Sunday, February 22, 2009

Education - Rural Access

Skepticism arises over rural broadband stimulus (AP)
Posted on Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:13PM EST

WASHINGTON - With the first concerted federal program to subsidize high-speed Internet services in rural areas, the new economic stimulus package will create some jobs and could get hundreds of thousands of households online.

Yet there's some question whether the economy would be more energized by spending that money on other things.

Because Internet access is already widespread and still being expanded even in a shrinking economy, injecting more money for broadband could simply equate to giving more coffee to someone who's already downed three cups.

"From the rural Vermont that we see, broadband is happening, happening fast," said Michel Guite, president of Vermont Telephone Co., which is based in Springfield.

I love it when rich corporate morons sit in their ivory towers and proclaim the state of something they have not got the slightest clue about. Then other morons drink their stupid like it's manna from heaven. It's so easy to dupe the proletariat on problematic issues effecting the poor, the working class, minorities, etc. Afterall, don't we all want those problems to go away?

Believe me, I didn't move out here two miles off the hard road (if you want to call that beaten pothole covered country lane a "hard road") with only a very sparse scattering of neighbors so that I could get wi-fi at the Starbucks on the other side of the hay field. I know that if I want a real latte with sugar free mocha to go with my internet, I gotta drive an hour. That's fine, as I like the banana split flavor latte out of the machine at the 7-11 over in town just fine and I've only got to drive 30 minutes to get there and it only costs me $1 compared to the $4 latte at the local coffee joint.

No, I aint lookin for hyper connectivity out here, but motherfucker, don't compare my rural Appalachia to some groovy granola chewing hamlet in "rural" Vermont. "From the rural Vermont that we see, broadband is happening, happening fast." Listen up you little wanker who wrote this story; come on down here and we'll talk about what is and isn't happening fast.

We don't have broadband out here and I don't expect we ever will. What's really sad it that the only real line of communications I and my neighbors have with the outside world are some old analog phone lines that are often dead for a couple days at a time. I'll take you out into my hay field and we'll walk along the creek and you can see the lines where they're laying down in the bottom of the creek because of erosion over the past 60 yrs when they were originally layed. Thewre was a junction box on a pole that fell a couple years ago and was laying next to the creek. Every time the creek got up it covered the junction box and our phone service went out untill the water went down and it dried up. It took almost a year and numerous calls to the state public service commission to get it fixed. Tell me about rural access. Oh, and if I drive a half mile up to the top of the hill I can sometimes get cell phone coverage.
See, there is a big difference between analog phone lines and modern digital phone lines. With digital lines, you can get DSL internet service and now you can even get cable TV. With analog phone lines all you can get is crackling fuzzy voice communications. Yea, you can run a dial-up modem across them, but because they are analog, the best speed you can get is 56k. Now, I remember when a 56k modem was blazing fast. Back in the day when we connected computer to computer to upload some pure text spec sheet or other document it was OK, but these days, with every website you go to displaying many Mbs of graphics, it's damn near impossible to use. You've gotta really want something specific to deal with a dial-up connection on analog lines.
The other solution to outside communications is satellite. That's what I have. My basic TV costs me about $50. That is really, really basic. A few cable news channels, the history channel, etc., but no local stations. My satellite internet service also costs $50. It is the lowest speed they offer as the other two higher speeds go up in $20 increments. I suspect that the speed I see on my satellite internet is comparable to fast dial-up. Images creep across the screen. Also, it seems like every other page I try to go to it cranks and cranks and then gives me a "failed to open" message. Right now sitting here, I'm getting a message at the bottom of the screen telling me "could not access" whenever it tries to save this post. Back in the day when modems and computer communications were in their infancy, it's what we used to call cludgey [clue-gee]. So it costs me over $100 per month for my really piss poor access. In town, for $100 a user gets excellent cable TV service with some premium channels and lightening fast broadband internet access. It astounds me when I'm in town and I go on-line.

Broadband access is "happening fast? I got news for you motherfucker, it's nowhere near happening out here. I can go five miles from here out onto the yellow line road and it aint happening. another five miles takes me out to the interstate exit and it aint happening there either. If I get on the interstate and drive11 miles up to the next exit to the edge of town, it might be happening there, but that's a big town of 5000 people. A friend of mine lives up on a hill a couple miles from the middle of town and he doesn't have broadband.

So these folks want to say that broad band is happening in rural America and trying to make it happen faster would be like "giving more coffee to someone who's already downed three cups." Well kiss my ass MFer. Tell that to the kids that live around here and only get to use a computer when they're in school. . . and we all know how much time that gives them. How disadvantaged are they when it comes to learning? When they apply to colleges will their grades and general knowledge reflect the fact that they never had internet access? I don't know, but these are technology driven times.

Now let's open another can of worms. . . the poor in general. The past 8 yrs has truly proven the old adage that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. We've seen that formula take on a whole new meaning where the middle and working class in many cases joined the ranks of the poor. So if you're poor in America and you don't have access to internet service on a regular basis, how disadvantaged are you as a young student competing in an academic environment? Most social scientists agree that education is key to rising from oppression, but if educational opportunities continue to be restricted more and more, that opportunity gets further and further from what is possible.

It's like being in a knife fight: if you've got a six inch blade against some guy with a 12 inch blade you've still got a chance. If you're good, you don't even need a knife to disarm and rise and defeat the enemy, but if that guy pulls out a gun, the whole scenario has changed. It just not a fair fight anymore and it will be impossible for you to compete.

Take a look at the folks who visit your blog. Look at the folks who visit my blog. Most are comparably well off and educated people. Some might be struggling, but compared to someone living up a rural holler or a poor inner city neighborhood, they're doing ok.
So tell me again you elitist bastards how " injecting more money for broadband could simply equate to giving more coffee to someone who's already downed three cups." or "From the rural Vermont that we see, broadband is happening, happening fast,"
Don't tell me about what's happening in 'back-to-the-lander Hippieville, Vermont.' That's no more about rural America than Westchester County, NY.
Come on out here to the real rural world and we'll be glad to educate your sorry ass.


rainywalker said...

Sounds like Fountain, CO where they run the telephone lines along or on top of fences in housing areas. We have high speed here in Colorado Springs but not in Fountain. Never have been in a Starbucks, I'd have to give up my Mason jar.

MacDaddy said...

I bet he's never been to W. Virginia.