Time for Local Government to be Innovative

Do you have an Apple Watch yet? Probably not, unless you are among the 1 percent of the world that are early adopters – you know, those folks who just have to have the latest thing. I’m clearly not one of them. It took a new boss years ago to force me to get a Blackberry, and then my Blackberry had to die right in my hand before I would go to an iPhone. Looking back, it seems like these choices were inevitable, and it was just a matter of time before I caved in and adopted what became new standards in technology.

And, so it seems, goes the adoption of high-speed broadband by communities and municipalities. Just a few years ago, having moved past dial-up and gotten some level of broadband for most citizens seemed fine, but now it’s not. For communities, it’s a question of how fast to evolve, when and who pays. Do something splashy today, and become one of the leading edge communities and you get some attention. Wait until everyone is doing it, and you will be just one of the pack. With a desire to attract Millennials to replace Baby Boomers as the workforce in most places in the NorthEast, it seems like making a big move to high bandwidth broadband might pay off.

Unfortunately, it’s a rare community that will take the leap and be ahead of the pack…it’s not in the DNA of Town Managers and Town Councilors to be Early Adopters. Afterall, they are in many ways the keepers of the status quo. It will take an informed and forward looking citizenry to demand that our communities take on the most important physical infrastructure upgrades of our times.

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