Broadband for Rural Residents
Rural residents want broadband, too. Access to the internet is effectively denied when only dialup or limited broadband is available. Recently on the North Coast Journal’s site, Michael Katz was mocked (rightly so) for, as Hank put it, “bemoaning the wasting of federal stimulus dollars on the effort to extend the series of tubes to mentally challenged hillbillies. “The notion that we should be helping people who live in rural areas avoid the costs that they impose on society … is misguided,” he said.
Residents in the North know that having broadband will improve access to jobs and information for them. So rightly they took umbrage at this. However, as another commenter on the Journal said, “unfortunately the plan to “expand” broadband in HumCo is to build redundant infrastructure (ie another line) that provides better/consistent service to those already getting it. ie the city folk.”
He/she is right. I use Starband, a satallite broadband service to access the internet. Many rural dweller use it or something similar. I am allowed 1 Gbyte per week download. Regular surfing puts me at about 800 mbytes. If I watch one youtube, I go over my alloted amount and end up at restricted ie dialup speeds. This wouldn’t be so bad if I were being stopped from watching the latest cutsy Youtube offering but I can’t watch news clips or even listen to the KSLG interview I appeared in. Effectively, I’m cut off from a culture and information source towndwellers take for granted.
As I said there, “I noticed the same thing. I hear the outrage over Katz’s sneer at rural people but I’ll bet that were I to propose that broadband be offered up here in the mountains a similar argument to his would be proffered to me.
I pay $50 per month for 1 Giga per week. That means no downloading youtube, no news vids, no updates for my computer (all things those in Eureka take for granted) until after 10 when I can download all I want but since I get up at 5:30 to get my husband off to work, I basically don’t download music, movies, more importantly, news, etc.
I do care that Eureka and surrounds get better service. I wish they cared about me and my fellow hill folk.”
Now, I’ve found a site, Internet for Everyone, that works towards that goal for really rural folks as well as more hooked in city dwellers. Go there and click on the interactive map that shows the stats for internet access for different states. I plan on using this site to help get access for ALL.
UPDATE: Here is a blog that while working for broadband for her area has information for ours. I cracked up as she relates the tale of a woman throwing cups of warm water on her satellite dish to melt the snow and regain connection. Many times, I get out either the garden hose and spray it off (after climbing a steep hillside in the dark) or extend my trusty Webster to brush the satellite off.