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Businesses Networking The Internet

Increased US Broadband Adoption Could Create 2.4 Million Jobs 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the taking-development-cues-from-kentucky dept.
Ward D points out a story about a recent study that predicts significant economic growth through increased broadband adoption in the U.S. The study is based on a program in Kentucky that has, through the increased use of broadband, "saved an average of more than $200 per person per year" on health-care services, and decreased the average amount of time residents spent driving by 100 hours per month. From Computerworld: "The Connected Nation model ... focuses more on broadband adoption and local needs than huge, government-funded programs. Several Kentucky businesses have benefited from the increased access, according to Connected Nation. Geek Squad, the Best Buy subsidiary, moved its headquarters to Bullitt County, Kentucky, in late 2006 because of the broadband availability."
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Increased US Broadband Adoption Could Create 2.4 Million Jobs

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  • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:25PM (#22510776)
    A few lucky economic development wins doesn't constitute rapid job growth. I'm glad people shop online and glad they save fuel. But so far, no one has shown direct, only indirect benefits..... not job creation (save for nebulous 'tech' jobs) or anything else than infrastructure maintenance positions (truck rollers, moles, linemen, and so forth). It would be nice if there could be an easier quid pro quo data set that motivated communities (and not to get in bed with telcos without titanium strings attached to the deals). Look at the problems with muni-wifi, the failures of WiMAX, and the sheer dominance of the telcos. Community networking is in a sad state, and this study, sadly, doesn't help.
    • by webmaster404 (1148909) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:29PM (#22510820)
      Think of it this way. Its very hard to run an online business on dial up. The more broadband we have here in the US the faster tech jobs will grow because people can actually use the internet. For example, downloading Linux ISOs, on a decent connection it might take an hour at the most, with dial up that could take days. Also dial-up users are less likely to download programs because a good sized program may take 10 minutes on dial up but take a few seconds on broadband. This is by far good news for Linux people and to people wanting more tech jobs.
      • Think about it this way. We need more than just tech jobs.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
          That's an easy trap to fall into. Non-tech businesses benefit from broadband too.
          • I should have worded that better. I agree that non-tech companies benefit from broadband, I was just commenting on his tech industry stance and stating broadband is more important than just creating more tech jobs.
      • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000 AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:55PM (#22510986)

        Its very hard to run an online business on dial up.

        Ah but what businesses, and jobs, will be created? TFA says 2.4 million jobs will be created but it does not name 1 job. All it is really about is money saved and not jobs created. Then again the study itself does not say what jobs wll be created.

        Falcon
        • by Cornelius the Great (555189) on Friday February 22, 2008 @12:00AM (#22511382)
          2.4 million jobs would include more domain squatters, spyware/adware authors, Nigerian scam artists, and V!4gr4 spammers.
        • by Gryle (933382)
          What, you think your Internet traffic is going to monitor itself? Uncle Sam has to hire more people to keep an eye on the country to make sure we're safe.
        • Ah but what businesses, and jobs, will be created? TFA says 2.4 million jobs will be created but it does not name 1 job. All it is really about is money saved and not jobs created. Then again the study itself does not say what jobs wll be created.

          I doubt anyone can really tell you what kind of jobs will be created, in much the same way that few could have predicted the ways that the post-war building of the interstate system would affect things. But we have an expanded tourism industry, next-day courie

        • Those 2.4 million jobs will be created by the year 3000 when the US population hits 800 million. And based on our extrapolation and careful statistical analysis, by the year 10000 it will create 10 billion gazillion jobs!
      • by CSMatt (1175471)
        Aren't most distros sold or given away on pressed CDs, if not from the distro maker then at least from third-party online stores? Why not just buy one of those and make several copies?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tomhudson (43916)

          The math is more than dubious - its impossible:

          decreased the average amount of time residents spent driving by 100 hours per month

          Do you really believe that people drove 25 hours less every week - 5 hours less every day, Monday to Friday?

