To broadband and beyond

Life is getting too fast.

A perfect case in point is Internet speed options. Many of us remember the old dial-up days. That shrieking little sound as the modem dialed into the phone line. And we were up surfing away at 9,600 kilobytes per second.

And then technology started its move. Next thing we knew we were hitting 14,400 kbs — talk about fast. Then we were blown away by 28,800 kbs — we could barely contain ourselves. We were not surfing, we were blazing. We won’t even mention the 56,000 kbs. We couldn’t breathe.

Now? We’ve got smartphones that run circles, nay, multiple laps, around those old models of personal computers. We can surf at speeds unheard of only a few years ago with something held in our hands. And we complain that it’s too slow.

We go into our wired homes, now equipped with Wi-Fi, and run out to get a booster because the signal won’t reach the shed in the back. We are so connected.

Or are we? For most, the answer is yes. But for many in rural areas — and yes, that includes Coweta County — the whole concept of “broadband” is a fantasy.

In today’s world, the idea that the entire country isn’t “wired” seems ridiculous. But let’s remember there were vast areas of the country without electrical power as late as the 1950s and 1960s.

The Three Rivers Regional Commission, partnering with the Georgia Technology Authority, is working to find those broadband gaps in our rural area. They’ve launched a regional broadband study in which the goal is to find what is available and where there are gaps. Then, the groups hope to encourage development of new broadband-based technologies to help rural areas stay in step with the rest of the country.

Our world functions more and more on the Internet, whether through communications, research, business development, advertising or a host of other needs. Those without high-speed Internet access will be left behind. No business will go into a non-wired area.

It’s one thing to remain rural, but it’s a whole other matter to fall to Third World status. And let’s face it, there are Third World countries with as good Internet access as some parts of our country.

We’re glad to see the regional commission taking a look at this important need. They have set up short surveys to gather information on usage and needs. To take the survey, go to www.threeriversrc.com and click on the “survey” link. And yes, we get the joke there. If someone doesn’t have Internet access, all the web addresses in the world won’t do any good. To address that, there’s also a phone number — 678-692-0510 — that businesses or individuals can call to get the survey mailed.

This is an important survey for our area, and we strongly encourage those affected to participate. If you don’t, you will be left behind.



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