There is a Broadband report that you should all read: Bigger Vision, Bolder Action, Brighter Future: Capturing the Promise of Broadband for North Carolina and America (The Baller Herbst Report)
Here are some great excerpted quotes:
Broadband is not simply a consumer service or good, like cable television or an XBox. Rather, it is also a distribution system, a personal tool for interacting with the world, and a catalyst and enabler of an endless array of other products, processes, and services. Broadband will increasingly become integrated into virtually everything that we do at work, at home, and at play. From economic development to entertainment, from education to health care, from environmental sustainability to public safety and homeland security, from our smallest hamlets to our largest cities, from our young people to our senior citizens, almost everything and everyone will come to depend directly or indirectly on affordable and ubiquitous access to broadband.
From page 17 of 100
The difference between the 5-10 Mbps and the 100 Mbps is not simply one of moving data faster. It is, rather, an economically crucial difference that causes a profound shift in how the medium is used. For example, a study in Japan of the effects of widespread, near-symmetric 100 Mbps (as opposed to the asymmetric download-priority model that dominates in the U.S. and elsewhere), found a dramatic increase in the use of peer-to-peer applications of various types, as well as in the creation of a whole new class of creative "heavy hitter" users who take advantage of such applications. In other words, affordable access to high-bandwidth capacity results in a surge of applications and of both content users and content creators that does not - and cannot - exist in an asymmetric, low-capacity environment.
There are two important lessons to be gleaned from the experience in Japan. The first is the crucial importance of robust upstream connections, enabling users to produce and distribute their own content and applications. The second is that "big" broadband, as opposed to puny broadband at DSL and CMS speeds, makes not only a quantitative difference, but also a crucial and economically significant qualitative difference.
b. Case Histories
Lafayette, La.: "When Nucomm International needed to locate a new call center - one that would add 1,000 jobs ... to the local economy - it chose Lafayette, Louisiana, because the city is building a massive fiber network to connect everyone."