Our View: FIber a good fit for economy

Jan. 25, 2013 @ 09:34 AM

 

During his inauguration speech, President Barack Obama stated that America needs to utilize technology to assist with the infrastructure of economic development.

We agree with the president that faster fiber optic broadband Internet connectivity is a significant driver to that initiative.

But, we have fallen behind the works of other countries in the realization that high-speed Internet available to every American home is a necessity to bring businesses and, more importantly, jobs to corners of the country like Rutherford County.

We have already seen what high-capacity Internet can do for a community with the installation of a Facebook Data Center in Forest City.

While Facebook is not employing thousands, the name alone is something that the county can, and should, use for future economic development.

And, Facebook has provided countless jobs through the construction of it buildings located off of U.S. 74 highway, thus creating more for the economy of the county that has yet to be realized.

Recently, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a challenge to build more large fiber networks across the country, with North Carolina and Rutherford County being included.

However, the fact remains that his words will fall on deaf ears without our leaders in Washington backing them up with a pro growth set of rules that makes it advantageous to, not just create these information-enriched networks, but also for businesses to realize the benefits they provide to our corner of the world.

One problem has come at the behest of large corporations that have flexed their policy muscles to keep agencies like the FCC bogged down which keeps prices for high-speed Internet too high for most American consumers and speeds lagging behind where they should be.

Local companies like PANGAEA have made a conscious effort to lay the groundwork for implementing fiber optic networking in underserved areas of Rutherford County and they should be applauded for their efforts.

But, in order for Rutherford County to be able to take full advantage of high-speed fiber optic Internet, our leaders in Washington have to make the playing field more competitive. That means allowing states to create the ability to remove laws that make the process less competitive.

In addition, we also have to have access to reasonably priced high-speed Internet. As a recent piece in the New York Times pointed out, we made strides to create a universal telephone service for every American in the 20th century and that kind of effort should be applied to current technology, like high-speed access.

The FCC has the opportunity to help areas like Rutherford County become more in touch with high-speed Internet and the economic development it can provide.

We believe that the opportunity needs to be backed by thoughtful action by the federal government.

Based on his speech, the president appears to be on-board with the initiative. Now, it is time to get our lawmakers to make this happen.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board

 

The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark