The Great Digital Divide

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DSC04312Until moving from South Carolina, I always lived in a very rural area.  My complaints were always about not being able to order a pizza and not having cable.  Where I lived, no matter how they are developing it, still does not have cable.  I loved traveling because I could watch something other than the Big Three networks.  Finally, after a long trip, in the late 1980s, I put in a dish.  It was twice the size of the one I have now, but it was wonderful.  Looking back on it, the best part was the fact that I could get just about every game the Braves played.  At the time, having my father, his golden, and sometimes his cat, constantly underfoot, was annoying.  Now, though, after he is gone, I realize how special it was.

I first went online in 1997.  By then, I was working on my forth laptop.  I was required to use MCI.  Every second was counted.  Each month I’d get a print-out about my online usage, which was, at the time, lightening fast – dial-up.  When I moved, and had cable, and a new internet company, I was thrilled to be able to bounce up to 56K.  DSL was offered via cable, but by that time, where I lived had been taken off cable and a system set up internally.  In 2003, they were able to get 1.5Mbps at the church office where I worked.  I was in heaven!  When Windstream finally offered a digital service where I am, I had to battle.  It was primarily gender based.  Over the years, I’ve gone from 1.5 to what is allegedly to be 15mbps.

My current speed ranges anywhere from from 3 to 15.  As I write this, I am testing download speed at 11.3Mbps.  I am slower than 43% of the country.  The average speed for Windstream is 4.1Mbps.  My upload speed is 416 Kbps.  It is 89% slower than the rest of the country, which is 3.8Mpbs.

The new FCC definitions of broadband are:  up from 4Mbps to 25Mbps.  Yea, right.  Upload speed should be minimum upload speed should be 1Mbps to 3Mbps.  Forget that.  The only way I can achieve 3Mbps is via my Verizon cellular hot spot.  Right now, that’s 6.5Mbps.  My upload speed is  276Kbps, which is 93% slower than Verizon’s average.  Last week, while I was using it, my upload speed via Verizon was about 3.3Mbps. It’s snowing, and I am in my basement bedroom.  I’m not going to be hysterical over that test.

Currently, I am paying for 10GB of data via Verizon, simply because when I am at my mother’s home, she has no access to broadband. I’m paying a fortune to have just 10GB, which is not enough for me to do what I need to do, online, when I am staying with her.  She uses PVT.  This is what is available to her.

PVT
PVT

Anyone living within their system is NOT living in the digital age.  And – where she lives, they only offer up to 768Kbps, and charge what I am paying for (allegedly) 15Mbps.  Let’s be honest.  Verizon is charging $100 bucks for 10GB.  There’s not much difference.  The service available with DirectTV, is basically $10/GB/month – the same as Verizon. Hughes does not offer service where she lives.  This is what you get with Dish.

Dish
Dish

UNFORTUNATELY…. this is not offered where my mother lives. They offer maybe half, at a higher price.  What Dish does is had this no rhyme nor reason location criteria.  They also require you to discuss, with your husband, and children, what you will do with the service, THEN call them back.  Yes, they are that insulting and biased. I can get a total of about 20GB, most of it off-peak, with Dish.

“…While you may not need a minimum download speed of 25Mbps to stream 4K content, it wouldn’t hurt, and standing pat with subpar US broadband capabilities just isn’t a viable option at this point. With the US currently ranked 25th in the world in broadband speeds, the FCC’s decision will force cable providers to step up speeds for everyone, something that probably would have happened with even a little competition in the broadband market.…”

According to John Chambers, CEO of CISCO, the world is going digital.  Countries which do what Barcelona has done will roar ahead.  Those locations where they do not, are going to be left behind.  I think we all know where this is going.  Let’s face it, the way things are now, in this country, we’re going to be left crawling in the dark ages.

The other day, I was involved in a Twitter back and forth with (certified) Barihunk, Jonathan Estabrooks about Net Neutrality.  I started thinking about it, and the infrastructure problems I am facing.  In a way, it is a cautionary tale about anyone living in nowhere USA.  Without giving away exactly where my mother’s property is, here’s a map:

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 10.05.39 AM

I have spent the past year researching a project which would involve this property:

IMG_5843I have spent 10 months crunching numbers, investigating plans, talking to people, working on feasibility, and dealing with infrastructure.  Basically, aside from the fact that New Mexico is the most corrupt state in the country, and the most difficult state in North America when it comes to opening a new business, so far, everything is feasible.

BUT…. There is no reliable broadband service.  What I need is requires an infrastructure that is based broadband.  For me, the costs are prohibitive, on something, which, if it were located just a few miles up the road, would have minimal costs.

Dealing with New Mexico is one thing.  Frankly, I don’t know if I even want to consider the project.  After living here for nearly 15 years, I’ve learned how abjectly corrupt, backward, and well ….corrupt… this state is.  I don’t even know if, the way things are going, this state even has a future.  What I do know is I have a business plan which would actually work.  There are numerous logistics and just any number of reasons why I should not do what I want to do.  The worst of the problems is broadband.  From what I can tell, the situation is not going to get any better, anytime soon.

How many other people are being held back because this country is so absolutely backward in our infrastructure.  When libertarians take over, they impose their own, unique brand of socialism, which is only for those who are in power, and the elite money which puts them there.  The rest of us are being slowly kicked into the gutter.

I have the perfect location for something I’ve dreamed about since 1978.  Right now, the lack of broadband could ruin it.  I need to relocate to that area, to be near my mother, when she is here in NM.  The current situation is so constraining and so difficult, it even makes blogging difficult, let alone even listening Met online.  Forget that one.  You can do bare-bones digital, but, there is no iTunes downloads, no movies online, no television service, no Metropolitan Opera on Demand.  I made the mistake of downloading a movie when I was at my mother’s home.  The bill from Verizon, for just the privilege of downloading what should be free, was $20!  It’s basically ten bucks a GB.

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