Help Detroit, Help America

by Mike Wendy on August 17, 2017

Abandoned retail store – a common sight in beleaguered Detroit

I visited Detroit for the first time this past weekend to see relatives. What I saw there shocked me – not my relatives, but the decay of the city itself. What was once a proud and world-class city had fallen prey to forces too numerous to list here.

Yes, Motown still has a lot to offer, but it remains a shell of what it was in its heyday. Perhaps the city will once again become the “Silicon Valley” it was, especially with the development of autonomous cars and IoT. But right now, that revitalization seems far off.

I’m not a big believer in big government programs to solve seemingly intractable challenges like those facing Detroit (and elsewhere in America). That said, I see some modest communications policy ideas that, in my mind, are worth a good try to help move Detroit (and us) in the direction of renewed economic growth and prosperity.

General Motors – the “Silicon Valley” of the past century…and, maybe, someday in the near future?

Simply, they are:

  • Release more spectrum so that the wireless revolution can grow further, enabling the spread of life-bettering, productivity-enhancing wireless tools, which can be affordably accessed by all Americans.
  • Reduce federal, state and local barriers to the expansion of broadband – such as enacting reasonable processes surrounding rights-of-way / one touch and cell tower citing matters – so that broadband infrastructure, like fiber and 5G, can more rapidly make it out to where it needs to go.
  • Reform taxes so businesses can more quickly expense capital items; American companies aren’t at disadvantage in the global marketplace; small companies aren’t penalized just for being small; and more money remains in the pockets of hard-working Americans – all of which can incentivize the roll out and adoption of powerful new information and communications technology offerings for use in the marketplace.
  • And, repeal Title II Net Neutrality so that ISPs and “edge providers” can both more freely supply innovative, consumer-friendly services that consumers truly need and desire, and deploy more broadband infrastructure to connect all Americans to the Internet.

No doubt more could be done to get Detroit – and America – productive and prosperous again. That noted, Uncle Sam and his counterparts in the states and municipalities would do well to follow these modest policies to prime that pump.

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