Gigabit Internet: If they build it will jobs come?

As Canadians wait for the federal digital economy strategy, a number of U.S. communities are involved in projects bringing Gigabit Internet service to residences.

The most well-known of these is Google’s fledgling service in Kansas City, but there are also efforts elsewhere. On Friday, for example, the governor of Illinois announced a US$1 million grant to bring ultra high-speed Internet to the city of Evanston, home of Northwestern University. There’s also the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program.

All of this is to serve the hope that faster Internet means the ability of people to innovate, better economic growth and jobs. Some of that is reflected in the competition to be intelligent communities. But if you build it, will jobs come?

Three months into Google’s Kansas City experiment the Washington Post (link below) has taken a look at the promise and what’s being delivered. It’s early days, but the piece is a good take on how high the expectations are.


(Fibre optic image from Shutterstock)



The U.S. isn’t alone on this. Shaw Communications Inc. has been experimenting with Gigabit access in select communities in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Which brings us to the federal digital plan: Should the government set a national goal for carriers to aspire? If so, should it offer funds or tax incentives? Should it wait for the private sector to do it on their timetable, or form public-private partnerships?

Or is 1 Gbps access an overblown dream?

We welcome your thoughts.