In Broadband, the Questions Not Asked Can Kill Ya

I tell people in my presentations and workshops that knowing the right questions to ask is often equally or more important than the answers you get. Or the corollary of this philosophy, the questions you don’t ask could doom your project.

The ship Titantic’s front hull was built and fortified in answer to the question “what if we hit an iceberg head on?” But the ship’s demise came from no one apparently asking the question, “what if the ship sideswipes an iceberg?” Titantic’s bow could take a major hit and sustain damage in a way that probably wouldn’t have sunk her. But alas, the iceberg that did her in scraped the less durable side of the ship, slicing open four compartments that ultimately flooded and sunk the ship.

A common question today from critics of communities’ desire for a gigabit network is, “who needs a gigabit?” A question driven logically but shortsightedly by the fact that very few applications exist that can move a gigabit per second.

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Chattanooga Provides Best Practices for Community Broadband Planning

I think it’s safe to say that quite a few people involved with broadband projects feel they don’t know all they should about what’s needed to make these projects successful. Hang in there. Help is on the way.

Luckily, we have a fair number of broadband stimulus projects well on their way to success across the country. There also are many projects funded from other sources that are doing well, some of which have been highlighted on my radio talk show, Gigabit Nation.

On the other hand, there also are projects struggling. This string of comments on LinkedIn highlights what I mean – http://linkd.in/xsr4cP (you may have to cut and past the link). Plus there are plenty of communities still trying to get past the drawing board. New perspectives and new strategies to boost broadband adoption efforts would help quite a few projects.

For those in trouble, in doubt or just plain in search of solid best practices for creating an effective strategy to bring better, faster broadband to your community, I present – Winning the Battle for Better Broadband: Lessons learned from Chattanooga and others building successful networks. I’m dissecting and analyzing steps Chattanooga took to create a successful gigabit network, plus adding information from many other communities to create a big-picture view of best practices for using broadband to impact local economic development.

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