FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

TechNet: US Risks Losing Competitive Edge

TechNet, a high-technology lobbying group that includes leaders from America's top technology firms, has been meeting with Congressional and Cabinet members in Washington to encourage greater federal investment in technology. At stake, they say, is the future of US technology leadership.

"The world is changing a little bit, and frankly there is a significant amount of concern that if we don't make some adjustments, follow the right public policies, do some things that are important, we could find ourselves very quickly losing the advantage we've had for so long," says Rick White, TechNet president and CEO.

Although encouraging greater investment may be a hard sell in this era of tight federal budgets, TechNet is armed with some troubling statistics. US students, they note, fall behind students in other countries in math and science. US R&D research funding remains flat while funding in other countries is increasing. And the US is behind in consumer broadband Internet; only 7% of US households have it, while 30% of Korean homes and 20% of Japanese homes have high-speed Internet.

Along with encouraging more basic research funding, TechNet is urging Congress to reduce regulations, promote cybersecurity and free trade, and increase R&D tax credits. Although some will argue that much of this agenda is self-serving (and even a bit cynical, as high-tech firms wanted nothing to do with Washington during the '90s tech boom), TechNet makes some valid points and is helping to raise the profile of technology issues inside the Beltway.

RELATED: The US has fallen from first to fifth in the World Economic Forum's rankings of network-ready countries. Singapore takes the top spot.

Source: Washington Post