Everybody in the world understands what it means to be on-line.  What started as amusement and novelty is now a necessity and is woven deep into everyday life. 

Think of the many aspects of our lives that have  moved partly or wholly on-line:

Social

This is the obvious one.  Let’s think just of personal communication amongst family and friends.  While narrowband forms of communication, such as email and tweeting, have taken the place of old fashion pen and paper, more demanding broadband communication has become prevelant as well.  Everything from sharing pictures of family events to video conferencing with grandparents are becoming commonplace.

Education

Our children’s school assignments often require internet access.  Sometimes going on the internet to learn about something is the assignment.  From sites such as WikiPedia to the Math Doctor, there is a wealth of educational material literally at your fingertips.

The availabilty of knowledge is not the only change in education.  Increasingly, Colleges and Universities are offering courses on-line.  Lectures are broadcast over the internet.  Class discussion, notes, and office hours all take place in a virtual classroom.  As powerful a tool as this is, it cannot happen without broadband connectivitly.

Before you can take an onlie college course, however, you first have to get into college.  What student today would imaging going through the application process without access to the enrollment and financial aid information online?  What about the video tours of the campus and surrounding community?  Those are resources whcih cannot be effectively used without broadband connectivity.

Professional

Just lke the student,  those looking for work cannot dispense with the online tools for searching and applying for jobs.  The amazing social networking capabilities of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook are must have tools for the marketing and sales professional. Anyone who telecommutes feels their productivity increase directly in proportion with their internet connection speed.  And anyone who works with a global team knows telecommuting is a necessity to manage connections all around the world.

Government

Access to licensing, registrations, forms, documents and pending legislation.  Participation in on-line town hall meetings and Q&A sessions.

Financial

Banking, investing and paying bills.Health Care – Accessing Insurance records, test results and a wealth of medical information.

Media

Access to local, national and international news is available online that is not available in any other medium.  Traditional TV is delivered over the internet through services such as AT&T U-verse.  Both TV and radio are available for free over services like ShoutCast.  Video on demand is taking off through NetFlix and BlockBuster, companies that started off renting disks (dare I mention VHS).

That was a short list of the many areas of life where reliable broadband internet access is becoming a necessity.  I haven’t covered many areas such as shopping or gaming.  I still consider these broadband “electives” for the forseeable future.  What is important to realize, though, is this transformation is moving faster, not slowing down.  As it does so, the need for faster, more reliable internet connectivity grows.

One Comment

    • Tiffany
    • Posted February 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm
    • Permalink

    I couldn’t agree with you more! It seems as though in the past we “elected” to subscribe to the internet just like we “elected” to go out to dinner (when our budget allowed). That was when our family lived in Ann Arbor and the options to “connect” were many and more affordable. We also didn’t rely on the internet for any of the areas that you mentioned in your article except to socialize (which I would still consider a luxury rather than a need… despite the opinions of my Face Book addicted friends… although I suspect that the majority of them have broadband access).

    We were perplexed when we moved to rural Webster Twp. and realized that we had to choose from a lesser of three evils (i.e. dial-up, satellite, or cell phone technology)… none of which are adequate. To make matters worse, we are no longer in a position to “elect” whether or not to subscribe. We rely on internet access for educational purposes, to manage our finances, as well as for pursuing our careers. We look forward to the day when our options expand to include broadband.

    A BIG thank you for all who have contributed to the efforts to band together to make our voices heard (e.g. signed the petition and reported your “dead-zones”).