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Opinion: We Need Broadband in Communities

Published April 26th, 2013

Our World is getting faster. Just think about how much time it takes to find information like the news.

In the past, the fastest news were breaking news bulletins that interrupted our TV. Nowadays, we get information as soon as it happens. Facebook transmits opinions, pictures and news instantly. I can be in Anchorage at the basketball tournament, and let all my readers instantly see pictures of highlights in Barrow or Kotzebue. Almost instantly.

The world is getting faster and rural Alaska is barely keeping up. By the time rural Alaska gets caught up, we will be behind again.

In Anchorage, there are exciting things happening with information. AT&T activated their LTE cellular networks, and on your iPhone you can download information faster than using wifi. This fast new network coincided with news that Verizon is starting an operation in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. Verizon is slightly larger than AT&T in the lower 48 and both networks continuously battle for customers. Verizon's arrival is likely to herald faster mobile broadband.

Right on cue, GCI and ACS announced they were combining forces in infrastructure to offer LTE to their customers.

Before the end of this year, Southcentral Alaska will have 3 major networks with blazing fast internet for mobile phones. In rural Alaska, there is no such thing as LTE, or even 4G or 3G, except perhaps if you consider Prudhoe Bay to be rural Alaska.

Dillingham, Bethel and soon Nome will be connected to GCI's TERRA network, a faster technology than satellite with few dropped connections. Even this vastly improved connectivity is an old technology. These improved speeds are what Anchorage or Seattle had a decade ago, and the data caps for individuals households is very low considering the staggering amount of information and data we transmit through the internet nowadays.

The World is only going to get faster.

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