          From the stupid article:

          Using broadband for health-care services has saved an average of more than $200 per person per year in Kentucky, and residents there drove more than 100 fewer hours per month because of transactions done online, according to the study.

          If we

          • by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Thursday February 21, 2008 @11:43PM (#22511274) Homepage

            From the report:

            In the 2007 ConnectKentucky residential survey, 66% of broadband users report driving an average of 102 fewer miles per month because of their online activity.

            The error is in the Computerworld article which misstates:

            [R]esidents there drove more than 100 fewer hours per month because of transactions done online.
            • by tomhudson (43916) <.moc.nosduh-arab ... .nosduh.arabrab.> on Friday February 22, 2008 @12:26AM (#22511534) Journal

              There's lies, damned lies, and statistics.

              66% of broadband users report driving an average of 102 fewer miles per month
              This tells us nothing. if the other 34% drove 200 more miles per month ( 50 miles/week - for example, to look at stuff they found on cragislist, or to meet people they chatted with online) then there are zero savings in driving distances. The fact that they didn't give an overall figure shows they cherry-picked, and the real savings is more like 25 miles/month overall.

              Another bogus claim:

              $35 billion in value from 3.8 billion hours saved per year from accessing broadband at home
              WTF is that supposed to mean? That people will suddenly be saving $9.50 /hr for every hour they surf the net form home? That's not my experience. Or maybe they're trying to claim that, if people can access the tubes from home, they won't at work ... saving their employers $35 billion. Guess they didn't see the studies that showed 70% of all porn is accessed from work ...

              The "study" is bogus. Its an attempt from the telcos to get more "incentives" from the government.

              • [66% of broadband users report driving an average of 102 fewer miles per month] tells us nothing.

                If there's anything this world really needs in terms of education, it would be mandatory education on how to separate legitimate statistics from bullshit. Anytime someone presents a "statistic" in the form of "A% of Bs are C more/less likely to D", in the absence of any fuller explanation about the 100 - A%, it is almost certainly bullshit.

                The worst part of the age-old "lies, damned lies, and statistics" me

          • I parsed that sentence quite differently and assumed that the 100 hours was for the whole population, not per individual,
              if a person is paying 360.00 per year for DSL and saving $200.00 that pretty good, but if its $600.00 for cable and saving $200.00 not so much,
            finally increasing the deployment rate by 7%, you could gain that much by have good weather for the crews to work in.
        • Aren't most distros sold or given away on pressed CDs,
          The stable releases are but anyone who wan'ts to get involved with thier distros future (if only to the extent of making sure all thier stuff still runs when the next version comes out) needs to track the development version and for that the fast connection is extremely usefull.

          • by CSMatt (1175471)
            Hmm. Still in college, so I can't comment on the real world, but I can't imagine that it would be a sound idea for a business to pre-test with a development version, what with them being unstable and all. I suppose release candidates could do the job, but that seems to give the business only a few months of pre-testing before the stable release comes out.
      • Consider that websites ought to be hosted in non-residential, commercial facilities. Broadband does nothing for this at all. Broadband in its current form is a consumer entertainment component. Add in home office, remote access, VLANs with VoIP, and you might start to have benefits from 'telecommuter' sorts of profiles.

        Otherwise, I want to download Linux distros but once a month, or less. I might consume media a few times a month. You can't download a dozen eggs, and pound of butter, otherwise. People's pat
    • "What do you want the numbers to say? We'll torture them until they say it!"

      These studies are such a crock and use very dodgy extrapolations. Of course I didn't RTFA, but they're generally along the lines of: Give a company 56k dialup and they become 20% more profitable. Therefore is we give them 2Mbits they will become 20% * 2M/56k = 700%. Or: a survey shows a correlation between company size and bandwidth. Larger companies tend to have more bandwidth than smaller companies. Therefore we will give all the

    • Look at the problems with muni-wifi, the failures of WiMAX, and the sheer dominance of the telcos. Community networking is in a sad state, and this study, sadly, doesn't help.

