Wired for Growth

From the Desk of the Editor in Chief

There’s been a lot of talk lately about infrastructure. When an interstate highway bridge falls into the Mississippi River, we all know it’s time for a major overhaul.

But in today’s hyperconnected global economy, infrastructure isn’t limited to roads and bridges. As this month’s cover story reveals, there is a new type of infrastructure under construction that also is critical to growth. You can’t see much of this progress or drive over it, because it isn’t constructed with concrete and rebar. It is carrying us into the future at the speed of light, on a network built on fiber optics and wi-fi signals.

We call it Economic Development 2.0, and one of the most exciting things about this digital awakening is that it levels the playing field for everyone. Even smaller communities can rapidly deploy connectivity to realize instant economic advantages. Wired communities are quickly linking resources that fuel development and establishing wireless networks like the one that helped bring computer maker Dell to Winston-Salem.

Cash-strapped municipalities have discovered that they can outsource the creation of digital networks so they can avoid leaning on overburdened taxpayers. Current trends in metals commodity prices also are making the development of digital infrastructure a cost-effective enterprise-the fiber optic wire being used to create the new information superhighway is a lot cheaper than the copper wire that carried our old 20th-century communications system.

We encourage you to turn the page and take a megabyte-sized look at the emerging players in Economic Development 2.0. Or, if you already are living in a wired community, just click on the link for our cover story on the Business Facilities Web site.

Jack Rogers