Brittany Beyer, Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broad Band, presented The Economics and Relationships Needed for “The Fix”.
Today’s mashup of acronyms, mastered by Beyer to her credit, demonstrates widespread and as-yet relatively uncoordinated efforts to advance universal broad band access, but a growing awareness of their importance.
Embedded are fundamental elements of equity, diversity and inclusion, the divide between sparsely settled rural and densely settled urban environments, outdated mapping of coverage and profit disparities attendant to the commerce of coverage, and the profound need for universal collaboration and coordination.
Beyer framed the fundamentals as access, affordability, and adoption.
Access is best and almost universal in urban areas, but the rules of measurement—mapping population together with broad band coverage—tilts systemic access heavily to cost-efficient urban areas while omitting high-cost, less efficient access to rural areas.
The resulting dilemma is captured in the subject of affordability, which requires a collaborative and systemic mix of commercial, government, philanthropic, and personal funding that is moving slowly toward the need to address the growing acknowledgment that, like electricity and rural mail delivery, broad band access has become a universal necessity and equalizer.
Adoption, the third leg of the stool, highlights the need to educate and aid those yet unfamiliar with the technology and capability that can be available to them.
There are test models and examples of successful local or at best regional well-led initiatives that work—in Reedsburg, WI and surrounding towns, for example; in Iowa County, a leader in a systemic mapping of service needs and population density; and in Brown County, where a model expansion is underway.
Today’s program was but a piece of the story. Two complementary Rotary programs will present other facets of the quest for a systemic approach to universal high speed broad band service, one in July and one in August.
Our thanks to Brittany Beyer for her presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/HiLfVKXGTLA.