I’m on a little vacation. So, I shouldn’t be blogging, I know. But this is sort of a hobby. Or maybe a curse. Or an obsesseion. Whatever. I am in no man’s land as far as a broadband connection. I haven’t been without broadband since Northcoast Internet started offering PerkiNet. Anyone remember that? You dialed in to the ISP through a standard modem and you got downloads over cable, but your upstream went through the standard phone line. It was weird and awkward, but at the time, the only broadband available on the North Coast. I was one of the first to try it and it was a revelation! Now my cable and DSL connections drive me crazy with the often slow and erratic data delivery.
But I am in Trinity County where broadband, if available, comes at precious price. The cabin we’ve rented at least has dial up. It works OK as long as all your doing is surfing the web. But if you’re like me and have multiple tabs running in your browser, email and an RSS reader going in the background and then you start doing real things like downloading files, well then you might as well call it an evening and wait for the data to finish by the morning.
All this to say that in many areas of rural America, including large areas of Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity and Mendocino counties, this is the reality. Fine, you say. If people want to live in the boonies they have to live with the inconveniences.
But poor Internet connections are not just inconveniences. They are roadblocks to information, to medical care, to economic betterment. The world is moving online. And those who cannot get decent access to the world will be left further behind. Is that the world we wish to build?
Decent access to information should be available to everyone. Just as decent access to water, sewer and power has become an acceptable standard. And not just because of me on a vacation. For the people who live here year around. Which, might include me. If the access was decent…