Five broadband trends shaping communities

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

A good place to talk about water, land and technology.

I was asked to do a presentation on broadband trends at the Urban Land Institute’s spring meeting in San Diego today. Specifically, it was for one of the ULI’s community development councils, which is focused on planned community developers. I had to narrow the list down to five:

  • Conduit is gold. Cities and private developments can build a base for jobs and industry just by putting conduit in the ground whenever a trench is opened. And it’s a no brainer for greenfield developments.
  • Google wants to disrupt the telecoms business and, on the available evidence, it’s succeeding. By threatening incumbents with competition and raising consumer expectations, it’s shifting the conversation away from wireless spending and back to fiber optic investment.
  • Independent middle mile fiber optic infrastructure is the key to economic development for communities outside of core metropolitan areas. And not very far outside, either. Pulling a fiber a few dozen miles over the hill from Santa Clara has re-energized Santa Cruz’s economy.
  • Qualcomm’s assumption that mobile data traffic will grow one thousand times in the next few years is simple math. The next generation of mobile data technology will push small cell sites and connecting fiber closer and closer to users.
  • Connectivity brings you all the comforts of work, where ever you live. Telecommuting, co-working and wireless-equipped company commuter buses make it possible for people to live in the urban areas they love and work at suburban corporate campuses, or chill by the beach and email the job in.

No one builds new housing without planning for water, energy and transportation. My message was that broadband joined that list in the twenty-first century. In other words, now.