The Center for Rural Policy and Development curated letters to the new governor from experts in different areas from around Minnesota – including a letter from Gary Johnson and Brian Bissonette from Paul Bunyan Communications in Bemidji.
If you have someone on your team or a leader in your community that needs to better understand the why and how or broadband – share this with them! They have incorporated some easy instruction on the difference between copper, wireless and fiber – and a little telecom history.
At the end they give some recommendations – to approach broadband policy with an eye toward abundance, not scarcity…
If you think about your Internet experience, whether it’s those early dial-up days or that rat’s nest of dusty cables behind your desktop computer or your Wi-Fi connection today, your Internet service provider has always been the throttle or choke point in your experience.
It’s only recently with gigabit speeds that Paul Bunyan Communications as a provider is no longer the bottleneck. Unless you have fairly new equipment, it’s very likely a gigabit Internet connection will be faster than your computer’s networking capabilities, your Wi-Fi can transmit, or that distant website can send the data back to you.
That’s how it should be.
Paul Bunyan Cooperative’s philosophy has been that customers should make the decision on what they need, what they can do, or what’s fast enough. Instead of being the gatekeepers, providers should strive to be the enablers of whatever can be dreamt up today or in the future.
Yet today, policy makers and ISPs alike still are deciding what speed is good enough, often setting the bar low for economic reasons and trying to use the existing—often copper wire—infrastructure or slow wireless technologies as a short-term solution.
Funding spent on existing aging infrastructure and old technology like copper results in no real progress in Internet speeds and capabilities and is a wasted opportunity to build for the future.
Our investments in infrastructure should be for the future, not on decades-old technologies. Our expectations for speed should be lofty, not what just gets us by for now. That means fiber optic networks delivering gigabit speeds and beyond.
We can do this today if there is the will. The dollars are there if we invest them in the right way, on the right technologies, and for the right reasons.
Let’s not just get by. Let’s think big. Let’s do what is possible, so that we enable those who follow to dream of what’s next.