From-> FP -> Must Reads -> http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/the_plan_for_broadband/
Technology blogs and commentators are applauding a part of President-elect Obama’s plan for economic recovery laid out in his most recent weekly address: the promise to make broadband internet access available in every corner of the country, and to push hospitals and doctors’ offices to improve care and cut costs by adopting electronic medical records.
“It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption,” President-elect Obama said in the address. “Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President — because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world….[and] the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system — and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives.”
As a techie I am happy to see this happen. Broadband access will go a far way to improve the lives of Americans. Improved access will mean a dramatic increase in availability of information, more opportunities for business, and better public services. I have had the luxury of having internet access from an early age and I could not imagine going through my current daily routine without it. The fluidity and flexibility access to the internet brings to people is incomparable to any other technology.
The improved availability of information through the internet will enrich teaching and learning along with helping to spark innovation. Youth whose access to information was limited by the amount of books at the local library ( if they even have library, which many rural communities lack), will now have limitless amounts of information. They will also no longer be isolated from other communities, as they would be able to publish their own opinion on the internet’s many forums and interact with those who share a common interest. With the ability to readily peruse information on what interests them innovation would increase with people getting new ideas online.
Broadband access will also help spur business opportunities. Communication between businesses with multiple branches would now be capable and everything from accounting inventory to teleconferencing would make businesses more efficient. Access to the internet also gives businesses more options to obtain what they need at competitive prices and we make it so they are no longer limited by local resources. Broadband access is also something that many businesses look for when establishing locations and would make areas that previously did not have it more attractive for them.
Lastly services are improved. Major uses of broadband connections are hospitals, banks, mail couriers, and entertainment. The passing of information that these services use will be increased exponentially which means faster, more convenient access by customers.
A quick note about digitizing medical records: I have many relatives in the medical field and from my experience with them I can say that it is a big help for them. When they are writing up reports at night electronically they do not have to worry about legibility, and I have many times seen them send case information through personal computers while at home. In the medical field time plays a huge role in saving a life or not. By being able to instantly access medical records through a blackberry rather than digging through mountains of filing cabinets can mean the difference of life and death, and I am glad the Obama administration is pushing for this.
In short advocating for broadband access for everyone is a very smart move by President Elect Obama. It has the best bang for the buck. No other expansions in infrastructure will bring the same amount of opportunities and services that broadband access does, and in an ever increases technological world those without internet access are at a severe disadvantage.
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