The FCC’s broadband plan is released today (Tuesday 16th March), as the Great Recession slogs through its 27th month. Central to the pitch for the plan is the economic impact of expanded Internet access: ubiquitous affordable broadband will grow businesses, spur innovation, and create jobs.
The Internet’s economic impact is already substantial. Some 1.2 million people in America had jobs directly connected to the Internet in 2009, according to John Quelch
, a professor at the Harvard Business School. These are workers who “conduct advertising and commerce, build and maintain the infrastructure and facilitate its use.” And, Quelch writes, each of those web jobs support another 1.54 offline jobs, for a total of 3.05 million people working in jobs connected to the web. The wages of these web-linked workers are about $300 billion, or “around two percent of U.S. GDP.”