To expand broadband opportunities, cities and towns are going to need assistance from local service providers, argued Chicago's CIO Hardik Bhatt during the Friday morning keynote speech at the SUPERCOMM trade show. In order to do that, schools, for example, will need far more than a paltry T1 (1.5 Mbps) of access.
Bhatt said a local effort to enhance technical training and education via the creation of a school centered on IT and telecom was stifled when organizers found the only connections they could get were two T1 connections. "We wanted our students to be able to have interaction with students in other countries," Bhatt said during the SUPERCOMM speech. "Are we going to be able to do that with a 3 Megabit connection? I don't think so. We need every high school, every elementary school in the city to have 100 Megabit per second connections."
To close that gap, Bhatt argued that telcos should develop public-private partnerships that would be beneficial to both sides. By providing optical connections at community hubs (libraries and Internet centers), a city like Chicago could provide broadband Internet services to 39 percent of residents who can't get broadband and then educate them on the value of having broadband access.
Examples of this public/private investment to expand broadband services are taking place in states such as Massachusetts and North Carolina where local towns are partnering with service providers to expand Internet access to other smaller service providers, schools and businesses over an open access network manner.
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