Broadband as Critical Transportation Infrastructure

The future of mobility depends on having a comprehensive, nationwide broadband network capable of supporting new transportation technologies and regulatory needs.

January 5, 2022, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Internet Cables

ThomBal / Shutterstock

An article by Rudy Salo highlights the importance of broadband infrastructure, which will receive $65 billion in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Far from just home internet speeds, Salo writes that broadband quality affects many aspects of modern life, including transportation. "Better broadband capabilities affect highway operations, including through applications centrally managing signal systems, variable speed limits, and cameras that improve incident response and timing, among others." 

According to Salo, broadband is also required to connect autonomous vehicles to each other and the road they're driving on, which calls for a robust system of infrastructure to ensure seamless communication and keep passengers and pedestrians safe in the age of self-driving cars. 

Salo also highlights the privacy concerns inherent in the massive amounts of data that users will—and already do—provide to the tech companies that power their phones, cars, and smart home gadgets, cautioning against data monopolies. "If left unregulated, there is danger that control over and use of user data by a combination of big auto and big tech could lead to monopolization and abuse. U.S. consumer-commuters could be at the mercy of conglomerates that abuse their power and limit consumer-commuters to minimal choices or use the data they control to manipulate choices."

Thursday, December 30, 2021 in Forbes

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