education, technology, and everything else

Posts Tagged ‘broadband’

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.

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Doing for ourselves

Posted by Miranda on December 22, 2007

I’ve written about this before (Dial-up: the new Digital Divide)but am reminded again this morning by a post on our town list-serve, just how forgotten we are in this little corner of the US.
We don’t have broadband here. We can’t get it, no one will supply it, we don’t mean enough money to them.
Yes, I’m a little bitter. A lot of things, including online video, are just impossible for me to use at home. I take online courses at Marlboro College that are sometimes quite difficult. Course chats, for instance are painful in the extreme.
It sometimes gets me steamed, reading education blogs that rave about new online tools of one kind or another, how most people just assume these days that if you live in the oh-so-grand Yewnited States of America, that you have access to all these things.
Guess what? They are wrong, wrong, wrong.

But the Upper Valley, where I live, is used to being self-reliant and that extends to broadband. A new initiative, Valley Fiber organized by people in various towns in the area is brewing.
They are being assisted by the folks at ValleyNet, who used to be my ISP until they decided to concentrate on other stuff.
I’ve already signed on as being interested, and during the next week I’ll be going up and down my dirt road here asking my neighbors to sign cards expressing interest as well. The more of us that sign on, the sooner we’ll get fiber here. We have to do it for ourselves.

We thought for a while wireless might be the answer and I spent a day driving around with the head of a company from up near Burlington, looking at sites where they might put wireless antennae. But our topography is way too wrinkled for wireless to get to everyone and all the companies we talked to are small enough that progress on the wireless front is very slow. The big companies, of course, don’t give a rats ass.

And Twitter! Twit from your cell phone, oh boy! Except I would have to drive six miles until I was next to I-91 to get cell phone coverage.

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