      (emphasis mine)

      The sheer dominance of telcos is what is causing the problem with increased broadband deployment, when you include cable operators in that group. Very little is being done among that group to GROW their business. I know that Verizon is doing FTTH and that is good, and T-Mobile is doing the WiFi hand off phones which is good. The trouble is that this is a day late and a dollar short.

      FTTH is not helping improve overall broadband deployment - it is there to compete with incumbent cable players

      • This is spot-on. The lack of long-term investment in communications infrastructure is slowing down progress. Fix that and everything will take off.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by hairyfeet (841228)
        And it isn't just greed either.True story---A few years back a guy I went to school with worked at a little tv/appliance/pc shop outside of town.Nobody would run broadband there,and the dialup was pitiful(14k on a good day).So he talks his boss into paying out the rear to have a T1 run the 15 miles to the shop.He had already talked to the neighbors and other local shops and they were happy to hand him $50-100 a month depending on their needs and take a piece of the T1.He gets everyone wired up,sets up a ser
    • by johannesg (664142)
      Here is my take: those numbers are completely fictitious.

      If the jobs are located in those states:

      * Are there even 2.4 million people without jobs in those states?
      * In fact, are there even 2.4 million people in those states to begin with?

      If the jobs are located outside those states:

      * Can the people in those states support the salaries of 2.4 million people?
      * Would they care about creating 2.4 million jobs for Indian and Chinese residents?

      We get reports like that here in Holland as well: "another 15000 jobs w
      • My fellow Americans are rather myopic. Most of the rest of the world doesn't exist to them

        And yes, the numbers have the smell of bull excrement.
      • by _anomaly_ (127254)
        If your questions about population weren't rhetorical, in the second paragraph, the article states:
        "2.4 million jobs across the U.S."
  • Wireless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by simpl3x (238301) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:34PM (#22510866)
    And, I bet that free wireless will create even more! Better broadband is great, but most of our "surfing" isn't really useful, whereas searches on mobile devices likely tend towards needs. As with the iPhone and Google searches, and I can attest to it, making it available makes it happen. Quick, easy, and slow...

    How much more gets done with 1gps versus 128k? Not much IMHO.
  • 2.4 million jobs.

    And what jobs are those? TFA doesn't say. Sure some temporary jobs would be created to build the infrastructure and a few more permanent jobs will be created to maintain it but what other jobs will be created? /.'s title is a bad one as TFA is more about money saved not jobs created.

    Falcon
    • by vought (160908)

      Increased US Broadband Adoption Could Create 2.4 Million Jobs
      ...in tech support.

      There. Fixed that for you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by n6kuy (172098)
        > > Increased US Broadband Adoption Could Create 2.4 Million Jobs
        > ...in tech support.
        ... In India.

        > There. Fixed that for you.

        Still had a bug.
      • Increased US Broadband Adoption Could Create 2.4 Million Jobs

        ...in tech support.

        Yea, neither TFA or the study itself say what jobs will be created. Actually they both more about saving money, job creation has nothing to do with it.

        Falcon
    • by krbvroc1 (725200)
      I'm surprised at all the naysaying and skepticism about increasing broadband availability. Even the title is misleading - 'Broadband adoption'. It creates a mindset that if people only demanded broadband and adopted it... The issue is availability and the lack of it, especially in markets that cost the telcos more dollars per customer to wire/reach.

      It seems obvious to me that if you some rural location with a low cost of living was wired it could allow those areas to be more competitive with outsourcing ove
      • It seems obvious to me that if you some rural location with a low cost of living was wired it could allow those areas to be more competitive with outsourcing overseas or south of the border.

