The growth of business and broadband was the featured topic during the panel, “Big Broadband: What Happens when the Psychology of Abundance Confronts Both the Economics of Deployment and the Rules of Regulators” at today’s 9th Annual State of the Net Conference in Washington, DC.
Being discussed was what each of the myriad organizations, companies, and municipalities contribute to broadband growth and how all can work together to ensure reliable broadband is delivered to as many Americans as possible. Sitting on the panel was: Kevin Lo, General Manager for Google Fiber; Ramona Carlow, VP of Public Policy and Strategy at AT&T; James Assey, Executive Vice President at NCTA; and Blair Levin, Communications and Society Fellow at the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. Jessica Zufolo, Deputy Administrator of Rural Utility Services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, moderated the panel.
What took place was less a debate between panelists on who has all the answers to expanding broadband access, but more a discussion on how opportunity leads to innovation. The panelists often expressed a shared vision of how to lead America to a future of broadband success, with all agreeing that the more who have access, the better.
Mr. Levin posed questions on whether or not wireless was going to be able to compete with wireline broadband access – questions that are yet to have clear answers. Ms. Carlow later stated, “Regulation needs to be modernized so that all companies can direct more investment into the new IT services that customers are demanding.” At one point an audience member asked Mr. Lo what the consumer need is for full broadband at gigabit speeds. His answer was, “Business, medical…we can’t even imagine yet.” NCTA’s Mr. Assey addressed the long and storied role the cable industry has played in bringing America access to broadband.
And while each panelist presented what he or she saw as the key broadband obstacles and solutions, they all agreed that when more homes and businesses have access to fast, reliable Internet, everyone wins.