I believe that the
Internet is the "highway" of our future, and that the communities
we live in will eventually either rise or fall based on their ability
to use this "Highway" to meet economic targets and improve delivery
of education, health, and e-government.
It is essential that Canadian communities begin to include telecommunications
in their community plan. What type of people and businesses do we
want to attract? What type of infrastructure do they require? What
do their families want in terms of access to education, health and
other services and how can we capitalize on telecommunications to
provide these services?
In our current situation, communities are almost powerless in these
matters. Our electronic roads and highways are owned and controlled
by a few "Trucking Companies" or Telco's and they are usually built
based on business plans that use three to five year payback models.
In small markets, this approach promotes monopolies, which in turn
promotes higher prices and fewer services. In very small markets
it often means that there may be no services at all.
I see community-owned networks, private/community schools and private
health facilities as symptoms of the same problem. Unless the traditional
"Trucking Companies" shift to more responsive, flexible, and decentralized
delivery mechanisms, Canadians should expect to see an increase
in the number of these decentralized, community-based solutions
proliferating from the edges. After all, that is the paradigm of
the Age of the Internet.