        Most of those jobs don't pay much though, and they don't create new jobs. At most they bring back jobs that were outsourced to begin with. Like what Dell did. At first Dell sent support to India but ended up relocating support to Carolina, I don't recall whether North or South. Outsourcing to India didn't really w

  • by Ferzerp (83619) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:42PM (#22510920)
    "decreased the average amount of time residents spent driving by 100 hours per month"

    Huh? The average resident now drives 3 hours less per day? Is everyone in KY a truck driver or something?
    • by FSWKU (551325)

      Huh? The average resident now drives 3 hours less per day? Is everyone in KY a truck driver or something?
      If the 75-90% concentration of "Drivers Wanted" ads in any paper in the state are an indication, yes.
    • by kesuki (321456)
      Apparently by resident they meant 'lackey of the local hospital' since the only documents i could find 'driving' savings from were hospitals, that now transmit medical data via computer, instead of sending them by courier to the major hospitals where specialists determine whats wrong etc. and how that creates jobs is beyond me, it sounds like it replaces the job of 'medical document carrier' with no jobs.

      perhaps the manufacturer of medical equipment that transmits and allows specialists to return a diagno
    • by tompaulco (629533)
      How many days a month do you work? Looks to me like more like 5 hours less per day. So indeed, it sounds like a lot of truckers lost their jobs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by compro01 (777531)

      Huh? The average resident now drives 3 hours less per day? Is everyone in KY a truck driver or something?
      no, they must just contract their article writing out to the /. editors. the study linked by TFA says the broadband folks tended to drive about 102 fewer miles per month and they somehow came up with "hours". minutes would have been closer.
      • by MemoryAid (675811)
        Everyone in Kentucky drives mule teams, unless they're rich, in which case they drive horse-drawn carriages. Mules are slow enough that miles and hours are effectively interchangeable. Horses skew the speeds upward somewhat, but it's really negligible in the context of internet broadband.
        • by _anomaly_ (127254)
          Hey now.

          I live in Kentucky (Louisville to be specific) and take offense to that.
          Maybe you're getting confused with our affinity for horse racing.

          As an aside, I'm also running for State Representative in November. And I've been reading Slashdot since '98. There's a first for everything.
          • by MemoryAid (675811)
            I admit it: I made up the part about mules, but the math didn't work out for horses; they are too fast. And clearly, Kentuckians aren't exclusively pedestrian (that's the only other way I can think of to assert such a low average speed).

            Are you saying it really was a typo?

            By the way, I drank my first bottle of Mezcal in Louisville. Good times. :-P

    • by samkass (174571)
      The original report said miles, not hours. The article made a mistake copying the text, apparently.
  • by distantbody (852269) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:50PM (#22510960) Journal
    Some might think 'what's done is done, it's in the past, it was done a decade ago'. Surely someone is keeping this issue alive because, even with all the time that has since past, there is still a huge public interest that needs to be served by ripping that money back, by whatever means necessary, to send the message that: 'for all of our belief in contractual agreements, and for all of our corrupt, lazy and intimidated politicians and government; no-one so vastly screws with our hard-earned money and future prosperity and gets away with it, regardless of whether it was committed a year ago, ten years ago, or whether the contract set performance penalties or not' I want to see the looks on the executives and senators faces who, long thinking they had got away with it, all-of-a-sudden get the f**k charged out of them. Someone needs to keep this issue alive.
    • I'm a little lost... what $200 Billion? Ten years ago, I was thirteen and not very aware of politics. :) Are you talking about last mile infrastructure?
      • The $200B is a figure that is supposed to represent the value of the tax incentives and legislative and regulatory changes that was supposed to augment broadband deployment. It helped finance, the dot-boom which left the country littered with dark cable, and Ebay stuffed to the gills with used internet equipment; now the problem is in the last mile and artificial shortages on the "backbone". Maybe what we need is an "Unused Tax". If a service provide has a territory and is unable to service customers inside
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 21, 2008 @10:58PM (#22511006)
    This is a tech related jobs article which seems to have been accidentally truncated.

    Increased US Broadband Adoption Could Create 2.4 Million Jobs in India

    fixed
  • Opportunity cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by homer_s (799572) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @11:00PM (#22511022)
    Whenever some one proposes a great govt. undertaking that will "create jobs"*, ask yourself what the opportunity cost is - in other words, what use would the money have been put to had it not been taken away and invested somewhere else.

