Archived Story

Racing towards the future

Published 5:41pm Saturday, August 9, 2014

I recently got a new cell phone. Even though I got a newer version of the same brand, it was a painful process. I had trouble transferring my contacts to the new phone.

I needed all new chargers. I thought what I often think about technology: why can’t I just keep what I have? It works fine and I don’t like change.

I sometimes hear the same reaction to the proposed Gig Austin ultra-broadband project.

People have Internet that is fine right now and they don’t like change. I know where they are coming from. If ultra-broadband were another incremental step in data-transfer technology, I might agree.

But ultra-broadband is not an incremental step. The proposed ultra-broadband project in Austin would install fiber optic cable throughout the community. Fiber optic cable will carry data at very high speeds now—up to one gig—and is scalable in the future. By switching the technology sending data, fiber optic cable will support higher and higher speeds.

These higher speeds are necessary to support a strong business sector as bandwidth needs for both businesses and residents double every two years. Ultra-high-speed data is fast becoming an expected utility. Businesses and residents comparing potential communities for relocation rank quick, easy and affordable access to ultra-high-speed data transfer infrastructure a key factor in decision-making.

Building community-wide infrastructure for ultra-broadband is like building railroads in the nineteenth century. We all know that Austin’s economy enjoyed growth and prosperity because of geographic proximity to the Milwaukee Road railroad starting in the late 1870s.

Austin has the opportunity to build our own 21st-century infrastructure that will connect us to the world and facilitate growth and prosperity for generations to come: ultra-broadband. I think that is a good idea.

Find out more about the proposed Gig Austin project at www.gigaustin.org.


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