January 2, 2014
The quality of the U.S. infrastructure is deteriorating at a rate that is unable to keep up with global competition. It is possibly an unfair statement to use the term “competition” as each nation has its own responsibility to provide improvements. One of the gaps is the “U.S. Struggles to Keep Pace in Delivering Broadband Service” that demotes education, communication, knowledge management and innovation for safety and security.
According to Motorola’s report, “AMI and Beyond: How Wireless Broadband Enables the Smart Grid Today and Tomorrow” indicates that, “It’s no surprise then that a growing number of utility companies have decided to build their own private wireless broadband communications networks to support their AMI and Smart Grid applications.”
This supposes an enabled broadband grid allows smart options for growth and data integration. It is in this thinking that infrastructural development is vital to a strong nation agile to assimilate knowledge that breads a secure and safe grid.
Consider the new from the New York Times that reported, “San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States, a progressive and economically vibrant metropolis of 1.4 million people sprawled across south-central Texas. But the speed of its Internet service is no match for the Latvian capital, Riga, a city of 700,000 on the Baltic Sea. Riga’s average Internet speed is at least two-and-a-half times that of San Antonio’s, according to Ookla, a research firm that measures broadband speeds around the globe. In other words, downloading a two-hour high-definition movie takes, on average, 35 minutes in San Antonio — and 13 in Riga.”
What is vital to note is “the cost of Riga’s service is about one-fourth that of San Antonio”.
“The United States, the country that invented the Internet, is falling dangerously behind in offering high-speed, affordable broadband service to businesses and consumers, according to technology experts and an array of recent studies. In terms of Internet speed and cost, “ours seems completely out of whack with what we see in the rest of the world,” said Susan Crawford, a law professor at Yeshiva University in Manhattan, a former Obama administration technology adviser and a leading critic of American broadband.”
When you travel other countries it becomes quite clear how behind the U.S. is across many sectors. In China it is easier to have 5-7 cell phones still at a lower cost than the average U.S. user. In Russia, it was easy to witness that many had multiple cable access cheaper than the average U.S. billed customer.
The infrastructure challenged if not agreed upon or at least, “agree to disagree” in 2014 without encumbrance to development will deter the U.S. social, mobile and energy growth. It is not the optimal situation to allow private industries such as, Google, Facebook and Utilities to create their own solutions for the energy-technology nexus.
The companies leading the way to support their infrastructure will lend innovation to the overall grid but will create puzzle pieces that may be hard to connect for a full picture. The opportunity is to enable smart grid and broadband optimization for a vibrant U.S. infrastructure.