    *The challenge is not to create jobs, but to create wealth. If the govt.just wants to create jobs, they can hire a million goons to destroy stuff and hire another million people to rebuild stuff - boom, 2 million jobs created.
    • The assumption is inherent that those jobs are to do something productive. If a town builds a new hospital capable of handling 1000 more ER calls a week, that doesn't mean that the cops are going to go around beating people to meet a quota. But, thanks for the clarification, Mr. Norquist.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by homer_s (799572)
        If the money to build the new hospital was taken away from a sanitation project that could save more lives, then yes, it is a net loss.

        That is a simple economic fact, but I feel it is wasted on you since you are intent on childish name calling. Maybe you should be on reddit/digg with the other kids?
      • Obviously you've never been in an ER in a major US city, when I was in Detroit Receiving's ER, the Law Enforcement and Correction Officer out number the staff and probably equaled the patients.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shadwstalkr (111149)
      If the govt.just wants to create jobs, they can hire a million goons to destroy stuff and hire another million people to rebuild stuff - boom, 2 million jobs created.

      Apparently you don't keep up with the news.
    • by Skim123 (3322)

      The challenge is not to create jobs, but to create wealth. If the govt.just wants to create jobs, they can hire a million goons to destroy stuff and hire another million people to rebuild stuff - boom, 2 million jobs created.

      What do you think war is for?

      I have pretty libertarian views and prefer smaller government, but I can see the allure and benefits to projects like this and increased spending on infrastructure (roads, rail, etc.). I wish we'd get the hell out of the Middle East and use the trillion or so we'd save (and countless lives) and do two things with that savings: reduce taxes and increase physical and technological infrastructure.

  • by grandpa-geek (981017) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @11:09PM (#22511074)
    From their document, this looks like a front for the cable industry and the telcos who are peddling what they call broadband. Their "broadband" is really at dumbed down legacy speeds compared to what other countries in the world are doing.

    Real broadband is gigabit speed, bi-directional, to homes and small businesses. It allows every subscriber to become a content provider. The cable industry sees itself as being part of the entertainment industry, and the telcos would like to join the broadband-as-entertainment model. Real broadband scares the entertainment industry because they see it as a challenge to their business model.

    The economic impact of real broadband would be immense. I like to analogize the comparison of legacy broadband to real broadband as the difference between animal power and engine power. If one horsepower is a fundamental limit, innovators will try to work out ways of getting two horses to work together. If power comes from engines, innovation goes to a much higher level. Innovators in countries with with real broadband can conceive ideas that American innovators can't even imagine.

    The sponsors of this report are pushing legislation. I would urge people to examine the legislation to see how it defines broadband. If it doesn't talk about gigabit to the home, it is part of the trend in which the US is becoming a third world telecommunications country to protect entertainment business models.
    • by kamapuaa (555446) on Friday February 22, 2008 @01:06AM (#22511714) Homepage
      In Japan, very fast broadband is common, but online shopping is much less popular in Japan than in the US, and in fact Japanese people are more likely to use their cell phones to browse the Internet than their broadband connections - mostly for chatting, which could easily be done on a 2400 baud modem. The Japanese software industry sucks, their economy has been in an 18 year rut...

      Just saying "the economic impact of real broadband would be immense" isn't enough. What would be the economic impact? You vaguely mention "people becoming content providers", but isn't Youtube a better model than running your own server off broadband for this? Why is Youtube popular in Japan? And why haven't amazing new business models been developed in nations that do have near-universal broadband?

      Anyway, generally speaking, broadband is easily and widely available in the US as long as you live in an urban or semi-populated area. Any business model would revolve around them, not people in the countryside or people who just haven't bothered upgrading from AOL, because it's good enough for e-mail.

      • Just saying "the economic impact of real broadband would be immense" isn't enough.

        My opinion is that is. Why build a highway system, when people are just going to use it for visiting their neighbours. Infrastructure questions are historically narrow and shortsighted, embarassingly so for the generations that follow.

