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In Focus

Let’s face it. The internet around here sucks!

Remember dial-up? I know most of you can hear that screeching tone in your head. It would take “39 years” to download a song and usually sometime along the way your mom would pick up the landline phone, which disconnected the internet and you would have to start your download all over again. I don’t miss that one bit!

Technology has come a long way since then. A good portion of northern Todd County has DSL which is insanely better than the days of dial-up. DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. Users get a high-speed bandwidth connection from a phone wall jack on an existing telephone network. DSL works within the frequencies that the telephone doesn’t so you can use the internet while making phone calls. But, with the constant need for better internet, DSL is falling extremely short of what we need.

It is frustrating for people who have to rely on hotspots with limited capabilities for their children to distance learn or even for those working from home. I had a hotspot for years and it was very annoying. Plus, data at that time was limited and you got stuck with extra fees for going over your limit.

Now we have streaming services, video conferences and a record amount of people working from home, including myself. The more people using services, the more it tends to slow it down.

My biggest problem is uploading my photos. Every time I upload pictures the internet dies until it is done uploading. It takes about an hour per gig to upload. On average I can easily do about 10 gigs of photos. That leaves me without internet most of the day or if I can time it right, I have them upload while I am asleep. It is a huge pain. And I have upgraded my system three times in the past year. There is no way I could even attempt to work from home with a hotspot.

Fiber would be ideal. Fiber-optic internet, commonly called fiber internet or simply fiber, is a broadband connection that can reach speeds of up to 940 megabits per second, with low lag time. The technology uses fiber-optic cable, which amazingly can send data as fast as about 70% of the speed of light.

Think of it this way. DSL is the new dial-up, like trying to run water through a partially clogged garden hose the size of a shoelace. Fiber is a completely clear firehose. I may be exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea. Can you imagine being able to stream your favorite show while your five kids are playing games or doing homework online at the same time with no interruptions, no lag time and nobody fighting over who gets to be online?

Think about it. How many devices do you use that require internet? Laptop, tablet, cellphone, security system, gaming consoles...this list can easily go on and on. Imagine if your entire family could use their devices at the same time with zero issues.

Our rural area has suffered far too long without good, reliable internet and we shouldn’t have to wait on what providers are going to do years from now.

A coalition of local cities and townships is forming to do just that. Bring fiber here and now. I support this 100 percent and you should too. Better internet will improve our local economy. Feel free to contact your state and regional representatives and share with them how important broadband is to our area and why we need it now and help to put pressure on area providers to bring us broadband. There are federal funds on the line...the bigger the voice, the better chance we have to improve our local internet infrastructure.

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