Wednesday, April 10, 2013

If you've got it, flaunt it

Never fear, mega-uber value readers. It's not another lengthy diatribe, just a quick observation.

Yesterday, while working at home on a project for a client, I must have been feeling a bit masochistic, because I decided to switch on Bloomberg Television, to catch up on the news in the financial markets. Once upon a time, my team at Merrill Lynch used to have it on all day, every day, and I guess it makes me feel a bit nostalgic.

Anyway, among the numerous commercials for online training courses to help you "trade like a pro" and forex trading platforms offering individual investors 5:1 leverage on margin (is it still 1999?), I happened to take notice of a commercial from the InvestBulgaria Agency. The pitch was built around reasons someone might want to locate a business in the country. There were all the usual suspects: low corporate tax rate, low labour costs, young workforce with a lot of people speaking a second language, etc.

However, tacked on the end of the list of positives was, "Bulgaria enjoys the eighth fastest internet speeds in the world." Presumably the country is using the Akamai rankings, and while I know there are many out there who would argue that national average peak speeds are potentially a red herring when deciding on where specifically to locate a business, it's still interesting to me. While the InvestBulgaria website's pitch omits a reference to broadband in favour of more detailed economic and financial arguments, I think it's telling that the short TV spot would play the broadband card, if only at the end.

Connectivity may be a marginal factor for many businesses in the grand scheme of things, but for a growing number, I believe it will be their lifeblood, if it isn't already. Any country seeking to attract business formation would only be wise to tout the superior nature of its broadband infrastructure - well, that is, if it actually has anything to talk about.

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