If the 19th century experienced an agricultural revolution and the 20th century one of manufacturing, we believe the 21st century will be the century of a network-driven communications revolution – where economic value will increasingly reside in bits and bytes, rather than in the atoms and molecules of products and commodities. In the future, economic opportunity will no longer be limited by time, distance, resource constraints or geography. This paper focuses on how this vision can become a reality.
This is a critical moment in our history. Natural resources, such as oil, are becoming harder to access and more expensive to purchase. Global oil demand is projected to grow over 1% per year on average from 85 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2008 to 105 mb/d in 2030. Much of this growth will come from emerging economies.1 China and India, for example, used about 11 mb/d in 2008; by 2030 this figure is expected to grow to 23 mb/d.1 This is equivalent to consuming the United States’ strategic oil reserve – 727 million barrels2
– in just 31 days.
The most competitive economies of tomorrow will be those that see the resource constraints we face today as an opportunity, and revolutionize the way they operate to generate increased value using fewer resources. So, as with every major crossroads, we have a choice – an opportunity. We can continue with the old way of doing things, in full recognition that volatile oil prices and our dependence on imported oil will become more and more costly. Or, we can seize this moment to create a more equitable, higher growth, lower carbon economy, by nurturing and growing an advanced communications network that will enable us to fundamentally change the way we live, work and play.
We believe that investment in broadband will not only provide the foundation for the 21st century economy but will also help stimulate job creation, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase access to goods and services, such as healthcare and education opportunities, across the United States and especially in rural areas.
In this paper, we highlight the potential of the Information Communications Technology (ICT) companies to help stimulate a high growth, low environmental impact economy. These companies include AT&T, Cisco, HP, IBM and Microsoft — companies that produce the hardware, develop the applications and provide the services that enable us to create and communicate information of all kinds.
Most importantly in this paper, we highlight how investing in a robust, reliable and high speed communications network and advanced broadband could have significant economic, environmental and social benefits, by ensuring citizens and governments, businesses and institutions have access to low cost, high capacity internet, whenever and wherever.
The ICT sector generates greater economic value (net income generation and jobs) than many other sectors for every metric ton of carbon it emits.
We term this ‘value per ton of carbon’. The role of ICT as an enabler for other companies to grow and reduce their emissions is also important. It can help other sectors increase their net income per ton of carbon by driving energy efficiencies and transforming the way we live and work.
• The average rate of growth in the U.S. economy between 2004 and 2006 was 3.2%. The ICT producing industries growth exceeded 11% during this period.3
• The Smart 2020 U.S addendum showed that ICT could help the U.S. reduce emissions annually by an estimated 13-22% from business as usual projections and potentially achieve gross energy and fuel savings of U.S. $140-$240 billion.4
• The ICT sector generates over
$4,000 of net income per ton of CO2 equivalent which is double that of the Consumer Staples sector and seven times that of the Materials sector, based on CDP analysis.
• The computer systems and related services industry is one of the largest and fastest sources of employment growth. Employment in this area has been predicted to increase by 450,000 jobs between 2004 and 2014.5
We believe the 21st century will be the century of a network-driven communications revolution – where economic value will increasingly reside in bits and bytes, rather than in the atoms and molecules of products and commodities.
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