Big News. North America just ran out of IPv4 addresses. Well, it has been coming for a long time and the truth is we are not really even out now. There are places we could recover a huge number of them from if we wanted to. But folks want to use this to spur things along to IPv6. For those non-techies out there, think of this as something akin to the Y2K problem. If you are not involved in this now, then there is nothing for you to worry about.
Things have been relatively quiet on the regulatory front recently. About the only thing that is really being talked about is this notion of Gigabit Cities. I want to be clear that when I talk about this I am talking about Residential Service. Businesses need access to high speed data and often look at buildings as having the capability that they need or not when locating. This is one more requirement just like space, power, and parking to businesses.
The question is really “Does the Highest Speed Internet Service do anything to help a City?” This is a really tough question. There were a number of economic studies over the years that showed that increasing the number of telephones available per 1,000 residents was directly related to economic growth. But there are lots of studies that show the US is massively behind on Internet Services (and I think these are greatly overstated), and yet the US Economy remains strong. Does it do much on a local level? Well, are you going to move your company to a very small town to get great Internet? Probably not. You will have other problems like hiring and transportation in general.
So, where does this help? Telecommuting. As we move into the future, there is a whole push by young people to become more freelance workers. This type of location independence is fostered by Broadband Internet. Not in every job and not in every industry. But even my sister does most of her job from home. So, there may not be a great local economic impact to a town or city. There might be a lifestyle impact on individuals. I know many very small Internet Companies (even Sole Proprietors) that hire folks in India or Pakistan to do specific work.
Virtual Teams are the way of the future. Note there is a HUGE business opportunity here that is largely unaddressed now. The truth is that it is difficult to manage outsourced people and teams. Software and Services that would make this easier would be great. It is hard enough to manage employees and contractors that show up at your office. People that are half the world away are super hard to manage. Many times there are great intentions and poor communications leading to poor outcomes. Maybe having more bandwidth can help this too!
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