I was sitting in the back of the auditorium inside the Michigan State University's Kellogg Center in East Lansing. The event was the Michigan Broadband Summit, sponsored by the Library of Michigan and the American Library Association. The seats around me were full with a mix of government representatives, community stakeholders and librarians from around Michigan and surrounding states.
The first speaker started off with the question, "How many of you have enough bandwidth?" A few hands went up while a couple of others started chuckling.
The opportunities seem endless. New online applications, fixing the digital divide and even advances for electronic libraries like the Michigan Electronic Library (MEL). To get a good sense for the many issues and options available to Michigan and the nation regarding broadband connectivity and the stimulus dollars, I urge you to download and review the excellent powerpoint slides offered by John Windhausen Jr. from Telepoly Consulting.
Four of John's main points include:
1) Broadband has become an essential service.
2) Broadband demand is exploding.
3) Industry is investing less than what America needs (microeconomics trumping macroeconomics).
4) The US is falling behind our international competitors.
Through a series of examples including voice, education, energy and TV, he makes the point that broadband is not only "AN" essential service, but "THE" essential service to enable all the others in the future.
I encourage you to review the rest of Windhausen's material, but more important, don't forget the libraries and other government partners as you prepare a broadband strategy in your state, county, township or city. There are synergies that will build upon these relationships over time, and we can't afford to leave out important educational services that people depend upon. Citizens will expect high-speed connectivty at their local libraries, and most don't have enough bandwidth today.
Any thoughts on this library broadband topic?