When Google first introduced the idea of bringing bandwidth-intensive services to select cities across the United States, the term “gigabit city” was born. As a result, there became widespread interest in cities and communities across the U.S. to adopt fiber-based broadband Internet coverage. This interest was primarily because of potential economic rewards.
Gigabit internet is a fiber-optic cable internet connection with speeds of 1,000 megabits per second. This speed is 100 times faster, if not more, than typical Internet connections. Why is it important to harness the potential that comes with being a gigabit city? The reasons are many, including potential economic growth, and emphasize that advancements this technology provides can’t be defined as simply “bigger and faster.” Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission wrote that delivering speeds measured in gigabits, rather than megabits, is far more than a matter of consumer convenience.
The digital divide
The digital divide refers, in broad terms, to those who have and know how to use the internet and those that don’t. The digital divide is a potentially dangerous issue in that it can deepen racial, income and educational inequalities which already exist. These technology barriers are created through lack of skill, relevant knowledge, access to the latest hardware, and cost. For small businesses, it can mean lacking the speed and knowledge to thrive in a rapidly-changing economic environment. Innovation is spurred by broadband infrastructure.
Using gigabit speed wisely
Faster Internet speeds should be seen as means for progress and innovation, but not as the progress and innovation itself. Cities are being advised to create gigabit “playbooks” to create a specific vision for making the best use of faster Internet speeds. Kansas City, for example, created a broad plan which included goals in healthcare, education, arts, neighborhoods, and much more. In turn, this helped create a sense of shared mission between residents and community leaders.
Efforts outside of government
Kansas City’s example also showed that the wave of broadband, gigabit technology was created as much by organic efforts as much as it was created inside government offices. Businesses were established in non-traditional environments such as houses, with ripple effects throughout the community. However, there was also a growing communication gap between those interested in infrastructure and application, with worries that it would result in missed opportunities for both.
Placing a higher value on improving daily life and government cities is a way to turn a gigabit city into a “responsive city.” This transformation includes efforts to make sure that everyone, not just those with the means and hardware to do so, can take advantage of this technology. While there is certainly the convenience provided by increased Internet speeds, there is also the familiar issues of jobs, education and communities. These issues are all addressed by responsive cities.
If you are looking for a city full of innovation, consider La Junta, Colorado. La Junta Economic Development (LJED) supports businesses that are expanding or relocating to the greater Southeastern Colorado area. This community especially offers growth in the technology industry. To learn more about the region and how La Junta Economic Development can assist your business expansion or relocation, contact us today. Give us a call at (719) 384-6965 or Contact Us via email.