education, technology, and everything else

Posts Tagged ‘rural broadband’

Still using dial-up

Posted by Miranda on February 27, 2009

According to an article at, only 9 percent of Americans were still using dial-up in a study last year by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

I wonder how many of those are using dial-up because they can’t get anything else. Our ECFiber project is stalled for lack of investors. Money for rural broadband has been stripped from the stimulus package.

And it never ceases to amaze me how soon people who do have access to broadband forget what it’s like to use dial-up. Sometimes it only takes a few seconds before they are gushing about GMail (ever tried that on dial-up – excruciating) or sending you links to videos, or worse still the videos themselves….
Or, they get snippy. “Why don’t you move to someplace civilized? I was asked the other day as I was complaining. Um, excuse me?
These are probably the same kind of people who objected to rural electrification.

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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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