TIA Blog


Creating 21st Century Jobs with Community Hubs

12-13-11 Jobs – the lack of them and the plans to create them – are the focus of the public, the press and the one or two real political contenders in this primary season.  New York Times columnist Tom Friedman argues in his Sunday December 11 column that broadband infrastructure and connectivity is a key component of job creation, especially for anyone hoping to make a living in the global information age in which we live. 

Friedman features the work of Harvard’s Howard Katz who argues that the growth of regional hubs – like Austin, Silicon Valley, Raleigh-Durham – are the model for 21st century job creation, especially for knowledge workers.  Mr. Katz’s conclusions mirror the work of TIA, and organizations such as Connected Nation, OneEconomy and others who at work throughout the country actually implementing this hub concept in one degree or another.

Katz argues that regions that are best positioned for job growth feature robust broadband infrastructure as a foundational, but also include the value created by the confluence of universities, high-tech manufacturing companies, software and services companies and nimble start-ups, all of which collaborate and compete to bring new products and services to the global market.

Connected Nation has a successful track record and model of doing just that: bringing together private interests and public agencies in local areas to provide the capital and services to bring broadband infrastructure to communities that do not have adequate connectivity. Call it community hubs, rather than Katz’s regional hubs, but the idea is the same.

Connected Nation’s Connect Appalachia Broadband is one such success story. Another is Connect Texas, which will host its “Texas Broadband Summit” at the TIA 2011 Conference & Exhibition in Dallas next June.

ICT infrastructure matters to the nation’s health and global competitiveness, and it matters to anyone who wants to make a living in the global economy of the 21st century.