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.



  • I didn’t know about the restrictions being lifted after ten with starband. Good to know. We also upgraded to the 79.99 plan (yikes) when our daughter was here doing online courses, it allows double the amount, I think. I have heard talk that asis is interested in putting up a tower in our area. I would love to have a more modern connection, but am very thankful for what we do have, as well.

  • Kym, you need to contact Seth Johanesson From 101 netlink. We hill people have state-of-the-art wireless Internet at high speed. I’m sure that you can see one of his transmitters from your mountain. In fact we have better internet access than the city folks.

    Their number is 707-923-4000

    Many people, including myself, use 101 Netlink.

    Their website is

  • I 2nd Ernie on 101 Netlink. When the broadband connection to the rest of the county went down a couple years back, 101 Netlink was the only provider in the county who still had service — at speeds faster than AT&T and Suddenlink.

  • Also, 101 is real time, because it is ground based with no satellite latency lag.

  • We don’t have line of sight to Pratt but you’ve given me a kick in the bum to look into seeing if we can bounce to my neighbors and my place.

  • Right now, I’m wistfully thinking of all you watching your Prop 8 Court coverage while I am not.

  • You know, I take all this for granted. I didn’t realize how limited you were out there. I knew we didn’t have the same technology up here, but I figured those in Eureka and those in the hills were on the same playing field that way.
    Guess not.
    Thanks for covering this.
    I think there’s a way to download your podcast on KSLG onto a disc. If so, want me to try and capture it?
    I’ll see if I can and email you.

  • *sigh* Alas, I can’t seem to figure out if they’ve got the podcast. Anyone have the link?

  • Jen, I can listen after 10 (and I did already) I just have to get up at 5:30 to get Kevin off and don’t like to stay up late so I miss a lot of what the rest of the world takes for granted. Thank you though!

    PS I can’t read your new avatar. Is that your new book that just came out?

  • It is, Kym. I’m so glad you got to hear it. If there’s ever anything interesting you want to access, let me know.

  • One of the things that worked the best in the New Deal was the Rural Electrification Administration, which brought electricity to the farms and others in rural areas. Who is to say that a Rural Broadband Initiative couldn’t do as much in this time of sinking economy? If we are going to rebuild our infrastructure, we should build it for today and the future, and rural areas should be included. We could even save energy by having people telecommute instead of driving long distances to work. And it should be built like other countries, who have much faster broadband speeds than we do.

  • Silverstar, From your mouth to Obama’s ears!!!!

  • ME TOO, me too, must have rural highspeed. We have a radio link that sort of works, need something better. It seems that without that highspeed link we become culturally isolated.

  • To me, broadband is like electricity and telephone, a service that needs to be available to anybody who wants it. Society will benefit in the long run.

  • Once upon a time there was a big push to give all a phone. What are they waiting for now.

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