What’s it like to live with slow Internet access?

Listening to a legislative session the other day, I heard a few legislators ask about what a person can do with different broadband speeds. Can I do e-learning on DSL? Can I upload a video on satellite? So I was delighted to hear Stacey Stockdil (at the East Central MN Broadband Conference – full notes later) about her life with a DSL connection that clock in at 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps up (4/1). She has been logging how long it takes to do various tasks online.

Listening to her I am reminded that there’s a difference between broadband and Internet access, which I think was also an underlying question in the legislative session. A legislator had asked if there were areas where there was no broadband or the Internet. Really anyone with a phone can access the Internet – at dialup speeds but that’s so slow we don’t really count it anymore. It might require a long distance phone call. Access to broadband is different because there’s not one official definition of broadband. The State defined their broadband goal at 10-20 Mbps down and 5-10 Mbps up. A federal definition, however, tracks broadband at 4/1.

It’s a geeky distinction, but essential difference as we look at state and federal funding to reach unserved areas. I hope it helps to hear about life at 4/1…

This entry was posted in Conferences, economic development, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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