Each month the Blandin Foundation hosts two conversation or lunch bunch sessions; on the second Wednesday of the month the focus is Infrastructure and on the fourth the focus is Digital Inclusion and Use.
On August 25, I propose a conversation with Micah Beck, Associate Professor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville on basic broadband. I think it will be an interesting discussion I hope you will join with all of your experience trying to get usable broadband for your community or in your house.
Micah recognizes that broadband is expensive – especially when we are talking about high speed symmetrical service to all corners of the state, country or world. He has said that, “the Internet was never designed for “universal service” reaching every mobile device in the world at a personally affordable cost. Instead he proposes a type of broadband where information and transactions don’t happen necessarily in real time but where there’s a modern distributed storage & processing techniques to overcome delays due to distance, interruption, disaster, oversubscription. This would be a service that could support all Internet services other than “synchronous telepresence”.
Micah has a few articles that might help make his case. First is a school girl in Northern India who was sent home during the pandemic. She didn’t have access to broadband. (This may sound familiar.) A delayed internet access might have better served her than nothing. The other article aligns – Inclusive Broadband Connectivity Is Within Our Reach with that ethos.
I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure I’m sold on the idea but my high schooler (in St Paul) was able to access broadband during the pandemic. And her sisters are coming home from Winnipeg to finish their degrees remotely this semester. We’d love to have some folks who were left in the cold or using paper packets or parking outside the McDonald’s to get their own work done chime in on the topic.