Craig Silliman: Broadband Plays Integral Role in Healthcare, Energy, and Education

by Marcella Gadson on January 31, 2014

In communications policy debates in Washington, it is all too easy to get caught up in business and technical jargon, only to lose sight of the individuals—the consumers—who are impacted. Verizon Senior Vice President for Public Policy, Craig Silliman, spoke to this during a panel entitled “Broadband: The Backbone of the New Economy” at MMTC’s 2014 Broadband and Social Justice Summit, on January 16 (see the remarks here at 34:49)

“We talk about infrastructure and investments, but what it comes down to is communities and what broadband does,” he said.  Silliman noted three key areas in which mobility and cloud computing play an integral role: healthcare, energy, and education.

Silliman said most healthcare spending still focuses on managing illnesses, as opposed to monitoring to prevent illness.  Citing enormous investments currently made for emergency rooms and to treat heart disease, asthma and diabetes, Silliman emphasized the potential for broadband to enable patients to use broadband and technology to manage the “ebbs and flows” of glucose levels, which can actually help prevent a diabetic incident. Health IT technologies also allow patients to have access to health care professionals who can monitor their vital statistics remotely, Silliman said, reducing the need for patients to have physical proximity to a hospital.

Silliman also discussed the potential for cloud computing to reduce energy costs. By allowing consumers to keep track of their energy consumption, consumer energy devices can often save consumers as much as $30 on their monthly energy bill, Silliman said, “For some of us, if the energy bill is $30 more per month, it does not mean the difference between whether there will be enough money for food and to pay bills.  It is not the same for underserved communities.”

In saying “education is fundamentally an information technology problem,” Silliman also pointed to the benefits of mobility of cloud computing in classrooms. “Mobile technology and cloud computing enable teachers to provide individual help to students,” Silliman said. “Teachers can use data metrics to discern what each student needs.”

View the entire Broadband: Backbone of the New Economy panel from the Fifth Annual Broadband and Social Justice Summit here.

  • Marcella Gadson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Broadband and Social Justice Web Magazine and Director of Communications at the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC).

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