education, technology, and everything else

Let Them Eat Cake

Posted by Miranda on February 5, 2008

Browsing my aggregator this morning I noticed a comment from mrsdurff on a post I had written awhile back concerning Vicki Davis’ blog, coolcatteacher. I had tried to read Vicki’s blog and had given up. With all the graphics, videos, and so forth she has on there now, it just takes too long over a dial-up connection and my exasperation had finally gotten the better of me.
MrsDurff commented rather snippily that I should perhaps think about “investing” in cable. She assumes I suppose that because she has broadband, everyone does and it is only my unwillingness (or inability) to pay for it.

It’s always that way. Some are quite unable to understand that the opportunities they have are not available to everyone.

I find this to be true with most of the “edu-bloggers” and to be honest with almost anyone who has broadband including my family. It’s taken me years to train my friends to avoid sending me giant attachments and even as recently as a month ago my sister out in Portland, Oregon called me to suggest a link to an internet radio site.

Governor Douglas has set a goal that broadband be universally accessible to Vermonters by 2010. It is a worthy goal but there does not seem to be much progress in that direction. In addition I think the state’s estimates may be a little skewed. For instance our town applied for a $50,000 grant from the state to assist with furthering wireless broadband throughout the town. We were told that our town was not eligible for the grant, that Thetford is considered to have broadband access already. That is because Thetford Elementary School. Thetford Academy and the Latham Library all have broadband access via fiber. This leaves the rest of the six square miles of the township and 95% of the households without it but the state considers that we have access.

And we do, if we want to drive the 20 minutes to town at a time that the library is open. Otherwise our access is a 40 minute drive down to a wifi hotspot in Hanover or Lebanon, NH, depending on the hour.

I have looked at satellite but with the hills around me that is not an option. Cable of course is absurd, what cable company will lay miles of cable to serve a few households? Verizon told us at a meeting with them a couple of years ago that it would be a cold day in hell before they invested the money in hardware to bring DSL to us.

I talked about a new initiative, a fiber network that folks in the area are working on in doing for ourselves. If all goes as planned the first households will be hooked up in 2009. But we will have invested a lot more than the piddley sums mrsdurff puts out every month. To get broadband we have to invest sweat as well as money.

Marie Antoinette’s notorious statement seems to fit.

2 Responses to “Let Them Eat Cake”

  1. Miranda, I’m not sure how this blog post got linked to my article, “What Does Broadband Mean?” but it was a perfect response. I will likely post my own response soon, but to me the bottom line is choice. Right now, you have little choice but to access sources of information that are predominantly text-based, will little multi-media. For someone like me, who is not a natural reader (it’s work for me, though I usually have one or two professional books, and at least two novels going at a time — right now three), this would be daunting, and there is a likelihood that wouldn’t even be participating. Well I guess I would, but there are many in my shoes who wouldn’t.

    I continue to be irked by the fact that the U.S. Telcos promised to provide universal broadband throughout the U.S. by 2006. The federal government did not hold them to it, but were more than willing to extend the promised tax breaks.

    Thanks for continuing the conversation.

  2. […] time we connect at a fairly good clip for dial-up, anywhere from 49000 to 52000 kbps and before you tell me to eat cake that’s all we can get at the moment. I live in a little hollow in the hills in Thetford, VT. […]

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