Some of the problem with building fiber networks is that the needs of these profit-grabbing companies diverge from the public good, which requires long-term investments where the gains accrue to the economy in general. A sensible fiber system would be part of an overall smarter, 21st-century infrastructure. We should integrate planning for essential energy, water, and transportation systems with our communications transport planning. We need to affirmatively plan for fiber systems as the backbone for smart grid and distributed energy systems as well as educational networks. If we want our infrastructure to be resilient in the face of natural disasters and terrorist threats, not to mention helping us to mitigate climate change and support the growing Internet of Things, we will need a fiber-optic communications system that can respond in real time as demands change. A sensible network will work in complementary fashion with WiFi — we’ll need fiber lines deep into the neighborhoods and buildings to which those WiFi hotspots are attached. We should set high standards for ourselves — the FCC’s definition of “broadband” at 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads won’t cut it for many interactive internet uses. And to avoid waste and inefficiency, we need to get it right from the beginning — and not just hope we’ll get there with our current patchwork quilt of federal, state, and local government agencies and private utility planners, each with different goals and motivated by different incentives.

It’s got to be a single vision. Otherwise it won’t be the smartest one. #

Yes, yes, yes! We need to plan for the future! We need to plan public transit and mixed neighborhoods and internet access. And not internet access that is adequate for now, we need to start future-proofing it. We need to start planning how to power it, how to integrate internet access with our educational systems. We need to help create a safer, integrated, more accessible environment now!

Honestly, is there a SimCity or CitiesXL mod for this kind of thing? We need to spread awareness that these are important, systemic issues and that we need to start thinking about comprehensive solutions.