        Anyway, generally speaking, broadband is easily and widely available in the US as long as you live in an urban or semi-populated area.

        Generally speaking, 640K was easily and widely available, b
    • "Share" a theatrical movie in five minutes or less. Students can be really disappointed when they move into the real world.
  • "The reason why your super-mega fast connection is behaving like a 300 baud modem is that you downloaded an illegal MP3 with some naughty bits. Next time, please download a legitimate MP3 file with no naughty bits from one of our approved sponsors if you want to maintain faster service."
  • In other news (Score:4, Informative)

    by bagsc (254194) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @11:11PM (#22511096) Journal
    Infrastructure reduces costs. Reduced costs increase consumption, which increases jobs. The question is not whether the infrastructure is beneficial (it is), but whether it is the best use of money given the risks. Of course AT&T thinks the government paying for their broadband network is good for the world.
  • Having a political party come into office that is dedicated to taking an engineer's eye to fixing the legal code of the entire state. The last figure I saw for the cost to businesses to comply with federal income tax requirements was $289B. Just going to a flat tax would be an automatic release of $289B worth of labor! There are so many messed up statutes and regulations that a savvy political party wouldn't even need to do much in the way of cutting taxes. All it would have to do is start repealing old law
    • by Skim123 (3322)

      Having a political party come into office that is dedicated to taking an engineer's eye to fixing the legal code of the entire state. The last figure I saw for the cost to businesses to comply with federal income tax requirements was $289B. Just going to a flat tax would be an automatic release of $289B worth of labor!

      Although it's not like $289B would materialize out of nowhere. It would be $289B less for the accountants of the world.

      Granted, it would improve efficiency and productivity for the economy as a whole. But you could see how certain people would be against it. It would be akin to the government allowing an unlimited number of visas for overseas developers. A net positive for our economy (and the world), but your average developer who now has more competition is likely going to frown on such legislature.

  • by prostoalex (308614) * on Thursday February 21, 2008 @11:48PM (#22511316) Homepage Journal
    Top jobs created by broadband adoption:

    1) Comcast traffic filterer
    2) MPAA P2P network monitor
    3) DMCA takedown notices writer
    4) RIAA fake torrent uploader
    5) Botnet senior manager
    6) Senior wiretap installer
  • by heroine (1220) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @11:51PM (#22511340) Homepage
    For all the trillions of dollars pouring into alternative fuels, hybrid cars, & transportation taxes, all it would take to solve most of this problem is willingness to let workers telecommute.

    It's like living in a parallel universe where we sit in traffic 10 hours a week & spend half our income getting to work with all these unused internet cables sitting just a few feet away.
  • by Vskye (9079)
    Seriously, at least where I live you have a choice between 1 crap ass broadband company and dsl. The city / town does said contract with cable provider and your locked in. As an example, I'm suppose to get 5mb down and 512K up, but for the past month I've been anywhere from 0.20% (faster than dialup at 56K) to 1.5MB. Beg's to differ the WTF factor. My ISP is, Charter. Their tech support sucks, and is out of India. (script reading dumb ass that has not a clue.. at least to the ones I've spoke to) Seriously
  • That's what's needed in America today.
     
  • to fill those jobs that they can't export, and at half the hourly rate American workers would take.

    After all, the lawyers have video seminars training employers on exactly how to avoid hiring expensive American workers and get only HB1 folks. Meanwhile, Gates and the other greedy multi-nationals will continue to spout the smoke screen about how it is impossible to find American workers who have "the necessary skills" as the bribe their congressional sock puppets to pass more bills to continue to allow such
  • As long as any buildout requires an imposed moratorium on offshoring(on all jobs) for at least 20-30 years, requires strong checks on citizenship, and has an (not passable to anyone else) early termination fee/violation fee determined by the taxation on all foreign held assets taxed at a >100% rate, sure. Repeat requirements in a large enough region to prevent needless state-state warfare.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

Working...