By Joseph Weiss
Chairman, Electronic Ink
The current state of the economy has many elected leaders searching for the innovation that will help to drive job creation. Broadband Internet, most agree, delivers the promise of opportunity and the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the country.
That’s good news, but if you live in Philadelphia there’s also some disconcerting news. About 40 percent of the households in the city are without Internet service, according to Mayor Nutter. And approximately one quarter of the city lives in poverty. As the chairman of an international design company that relies on digital technology, it has become abundantly clear to me that the broadband revolution has the potential to transform our economy, but we must redouble our efforts to close the divide.
I agree with President Obama that expanding access to broadband is one of the best things that we can do to get our economy moving in the right direction. According to a recent study by ConnectedNation, a modest increase in broadband adoption would have a total economic impact of $5.6 billion annually in Pennsylvania alone, contributing $3.9 billion to direct income growth and creating 104,000 jobs for workers in the state.
Whether your field is international design or sales, e need to encourage and support private sector initiatives that expand access to high-speed networks. The proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, for instance, would provide private sector funding to build out its wireless network infrastructure across the nation. These improvements would extend the reach of AT&T’s 4G LTE service to cover an additional one million square miles, including 55 million more Americans.
This merger would be a positive development for communities across the nation that do not currently have access to high-speed wireless technology. It would also help address growing concerns about the capacity of wireless networks to meet continued increases in demand due to the popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices.
The current state of our economy makes plain the urgency of finding solutions. By expanding access to high-speed wireless service and improving its quality and reliability, we can take an important step toward turning the economy around. And that’s something that people in every household will cheer.
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