National Broadband Plan may create millions of jobs

This thoughtful and comprehensive national broadband plan will create thousands, if not millions, of jobs — propelling the United States back to the forefront of innovation. Communications networks for businesses — like Interstate highways — mean little, however, if people cannot access them. It may seem counterintuitive, but in our country, there are more wires into the average home than into the average business.

ADVERTISEMENT
The benefits of a business-intensive broadband plan are numerous. Imagine paring billions from the high cost of healthcare with easier storage and retrieval of electronic medical records. Imagine faster and more accurate patient diagnoses with better access to telemedicine. None of these are possible without faster connections and greater availability to broadband services than what businesses have today.

Competitive communications providers can play an important role in deploying these broadband solutions. But this will require rules that guarantee competition is fair and prevent any entity from slowing the pace of innovation. Today there are still islands of broadband desert, places in cities where business broadband service is either grossly overpriced or, sometimes, simply not available. Competitive providers, like mine, are eager to fix the problem, and the National Broadband Plan will help ensure a level playing field exists to support a competitive environment.

Put simply, affordable broadband service is as necessary today as printing presses, typewriters and personal computers were 20 years ago. An oft-cited Brookings Institution - MIT research study found that a mere 1 percent increase in U.S. per-capita broadband penetration equates to an additional 300,000 American jobs. Between 1995 and 2009, the rate of increase in worker productivity skyrocketed to an unprecedented 6.6 percent, compared to only a 1.5 percent annual rate over the previous 20 years, due in large part to the emergence and expansion of broadband services.

Faster Internet connections increase wages, decrease unemployment and spur innovation. Business broadband is not just a strategy for economic growth — it is economic growth.

The FCC’s National Broadband Plan sets a model for competition in business markets. This plan will help encourage innovation and promote the availability of competitive services to small and large businesses. The result: more competitive prices, improved service and the creation of technology-based jobs. And that is something America and its businesses need in 2010 and beyond.

Littleton, Colo.


Healthcare appeal: ‘Say it ain’t so, Joe’

From Al Sartor

(Regarding article, “Hoyer defends tactic to ‘deem’ approval of Senate health bill,” March 16.) It is now clear that President Barack Obama has so much ego invested in the healthcare bill that he will do anything to save face.

It is also apparent that the president, enthusiastically abetted by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, has bent the leadership in Congress to his will and they will do anything he demands, no matter how shoddy.

As the grown-up in the lot, perhaps Vice President Joe Biden will come to the country’s rescue. Politicians love to relate tearful entreaties on the campaign trail, so we need to find a wistful small boy to tug at Biden’s coat and plead, “Say it ain’t so, Joe.”

Walnut Creek, Calif.