I am a big supporter of using broadband access as a green IT strategy (and a way to combat pig flu). But it goes without saying that before you can enjoy the benefits you need true, fast-speed broadband access wherever you reside or roam.
In preparation of OneWebDay this past Tuesday, technology journalist and broadband stimulus grant writer Alex Goldman of Net-Statistics.net delivered a speech on universal broadband that lays out how high-speed access to the Internet is not a luxury. He goes into further detail in his blog post commemorating OneWebDay. Although not expressly about reducing carbon, there are parallels to some green IT principles like dematerialization (downloading IRS forms instead of fetching them at the post office) and telework.
Unfortunately, the U.S. is still behind the times, putting those benefits out of reach for many Americans:
In broadband, the U.S. is 15 years behind South Korea. One attendee at Saturday’s event, Regina Walton, writes that the speeds don’t tell all of the story: Korea’s utilities also provide — gosh — customer service. As this map from the BBC shows, several other nations around the world are also ahead of the U.S. in broadband speeds.
We’re also still wrestling with getting ISPs to allow unfettered access to the Internet, although the FCC is working to remedy that.
Put simply, without a broadband infrastructure that resembles a free and roomy freeway instead of creaky and tollbooth laden back roads, consumers and small businesses have the deck stacked against them if they want to telecommute or reduce their carbon footprints by offloading computational tasks to the cloud. Beyond the energy efficiency angle, broadband is growing increasingly critical for an industrious workforce and an informed populace.
Be sure to read the rest of Goldman’s universal broadband insights.
Photo credit: Rennett Stow / Flickr – Creative Commons