No Broadband Utility, Just Become More Like the Rest of California

 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.

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
This entry was posted in Jobs and Economy, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to No Broadband Utility, Just Become More Like the Rest of California

  1. Dena says:

    First I would question local government getting involved in providing the internet. Anaheim was digging up the city to run pipe lines and power so while they were at it the pulled fiber optic as well with the thought they could sell band width. The end result was nobody wanted to buy it so they have all this nice unused fiber under the city.
    Next, I don’t think that much bandwidth is needed to power business. Much of the bandwidth is used to download music or video which has little educational value. I have seen the internet die when the kids first get out of school for summer vacation and then improve when they return to school. I have the need for Telenet 3270 and find its very fast because of the small number of packets used to produce a screen. If a business only needs to deal with text data, TN3270 will serve them well even with a very limited internet connection or dial up. Telenet ASCII is a solution for those who don’t want the 3270 portion.
    Last on a personal note, I am finding the younger generation tends to think with the internet instead of their own head. Yes the internet is a great source of information but it shouldn’t be used unless you have the ability to determine if the information is true and if it applies to the problem you are dealing with. My niece in early high school wanted to be on the boys baseball team because they were able to win where as the girls didn’t. She was able to discover sexual discrimination on the web and used it in her argument as to why she should be able to be on the boy’s team. In the end she was able to manage the team but she missed the point that there are still reasons why the boys and girls don’t normally play on the same team. This is why providing massive amounts of bandwidth for schools may not be in the best interest of the schools. Letting children do their own thing is a progressive idea where as teaching children that there timeless rules that always apply is the traditional education process and will serve our children better when they move on to employment.


  2. Russ Steele says:

    Nebraska Broadband Study: Broadband Access Creates Jobs, Revenue

    Nebraska has released the results of its most recent broadband study which shows that access to reliable high-speed internet is directly responsible for job creation and private sector profit generation in the state. According to the report, Nebraska businesses no longer see broadband Internet service as a luxury, but as a key to economic success and future growth.

    o o o
    Respondents reported a net increase of 654 jobs due to using the Internet. Over 50% of net jobs reported by respondents were attributed to use of the Internet. Additionally, broadband use is also having a positive impact on business revenue with respondents reporting 25-45% of revenue from the Internet. The results are notable as there are some early efforts to potentially undermine this growth. CivSource previously reported on a city council resolution in Nebraska City that would limit municipal broadband which can be an important means of maintaining momentum around broadband expansion, even while major local hubs like Omaha ramp up.

    o o o

    Use of broadband services is very high across all types and locations of businesses. Nearly all responding businesses have broadband access, with cable (29%), DSL (24%) and fiber (19%) as the predominant technologies, but approximately a quarter still lack broadband-level connections in at least one direction. The speed and quality of a business’s Internet connection strongly impacts its use of the Internet.

    “Nebraska businesses see high-speed Internet as more than a way to do business,” said Lt. Gov. Heidemann, “they also see it as a way to present themselves to the world as on top of technology, a way to improve internal operations, and a way to help create jobs.”

    – See more at:


Comments are closed.