This event in July, 2009 occurred about 10 miles from my house.  I don’t know if they count the 4G wireless as broadband, because we do have that now, but we still don’t have cable or DSL.  Oh, and the wonderful satellite.

Biden announces program to expand broadband Internet access for rural areas at Pa. stop

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Biden announces rural broadband funding in Pa.

WATTSBURG, Pa. — Vice President Joe Biden outlined a $4.7 billion loan and grant program Wednesday to develop the infrastructure needed to deliver broadband, or high-speed, Internet access to areas that are underserved or without access.

America lags behind more than a dozen other countries in terms of Internet access and that has to change, Biden told about 200 people at Seneca High School, about 12 miles east of Erie.

“The bottom line is, you can’t function — a nation can’t compete in the 21st century — without an immediate, high-quality access for everything from streaming video to information overline,” Biden said.

While Seneca has broadband Internet access, Biden said many students do not have access at home.

Providing the means for access would improve educational opportunities, he said. He also spoke of the power of the Internet to create jobs in rural America.

“We believe we are in the process of transforming rural America … so it’s integrated with the country, without losing it’s character,” he said. The program also covers inner-city areas without broadband access.

“Getting broadband to every American is a priority for this administration,” Biden said.

The $4.7 billion is part of $7.2 billion included in the federal stimulus package to improve rural Internet access.

The Commerce and Agriculture Departments on Wednesday published the criteria they will use to judge funding applications. They will consider projects that provide wired or wireless access starting at low-end DSL speeds, but will give priority to ones promising higher speeds. They’ll consider an area “underserved” by broadband, and thus eligible for grants, if half or fewer of the households can get wired broadband today, among other criteria.

Applicants can begin applying on July 14. The first round of funding will be awarded in September. Besides providing money to create the infrastructure, the funding can also go toward training people to use the Internet.

In 2007 and 2008, the Pew Internet and American Life Project asked households that lacked broadband why they haven’t signed up. Lack of availability was ranked fourth, given by 14 percent. Most answered that they didn’t need the Internet, that it was too expensive or too hard to use. Many people who don’t use the Internet simply don’t have computers.

About 95 percent of households can already get broadband, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. But the industry hasn’t been very forthcoming in saying exactly where it’s available, and that’s part of what the stimulus package wants to address — it has allocated $350 million to mapping U.S. broadband access.

Biden appeared with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Pa., as part of a “rural America tour.”

All spoke of the need for broadband access to create jobs and improve education and health care.

“Broadband is not just about being able to Google faster. It’s not merely a luxury or an option for entertainment. It is an essential tool in today’s world,” Dahlkemper said.

On the Net:

Broadband USA:

And now, 5 1/2 years later, we get this from Obama:

President Obama recently unveiled a dramatic plan aimed at making your Internet connection suck less.

In one of a slew of new initiatives launched in anticipation of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, Obama announced a dramatic push to improve broadband Internet service for people around the country. The president argued that millions of Americans are underserved by their current options for high-speed Internet. One way to rectify that is to allow local governments to build their own municipal broadband networks.

Problem is, state legislatures around the country have passed laws making it considerably more difficult for these public Internet projects to get off the ground. In some states, building municipal broadband is prohibited altogether. President Obama has instructed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to do what it can to invalidate these laws and allow local government to easily set up their own municipal Internet networks

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is broadly supportive of the idea, although Republicans on the commission have come out in opposition. Wheeler proposed something very similar himself while speaking at cable industry event last year.

Whatever.  I pay for the satellite and also the 4G, which I use as a backup when satellite isn’t working.  Which is sometimes weather, and sometimes random.  It is expensive.  The satellite is $100/month for the middle range of service.  Which means no streaming, so no Netflix, et al.  The 4G varies depending on your data plan, but I have Verizon, so it’s expensive.

All entertainment is going to the internet.  If TPTB don’t want the rural class rising up against them, since we will only be able to read stuff and not watch videos, then they better get on the stick and fix this problem.  I think that will be the motivation when it actually happens.


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