CEO of Cisco - one of the leading Internet technology vendors in the world - writes about the US government stimulus package and the strategy called "100Mbit Nation".

He comments on a number of area including quoting the now famous "highways were key the infrastructure of the 20th century as broadband is the key infrastructure of the 21st century". But what interested me most is his reference to Cisco's HealthPresence.

He says, "Until the 1950 our nation’s roads were slow and the quality was unpredictable, which hindered commerce and travel. The modern highway system made our country accessible and in the process, created new industries — transforming our economy and by extension, our society."

In relation to broadband, "That is what ultra high-speed broadband does. Think of how far we’ve come in just the last decade, when dial-up was the norm and the Internet was only used to surf, send an email, or order a product or service. Now the Internet is largely defined by video and various levels of interaction among users, such as through virtual meetings with co-workers located in cities around the world."

I have just come back from a conference in which I spoke about FTTH as a key infrastructure. I was frequently asked what can people do with so much bandwidth. Its not about what we can do with it now, but increasing our broadband speeds to 100 Mbps from the current median of about 1 Mbps will have a transformative effect on our economy and our society. High-speed networking enables new human collaboration at a profound level, and such collaboration will radically change the way we think.

Chambers goes on to comment specifically about the benefits FTTH can deliver for healthcare, "In health care .... remote consultations with doctors via our HealthPresence system are enabled when life-size, “HD” images and information are transmitted over such networks to doctors who can speak directly to patients, view the data real-time and help make a diagnosis hundreds if not thousands of miles away."

As the Baby Boomers place an increasing level of stress on our health care system, telemedicine is the next frontier, but it cannot happen unless all of our connections are fast and reliable. Having the infrastructure will enabled the development of new and affordable applications - like HealthPresence.

If 100 Mbps delivered to the home seems ambitious, consider the position of Japan and South Korea who already reach many homes with 100Mbps, and have a national average broadband speed of 49Mbps. A reseach paper by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has found that South Korea with a population 1/6th of the United States is generating almost as much Internet traffic.

In the report the ITIF found the rollout of a ubiquitos Broadband network would increase tele-working by 19million people. That would save up to 1.5 billion hours of commute time and reduce fuel consumption by 5 percent.


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