Access to the Internet: some personal reflections from a rural Upstate New Yorker

Living just 20 minutes south of Syracuse, NY I assumed I would be able to at least get cable Internet when I moved from the city out to the country.  Sure I lived next to a farm, but I was not that far from a city.

Not so.  There is no cable.  There was no DSL either.  The only option was satellite Internet.  10 years ago this was expensive, but we did it because we needed Internet access for our jobs.  $400 for the satellite and $50 a month.

It took forever to load: upload, download.  Arrrgh!

In frustration I called the cable company and asked if they would run cable to the house. They said the closest box was a country block away.  I thought it would be good for their business to run it and then try and get the houses between the box and our house to sign up too.  ” You would have to pay for it.” “Well how much is it?”  Now I don’t remember so well what the amount was but it was more than a couple thousand dollars.  No way could a couple teachers afford it.  So, back to the satellite.  It was better than dial up.

A couple years later we got a new neighbor and we were chatting and he said he got DSL.  It was so exciting.  As it was true.  Why we didn’t know this new service existed?  Beats me.  But the one phone company you can choose in this rural town had started installing DSL (and not advertising it).  And so 8 years later I type this little story using DSL.  Sometimes it works and sometimes the wind blows and the telephone company is at the corner tinkering with the phone box to try and fix the DSL.  But, I can be an online student and only occasionally have to go to the public library 15 minutes away to turn in my homework.

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