Last updated: December 4, 2008 - 9:26pm
[Commentary] There will be nothing easy or certain about Obama administration policies to advance and monetize broadband as an essential infrastructure, even as Silicon Valley's most formidable players are curtailing innovation in what economists are calling The Great Recession. Unlike the other monumental challenges confronting president-elect Barack Obama, broadband interactivity can be an immediate, universal catalyst for commerce, communications and wide-ranging productivity. It can generate new jobs, revenue streams and profits in a better economy while requiring minimal investment. The Internet and all things interactive comprise the 21st-century's Wild West of unregulated prospects. Certainly, encouraging companies to develop compelling, advanced services for an Internet recast as a national utility at a time of pervasive technology must involve tax credits for innovation and initiatives. There must be subsidies to support advanced interactive applications for public services, health and environment, and overall commerce. Tech, Internet, content and services companies must be motivated to create new reasons for commercial interactivity. Innovation and continued digital transformation must lead the economic recovery. About half of all IT capital spending traditionally has come from financial services and industrial companies under siege. Perhaps the best overriding incentives could come in a far-flung New Deal-inspired plan for broadband, bringing together private and public players and funds to build out an advanced broadband infrastructure that would serve commercial and civic interests. It would be a new deal for a new age that is barely rising.
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