Why you MUST fight for fiber-optic (or fall behind)

Wed, 2013-09-11 06:04 -- Jesse Berst

fiber network promotes economic developmentIn the process of researching our forthcoming Smart Cities Readiness Guide, we learned about the importance of high-speed fiber-optic networks. To quote this useful article from Governing Magazine, "a fiber-optic network can be 200 times faster than cable and has the potential to trigger a new generation of economic development."

I would add this: If you do NOT get a fiber backbone for your city, it may well trigger a new generation of economic distress. Quoting once again: "Fiber networks are seen by many as one of the most important infrastructure developments of the 21st century."

Read the article for its discussion of the obstacles to getting fiber and the several cities that have overcome them. And then get to work figuring out a way to provide this essential service to the citizens of your city.  -- Jesse Berst

Elsewhere on the site we've told you how Chattanooga, Tennessee has become a poster child for what fast fiber broadband can do for a city.

The article in Governing suggests a lot of public officials get the advantages of fiber. It cites a survey done in July by the magazine's research arm that found 69% of them see economic factors as the number one reason why cities need fiber. In fact, nearly 70% of respondents view fiber as a "public good" that governments should regulate and in some cases run much as they do water and sewer systems.

Yet only 24% of the public officials surveyed say they have a plan for implementing a public fiber network in their communities. Cost, as the article explains, is one big obstacle. But there are ways to overcome the challenges and Governing suggests a small but growing number of communities, particularly in rural areas, are determined to do so.


Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.