Next-generation broadband networks are slowly creeping into cities and towns across the nation. Large and small-scale regions from Silicon Valley to little burgs like Franklin, Michigan are adopting these new world-class networks. If you haven’t heard about this next wave of broadband, you soon will.
We call them Gigabit Communities — where smart phones and desktop computers run at world class speeds. The challenge in bringing Gigabit to the Midwest is getting technology firms and municipal leaders to understand one another.
The first challenge municipal leaders face in getting next-generation Gigabit speeds implemented in their region is to grasp the different technologies involved. Making these complicated systems understandable is a C&R project we started last year. Our client and collaborator in this effort is ACD, the fast growing tech firm building these networks in the Midwest.
The C&R research report on this topic will be given at the Michigan Economic Developers Association seminar this spring. The report explains how regions that deploy next-gen networks first will get the most economic lift. This is how most new broadband infrastructure technologies play out: Early adopters reap the most benefits by attracting businesses and skilled workers.
The positive connection between Gigabit broadband and economic growth is well documented by academics and economic developers in high-growth regions.
The few regions that currently have Gigabit broadband adopted it because it gives residents and businesses world-class speeds at a lower cost. Next-gen networks then act as a magnet, attracting entrepreneurs, startups and other folks in tech-savvy demographics.
“Gigabit communities evolve in many ways,” said Kevin Schoen, CEO of ACD. “C&R has created an outline of the organic path it often takes. This outline is a great learning tool to help people get their arms around a complex topic.”
The Gigabit movement promises to enable much more than just faster downloading and streaming. It opens the door to the future. Driverless cars. Life-saving tele-health products. 3-D teleconferencing and advanced programming Internet startups.
For Michigan communities that are the early adopters, Gigabit is Giga-great.