In addition to implementing and overseeing laws, tax policies, regulating commerce and much more, government entities in the U.S. are a massive driver of state and local economies. In 2016, three of every 20 U.S. citizens worked for the government. In Pennsylvania, 12% of the population worked for a government agency in 2016. However, the government sector is no different than businesses across the private sector because they too must overcome the same technology challenges, including aging infrastructure, to achieve growth. According to Government Technology, about one-third of major IT systems that state governments use today are outdated.
Government IT leaders at the federal, state and municipal levels must stay ahead of industry trends to boost efficiencies and create more opportunities for growth and advancement, ultimately paving the way for the next 20 years and beyond. The speed, stability, flexibility and security of fiber optics is one major factor that will keep governments – and economies – moving forward.
Fiber Fuels Growth and Innovation
Pennsylvania leaders are meeting the challenges with creative solutions. The commonwealth recently announced the hiring of its first Chief Digital Officer, a position created to spearhead the establishment of a state data management and data governance strategy. Gov. Wolf has also recognized the importance of things like fast, reliable internet for everyone, regardless of proximity to large cities.
The Restore Pennsylvania initiative includes policies that provide reliable broadband to all parts of the commonwealth, but the amount of fiber currently in the ground is not enough to support the growing demands. 5G in converged networks means there will be more endpoints, requiring more scalability. If governments want to see the proliferation of SMART cities, they have a responsibility to adopt technologies that lead the way.
Other benefits of leveraging fiber optic internet include:
- Ability to provide more cost-effective services to vital government services including first responders
- Connecting schools, recreational facilities and other governmental facilities with future-proof networks that can accommodate evolving needs
- Municipal broadband options: government bodies that invest in fiber optic infrastructure within their areas of jurisdiction can lease municipal fiber to private sector providers
Clearly, there are some significant ways in which governments can benefit from choosing to embrace fiber optic networks.
Attracting and Retaining Talent
The ability to transition to remote work is essential for business continuity in the event of unforeseen circumstances, which can prevent people from reporting physically to an office. The COVID-19 pandemic, when many businesses transitioned staff to remote work, is the most recent example of how quickly IT leaders must be able to move.
Before this even occurred, however, the federal government had already been a leader in telework with the adoption of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. This legislation required federal agencies to develop a remote work plan, but many federal employees have returned to the office in recent years.
In addition to offering the scalability needed during emergency situations, continuing to promote remote work options will help governments remain competitive as employers in a post-COVID world, where telecommuting may become more of the norm. Fiber provides the scalability required of infrastructure within facilities to meet increased needs for bandwidth brought on by more remote work.
Addressing Speed, Stability and Security with Dark Fiber
Fiber optics provides solutions that are faster, more reliable and more scalable than legacy copper-coax solutions. Within the full suite of fiber optic solutions, however, dark fiber stands out as a strong play for governments looking to handle large amounts of data with high speed, resilience and high levels of security. Here’s how.
Dark fiber is one of the most efficient ways to move large amounts of data. Because it enables government departments to appropriate individual strands of fiber for their exclusive use, it is also extremely secure. Dark fiber also gives users high levels of control in terms of the equipment used and protocols selected – this also enhances the safety of the traffic to be passed along the network. Dark fiber enables government bodies to share information directly from point to point, as opposed to sharing information via internet providers where it may hit multiple locations before reaching its endpoint. If one is using a traditional internet provider,dark fiber can provide an excellent layer of redundancy, thereby supporting continuity of services by the government during times of crisis.
DQE offers fiber and network solutions addressing several challenges facing government agencies. We work with businesses to custom build private networks that block outside groups from tracking or recording information being transferred, making it one of the most secure ways to power a network. DQE offers a full suite of fiber-based internet solutions including dark fiber options.