Last month we heard about Blandin Broadband Community projects in Fond du Lac. One project was the App Camp, where students learned to build mobile apps. (I’m hoping to post videos on the apps later this week.) To apply for the camp, students (ages 12-17) were asked to submit an essay answering one question – What can broadband do to help my community?
Below are snippets from the essays. Reading these essays it’s clear that not all of the students have reliable broadband access at home and everyone is acutely aware of the challenge of living without it. Broadband is offered as a tool to help students graduate, families keep in touch, people stay healthy and safe from harm. Lofty aspirations – but not off the mark at all…
If our community had broadband, we could possibly have more graduates of high school or college; they would become leaders of our reservation/community. The access to broadband could help students finish their work.
Recently two younger friends and I got certified in scuba diving; the three of us had working connection to the Internet and were able to finish our tests. There were five of us in the class and the other two didn’t have a connection to the internet to do their tests. If the other students had working connections could have finished their certification and could be diving with us.
If our community had access to broadband we could improve our reservation and allow the children that will be leading our reservation to the future to have connections to the world.
Access to broadband would help my education. I could take a class in Arizona and still be sitting in my Wrenshall Minnesota home. When I do this I could buzz in and ask the teacher a question in real time. Also college students could take online classes wherever they happen to be. Broadband access would help many people in the community access education by allowing them to take classes online.
Broadband could help emergency services. If there was a fire, the firemen could bring up the blue prints of the building. This could help them figure out where people could be. The firemen could also find out what the building is used for and any hazardous materials stored inside. This could help save many lives and also save a lot of money for communities, cities and also states. Broadband access could help firemen find useful information.
Broadband access could help my community with banking. Instead of getting up and going to the bank, people could use their phone or tablet to access their accounts. They could pay bills and make deposits. This could help many people with transportation or mobility problems. Broadband access would bring online banking to my community.
Broadband helps in economic development because businesses need broadband to compete on a global level and seek out high speed broadband access when choosing to grow their business. High speed access accelerates business development and provides new opportunities for innovation, expansion and ecommerce. Communities that connect their residents create wealth and attract business investments. Broadband helps in information access because there is no doubt we live in an information society and broadband puts all types of information within a few keystrokes. Whether it is training for a new skill, learning a language or completing an online course – broadband facilitates the access of information in many different forms.
Broadband is high quality internet access. It is important because technology is developing. Broadband is the gateway to new technology. It is “new” technology today, but something different could be “new” tomorrow, a week or even a year from now. Broadband is helping us develop new generations of geniuses. It is helping people spend their time in useful and easy ways.
Broadband can help you reconnect with your family no matter how far they are away from you. You can communicate with friends and family anywhere in the world. There are many ways that you can do this, through Facebook, Email, Instagram and Twitter. You can send pictures, letters or videos and you can even talk on sites like Skype.
Access to colleges through the Internet can help you educate yourself even if you live miles away from a college. I have a cousin who lives in rural Colorado who got her master’s degree online without having to travel to a school that would provide her the education she needed for a job. She was able to get a promotion with her degree at a health care clinic. The internet also allows you to translate English into other languages or the other way around, so you can talk to people of different cultures who speak a different language.
Broadband is important for communities because it allows people in towns without banks to check their bank accounts online without driving a long time to the nearest bank. Broadband can inform our communities and increase the level of citizen participation to strengthen local communities and the fabric of America’s democracy. It can also expand opportunities to weave citizen-based innovation and collaboration into our government. Broadband enables more citizens to obtain information and services from their government. In addition, high-speed access to the Internet can help citizens register to vote and help to ensure that our military men and women serving overseas have their votes counted.
Broadband lets you catch up on news, TV shows, business work and school work. It’s useful because you can better connect to your family by sending emails and posting updates. If I didn’t have broadband I couldn’t send emails, chat with friends, watch videos and play video games on the computer.
I’ve been asking elders and other community members what they use and most of the younger generations use computer apps to talk to their friends. A lot of the elders want to know how to use but haven’t been shown the latest apps on the Internet and having someone willing to teach them how to use the computers would help the elders stay in touch with family members that live far away and cannot afford to travel long distance. They would be able to see grandchildren and talk to them on Skype. People would be able to stay in touch and meet new friends.
I hope access to broadband will come to our reservation so all of the community could be happy and live a better life on the reservation. They wouldn’t have to worry about how fast it was. People could stay at home and work on schoolwork if they wanted to. Right now only some people in rural areas have access to broadband and for the most part it doesn’t reach most homes on the reservation.
Broadband for emergency services is very important. For example, if there was a building on fire and a call was made to 911, the firemen could check their devices to look at blueprints of the building and see where people are trapped and need help. They can use it to save people.