There are plenty of studies that show the economic value of better communications, but their conclusions come out something like "a ten percent increased adoption of high speed Internet access results in a 1% increase in the growth rate for gross domestic product." Yes, that's big, but it sounds lame.
Doc Searls says it better in a great blog post that includes this:
Imagine no Internet: no data plans on phones, no ethernet or wi-fi connections at home — or anywhere. No email, no Google, no Facebook, no Skype.
That’s what we would have if designing the Internet had been left up to phone and cable companies, and not to geeks whose names most people don’t know, and who made something no business or government would ever contemplate: a thing nobody owns, everybody can use and anybody can improve — and for all three reasons supports positive economic externalities beyond calculation.
Read his full post here.