The fundamental challenge in this recession is that the growth that preceded it was a mirage. Bubble era borrowing created a network of financial jobs, real estate jobs and construction jobs that collapsed with the end of the bubble. Many of those jobs will never return.
An extremely high proportion (75%) of job losses in this recession are permanent rather than temporary. States will need to nurture completely new industry sectors and the infrastructure to support those jobs, while the jobless will need retraining in new skills to participate in those sectors.
State governments may seek
additional funding for up to three additional years on broadband
projects. The announcement comes from the National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (NTIA) who recognized
that "better data and strategic planning are needed on the state level.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week unveiled the
long-awaited plan with a vast array of information and recommendations
to address these problems, as well as approaches to maximize the
economic and social gains from broadband adoption.
While building a green economy is often discussed as a distinct goal from investing in broadband or overcoming the growing digital divide in our society, new communication technologies are actually a critical part of making our energy-hungry economy more sustainable and energy-efficient.
Deploying broadband and related communication technologies, including
smart meters in the home and smart grids to upgrade our power grid,
have the potential of revolutionizing energy management and economic
development, according to a new report by the Progressive States Network released in association with our partners, Communications Workers of America, the Sierra Club and the Blue Green Alliance. Last
Thursday, leaders from those organizations convened at a panel on
Capitol Hill, hosted by U.S. Representative Edward Markey, Chairman
of the U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global
Warming, and joined by Nick Sinai, Director of Energy and Environment
for the FCC's Broadband Strategy Plan, to discuss the findings of the
report entitled Networking the Green Economy
As this Dispatch will highlight, the first step is to fund jobs
that support long-term economic competitiveness, notably by investing
in people and physical infrastructure. While the economic climate for
profit-making business opportunities is more limited, investments in
education, health care, transit and energy efficiency can create
immediate jobs while strengthening building blocks for long-term
With the passage of HB 1701 the Washington State legislature once again demonstrated its understandingthat when combating the digital divide states must not just addressaccess issues, but must also focus on dealing with the barriers to broadband adoption by individuals.
Many states have
created funds to help encourage
private sector investment in high-speed Internet infrastructure. These states typically employ matching
grants to improve the financial feasibility for service providers to expand
operations to previously un-served areas.
Other states have issued direct funding for projects or research,
including the creation of public sector entities that use state funds to
construct and lease high-speed Internet infrastructure.