Saturday, August 18, 2012

What broadband access can do for a community posted an interesting article about what broadband access can do for a community. The author stated that Google chose Kansas City, Mo. as the recipient of a fiber-optic broadband network.

The benefits of broadband, according to the author, extend beyond “consumer-friendly baubles.”

The author cited the situation in Chattanooga, Tenn., where a municipal-owned electric company branched into telecom. Its fiber-optic network became fully operational last spring.

Since then, according to the article, Chattanooga is reinventing itself as a haven for tech entrepreneurs and municipal government is able to respond with services to data in real-time.

In response, I think that while consumers may enjoy “baubles,” there are far more serious implications to high-speed access for consumers. More and more public assistance programs require applications to be submitted online.

Earlier this year I read commentary by Susan P. Crawford in the New York Times. She said that the digital divide is less a matter now of having access to the Internet than having a reliable high-speed connection:
“Increasingly, we are a country in which only the urban and suburban well-off have truly high-speed Internet access, while the rest — the poor and the working class — either cannot afford access or use restricted wireless access as their only connection to the Internet. As our jobs, entertainment, politics and even health care move online, millions are at risk of being left behind.”
Among these divisions, I would add rural to the characteristics of the have-nots.

This morning I tested my broadband speed via The Lake County Broadband Alliance seeks accurate data about quality and availability of Internet. It invites residents to test their speed and input the results into a survey.

According to the results at, my DSL connection’s download speed was 7.13 Mbps and its upload speed was 0.65 Mbps.

The one drawback to the methodology employed by the broadband alliance is that its survey only allows for input of the respondent’s download speed whereas benefits of access must surely rely upon upload speed and bandwidth as well.

The Upstate California Connect Consortium (UCCC) is developing a broadband infrastructure plan for Lake and 15 other rural counties in Northern California. It argues that:
“Without such a comprehensive broadband infrastructure, the more than 1.6 million northern Californians living in these counties will continue to be deprived of proper access to the broadband services that are increasingly essential to the quality of life in the 21st century.”
The article, “The need for speed,” can be read at

To learn more about UCCC, visit To test the speed of your Internet connection, visit Download speed results can be input at

My thanks to Digital Clipping Service on Twitter for promoting the article.

Published Aug. 21, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

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