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Friday, January 18, 2013

Innovation leadership is necessary for economic leadership

Walking the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show last week, I kept thinking of that line from Jaws, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.”
All the Internet-connected, data-hungry gadgets that are coming to market sent a strikingly clear message: we’re going to need faster broadband networks.

Making sure the U.S. has super-fast, high-capacity, ubiquitous broadband networks delivering speeds measured in gigabits, not megabits isn’t just a matter of consumer convenience, as important as that is.
It’s essential to economic growth, job creation and U.S. competitiveness.

In our 21st century economy, innovation leadership is necessary for economic leadership. Our broadband infrastructure is our central platform for innovation, and faster speeds will spur innovation.

In a global economy, talent and capital can flow anywhere, and they’ll flow to countries with the strongest innovation infrastructure. We’re in a global bandwidth race, and we need to ensure the U.S. has a strategic bandwidth advantage.
Without it, we risk losing our global lead on innovation, and we risk watching jobs and investment flow elsewhere.

The good news is that there’s lots of good news. After falling behind Asia and Europe, we’ve regained global leadership in mobile.

The U.S. is the first country to deploy 4G wireless networks at scale and is home to most of the world’s LTE subscribers, making the United States the global test bed for LTE apps and services.

The mobile “apps economy,” which has already created hundreds of thousands of jobs, is a made-in-the-USA phenomenon.

On the wired side, broadband networks capable of 100 megabits per second speeds passed less that 20% of U.S. homes in 2009.
That number is now more than 80%, which is near the world lead.
By contrast, in Europe, networks capable of 30 megabits per second reach only 50% of households.

Post written by Julius Genachowski.
Julius Genachowski is chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
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