It’s time to connect with the world and compete

We had a meeting today at the paper to discuss a bunch of interesting and important things we want to try and do that are off in the not-too distant future that I’m not going to say what it is right now since it’s just a jumping off point for what popped into my head during the meeting.

I love a good run-on sentence. Keeps readers on their toes.

When we were discussing all sorts of fun and exciting things that we could be doing on our Web site, I had a thought that slammed the brakes on everything I was thinking of:

Bandwidth.

Not “oh my god our site is so popular that we’ll never be able to pay for everything” bandwidth worries. More along the lines of “quite a few people around here are still reliant on dialup,”

Part of me wants to ask how many readers of this blog are still on a dialup connection or what’s your Internet speed, but if you’re using dialup, odds are you aren’t reading this. If you’re an exception to the rule, I’d be more than happy to hear about it.

Even if the people who are most affected by this can’t read this post, I’m still worried about the connectedness of the Yuba-Sutter area. I’ve had great difficulty finding anything beyond 1.5 megabits per second that doesn’t cost $40+ a month.

I’m excited to see the FCC getting behind some form of improving rural Internet access since from an economic perspective, it’s about as valuable as electricity was during the Great Depression and the rural electrification project. The ability to learn and communicate on the Web and connect businesses and buyers is incredibly important nowadays and will only continue to become more important. Web skills are very much marketable and a good startup could be a boon to a local economy.

But without the proper Internet speeds, or even access in some cases, this can’t happen. People can’t see what’s out there, they can’t learn about the newest trends in terms of programming and potentially bringing in business from all over the world.

I recall in a recent story where Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, saying something that struck me as interesting:

“It is a global economy.”

Now while Logue was referring to the cost to do business in California, he was at least in the ballpark with a reality that’s becoming more evident in the area. It’s a global economy and the region is falling behind. In an era where businesses and individuals are becoming more and more connected, the Yuba-Sutter area is falling further behind. It’s like the world is using cell phones while we’re barely getting past the rotary phone.

Now is the time for the area to begin catching up though. The FCC rolled out a roadmap for the broadband stimulus plan and it’s time for your voices to be heard. The story above has links to make public comment to the FCC about the process.

Change doesn’t happen when you do nothing. Change comes from action.

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