Part 5: Connecting to the Visual Experience Era

This is our final installment of our series on the benefits of broadband for communities!

The last benefit area under
discussion in this paper is one that places the heaviest demands on a city’s
broadband infrastructure – ubiquitous telepresence, or the ‘always-on visual
experience.’ Increasingly, HD-quality video is being used to break down perceived
barriers of distance, whether between an employee and employer, a patient and a
physician in a distant city, an air quality sensor and a central utility
operations room, or a distant field irrigation meter and a city water planner.
The closer we can bring distant entities together with video, the less relevant
the real distance between them becomes.

That distance is important to
consider in both directions for municipal planners – in terms of both ways to
bring the citizenry closer to outside opportunities, and ways to bring outside
services closer to the population. The first of these includes remote work (see
above), but so much more as well – from bringing cultural and artistic events
in distant cities to smaller towns in full HD, to enabling citizens to take
part in political events on a regional basis.

The second of these – bringing
outside services closer to the population – makes a small town feel ‘bigger’
when need be. The promise of distance telemedicine delivered in full HD means
that a small town can have access to specialists in other cities. Working in
conjunction with local healthcare staff, distant physicians can instruct the
on-site team what to look for, and gauge patient reaction and response and act