The County Voice

The Importance of Broadband

Across California, counties are increasingly understanding the importance of leveraging broadband (or high-speed Internet) to attract new businesses, create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities. 

In order to help our county leaders envision the benefits of broadband availability, this blog will be featuring a series of articles on broadband-enabled applications such as telehealth, e-government, and precision agriculture. These applications can help improve access to healthcare, improve efficiency, and help reduce the use of precious resources like water. 

Below are a few highlights of the applications to be featured in this series:

E-GOVERNMENT: E-Government allows Californians to obtain government services online. Putting things like vehicle registration and tax filings online saves time and money for both citizens and governments.  Last year alone, E-Government saved the federal government $64 million in paper costs.

TELEHEALTH: High-quality healthcare can be delivered via telecommunications technologies if broadband capacity and deployment allow it. Health assessments, patient monitoring, and data management can all be done remotely, which allows for decreases in wait times, total costs, and can help increase access to specialists for patients in rural communities.

TELEWORKING: Working remotely and video conferencing can not only reduce traffic congestion and business costs, it can grant employees flexibility and increase productivity in doing so.  In fact, one day of telework per week by all U.S. employees would add $25 billion in economic value by 2020.

PRECISION AGRICULTURE: Real-time data can help farmers monitor and manage plants, soil and irrigation systems. Internet-enabled precision agriculture can help maximize the productivity of California’s fields and livestock while minimizing water use.

SMART BUILDINGS: Building management systems use technology to control usage patterns for heating, cooling, lighting, and more. In Northern California alone, the 481 most efficient buildings saved $148 million in annual utility costs.

These are just a few highlights of the benefits of broadband and its importance to multiple policy areas, including economic development.  We look forward to bringing you additional information on each of the topics in this blog series.

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