at $56,000 per household. Paid for by, you guessed it, US. That’s what the FCC wants (http://www.slate.com/id/2248074), according to Chris Wilson from Slate.
My husband, a software engineer and son of a farmer/rancher in Nowheresville, US, says the market is sorting it out. Five years ago his parents were on dial-up. His mother kept looking for new installations to go up, on her drive to work, and would call the farmer and see if it was worthwhile getting on that service.
When we camped out there during Hurricane Rita Jim packed up a whole bunch of goodies and set them up with wireless internet and we brought our laptops and cell phones and tethered so we could get on with our lives for those few days.
Now they have very good service, except the other day lightning fried the router and network card. At least a tree didn’t fall and knock down the roof into their bedroom (yeah, that happened ten years ago during Jim’s grandfather’s funeral).
I’ve worked at a computer center for low-income residents and only the willing came in for free classes. I found one man, age 89 at the time, in his car crying because his gnarled fingers couldn’t grasp the mouse or type on the keys. He said he’d wait for voice recognition software.
But for many years, certain folks have not wanted or needed internet access. Now that I think about it, we probably had a hand in getting Jim’s folks to even get dial-up. Now his techno-phobe father is embracing the new technology, but only because we made sure they had a MacBook and trackball mouse (and wireless full-sized keyboard, but that was broken before they opened the box). He’s now doing cattle sales and genealogical research online, and all that over the past few months.
To the FCC: let the market do its job. If you need to put minimal infrastructure in the most far-flung places, let the demand get the companies to serve those communities. Forget about $30/month internet charges (I’ve never heard that low an amount) and ask why these folks don’t have a computer at home. No, I’m not suggesting the US public buy every household a computer. Bet they don’t have cell phones either.
Wait, I’ve a great idea! Let’s force a free computer, cell phone and broadband on every Amish and Mennonite household in the US of A! At only $56.000 per household, it’s a bargain. Aye, the luck o’ the Irish be with ye today, Dee