Getting on the Right Side of the Digital Divide

Personally I would love to live [in Princeton], but not until I can get broadband access.

– Hubbardston resident

Info2

As technologies like high-speed internet are becoming commonplace for most of the country, communities without such offerings are finding themselves on the wrong side of the “digital divide”.

While the negative impact of home values without broadband internet is well proven statistically, there is also an additional problem for communities without a broadband internet investment: many home buyers won’t even consider moving into that community, regardless of how low the price is.

Consider recent comments made on our web site. A Princeton resident writes:

My son and his wife would love to move back to Princeton however are prevented from doing this as his and her careers require the availability of High Speed Internet.

Similarly, Bruce, a Hubbardston resident, writes:

I am a [Hubbardston resident], and this is streaming to you at 30Mbps on my broadband Internet connection. If you called me you would be talking to me over my VoIP telephone (home, work, and cell), or you could video call me via Skype, and of course if you broadcasted your town meetings (future?) I could watch you…via live streaming on my web browser.

What’s the point? If not obvious by now it’s that we as a human race love to connect and technology is both a great enabler (and at times, disabler) of the human connection. It’s become expected in any community with a reasonable level of population to have high speed access to the digital community in a form that everyone can participate in. Access to broadband Internet is as expected as electricity to the home, or telephone access. As a work from home family with high school children being cut off from access to the digital world is paramount to losing electricity- it kind of fun for a special night but terrible if you actually need to work, learn, and live.

I understand there are some that may not have a need for a higher level of access that some others do, that’s understandable and part of personal freedom – but you do live in a community – and part of living in community means we support the greater good that allows others and ourselves to prosper. I encourage all the residents of the town of Princeton to join in and get behind this solution that supports the benefit of the greater population.

Personally I would love to live there, but not until I can get broadband access.

The reality is that home values won’t just go down, but there is an entire set of buyers like Bruce that won’t even consider a home in an area that does not have high-speed internet.

Let’s get on the right side of the “digital divide”. 2013 is the time for us as a community to roll up our sleeves and invest in our future.

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4 comments

  1. GLL

      Shouldn’t the sentence in the second paragraph: “While the negative impact of broadband internet on home values is well proven statistically,” be “While the positive impact of broadband internet on home values is well proven statistically,”?   BTW.  I agree with all of the arguments FOR FTTH.  It seems like a lot of Princetonians are into nostalgia, that Olde Timey stuff, but… that should end quickly for anyone even trying to sell a house!   I’ll see you at the next Princeton Broadband info meeting on Wed., April 24 at 10 a.m. to help support FTTH.   Gary “You can’t really stand still.  To do so is an illusion, while the Universe moves on.”    

    Gary Langevin, President/Chief Technologist Wachusett Systems, Inc. Wachusett PC Support PO Box 182 29 Old Brooks Station Road Princeton, MA 01541 978-902-2168 978-464-5875 gary@wachusettpc.com http://www.WachusettPC.com    

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