Monday, July 10, 2006

Dial-up Internet access still rules in some areas

I spoke to a friend last night who was bemoaning the lack of high-speed Internet access in her community in the Catskill area of New York State. Now the Catskill Mountains are known to be quite beautiful. Many people live there permanently, while others have vacation homes in the region. (Visiting one community last summer, Cragsmoor, I found a group of people with New York City accents who had escaped from the City permanently or at least on the weekends.) However, what parts of this region are missing is high-speed Internet access. For some, it has cost thousands of dollars to be connected to a high-speed Internet service. Others have decided to use satellite connections. And some are stuck using dial-up.

In the New York State's North Country (above Watertown), you see advertisements for satellites for use to connect to the Internet. Although broadband is much more prevalent there these days, evidently it is still not ubiquitous.

Here in the U.S., we tend to think that everyone -- at least in the U.S. -- has access to broadband and if they don't, it is because they have decided not to connect. But these examples show that broadband is not everywhere, even in states like New York. As we build Internet sites, online databases, digital repositories, etc., we need to keep in mind all of the devices/methods people are using to connect -- dial-up, broadband, satellite, handheld device, desktop computer, Internet computer -- and need to ensure to the best of our abilities that what we build can be accessed through those methods.

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1 comment:

Josh said...

Jill --

What I'd love to see is more municipalities taking on high-speed wifi for residents. The biggest wireless cloud in the U.S. is in a rural farming community in Oregon, and it's boosting productivity like you wouldn't believe, since people are actually able to do things like inventory work from their tractors or vehicles alongside their pastures and fields.

The biggest opponent of municipalities doing this, of course, is for-profit companies that overcharge for broadband access. But in communities that aren't getting that access from cable or utility companies, it wouldn't at all be difficult for governments to cover their rural and vacation communities with high-speed wireless clouds.