A local blogger who was once an Editor at the Union thinks that our economic future should be more about becoming like the rest of California than having a broadband utility, although he recognizes the economic utility of having broadband, just not a new utility service.
To be sure, broadband is an important equation in economic development. But we don’t need to create a new utility to provide it, a costly and risky proposition.
What we could use around here is a more laser-like focus on making our community a more welcoming place for younger professional and vocational newcomers (with families and some income-earning potential) — from a cultural and political perspective.
We also need to collaborate more with rest of California — in our culture and politics — but we seem to relish in rebelling against it.
I am wondering, which part of California it is that our former editor would like us to emulate, to grow closer from a cultural and political perspective? Perhaps the blue coastal cities and counties with their liberal administrations, increasing urban squalor and growing unfunded pension debt? He may find it interesting, that a large portion of our community came to Nevada County to escape those very cultural signatures of liberalism.
My vision of broadband is that it is as vital as any existing utility: gas, water, sewer, power and highway networks. In my view broadband communication is just another transportation utility, it transports ideas, products and finance. It is as vital to economic development as the road and power networks that made our rural economy viable in the first place. Without electricity business cannot produce products and without roads to ship those products to markets and bring home more raw materials and trade goods, we would not have the community we all love and appreciate.
In a connected world that functions on networks of things, stores knowledge and wealth in the cloud, rural communities will wither just like those bypassed by the freeways and the railroads. If rural communities do not have ubiquitous access to broadband for all citizens, not just a few thousand on a cable network, it will wither just like those bypassed by freeways and the railroads.
Our blogger and former editor fails to appreciate the future need for broadband, after all he has his, no concern for the family down the street with only dial-up, who have to take their children to the library to access the internet to do their school homework. No concern for the elderly couple, living just off the cable systems with mobility problems who want to shop-on-line, and Skype with their grandkids. No concern for the family that wants to home school their children, but live beyond the cable and DSL networks.
A recent poll by the ERC found the top priority of the business in the community was access to affordable and reliable high speed broadband access. It could be our blogger and former newspaper editor is just out of touch with economic reality.