New Mexico Broadband "in the Boonies". Rural broadband travails writ large upon the 'tubes.

In the spirit of trying to generate some discussions and rev up the DCF boards, I'm putting up this link:

http://www.cnet.com/profile/ericcmack/?tag=mncol;title

That connects to a 5-part series by Eric Mack on CNet (tech-news web site) which discusses some of the issues experienced in rural New Mexico, Penasco to be precise, in trying to get a workable internet connection in his new location in the valley.  I realize that this might not be the best location for this post as a) it doesn't discuss Albuquerque or its local situation and b) it's a link to a magazine article on a third party site.  I do think that this does discuss some important points as well as counterpoint the reality that many areas don't have the advantage of quality (or even acceptable) network connection in spite of massive amounts of money thrown at companies to do so and protected status given to those same companies which allow them to lock down large, high-density  markets with limited competition while failing to service the low-density areas that they've contracted to provide for.

Growing up in a rural backwater of Oklahoma I can attest to the almost non-existent level of service provided by telecommunications providers even when they're heavily subsidized by county, state and federal government.  While you can take the point of view that says 'Net connection is not a given nor is it a right (a significant percentage of the commenter on the site do) I think it's an ongoing failure to provide the basic infrastructure of commerce for a significant percentage of the country. 

In Oklahoma, Rural Electric Cooperatives were created to provide electrical infrastructure which allowed for massive growth in development; farms could increase production and generate additional profits while also providing a higher quality of life.  The same electric Co-op that provided juice for Alfalfa county took the initiative in the mid 90's and after consulting with their customers built out a dial-up internet infrastructure.  After providing this service for some time, they again consulted their customers and upgraded to broadband service.  All this used additional capital promised by customers (they voted to accept rate increases and signed contracts to commit to purchasing service for multiple years) as well as government funds. 

The point I'm trying to open for discussion here is this:  I think we can all agree on the importance of internet access for education and commerce and cutely captioned pictures of kittehs.  I think we can also agree that 'Net access is an engine for growth, both individual and community.  How can rural areas (from exurbs up above Sandia Peak to the Pueblos) get access to this tool?

If this is not the proper forum for this discussion or for the linkage above please let me know and I'll move it or delete it but I'm curious to see what positions the peloton on DCF can show.

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Tags: Cnet, Rural, access, broadband, internet

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