can we keep the broadband engine humming at peak capacity?
The coming revolution of the “Internet of Things,” in which millions upon millions of everyday devices will clamor for their little slice of bandwidth, will be a huge challenge to our efforts to keep broadband rolling nicely along. Likewise, government policies that keep broadband open and accessible to anyone with an Internet connection will also be key. Continued investment in expanding and upgrading the digital infrastructure must also be encouraged since, unlike our rivers and ports, every country in the world has the same amount spectrum available, and the same potential for greatness.