09 Mar, 2011 | Posted by: psnotes

Are You in a Rural Area?

Many of us take access to the Internet for granted, and at generally much higher speeds (at least compared with the U.S. as a whole) than that old standby, dial-up. DSL, cable, Wi-Fi, wireless, satellite, and FiOS all offer high speed, and in many cases, substantially higher speeds, both for download and upload.
Our government considers a 4 mbs speed the minimum for basic Internet activities (surfing, e-mailing, video streaming), yet upwards of 10% of U.S. households do not have access to this basic speed, and about 3% still rely on dial-up services.
Many schools and libraries are also behind the speed curve (which typically have many users accessing the Internet through a single connection).
Granted, many are in rural areas (just wait a building boom is coming to your farming community, soon).
And just because you have access to these higher speeds does not mean they are affordable, even when included as a monthly business expense.
A new Federal broadband map, a 5-year project costing taxpayers about $200 million (http://www.broadbandmap.gov/), lets you see where the speed is.
Officials note that it is not complete, and some smaller Internet providers did not provide requested information for this project. Still, it can be useful and informative.

Help Is (Maybe) on the Way

As you can gather from the above article, A Digital Divide is growing, not shrinking.
President Obama, in a recent speech at Northern Michigan University, promoted his plan for high-speed Internet coverage to 98% of America within 5 years, mostly by wireless technology.
This plan requests Congress to invest $5 billion to bring wireless coverage to rural areas and/or areas not currently served by any Internet service provider (other than dial-up).
This also includes an auction plan for broadcast spectrum to be turned into wireless, and has components ($10.7 billion worth) promoting a nationwide wireless broadband network for public safety services.

Bill Hopkins is the Webmaster of PhotoSourceFolio, where photographers
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and a regular contributor to PhotoStockNotes. Send comments to Bill via email. Fax: 1 818 831-0916. For on-line questions, contact Bill on the Kracker Barrel.


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