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Jul-08-2007 15:26printcomments

Op Ed:
Many Oregonians
Deprived of Developing
Right To Rapid Internet

21st Century Interconnections Essential for All Today As Public Service Responsibility For Real Citizenship

Computers have come a long way since the
beginning, but can Oregon catch up?
Photo: sci-fi-london.com

(BEND, Ore.) - Many Oregonians today --in the Seventh Year of our Twenty-First Century!-- are still deprived of essential rapid broadband connection to the worldwide Internet now serving other nations more broadly.

Other states, well aware of the greatest technological advantage to occur in the past 100 years, are rapidly providing and promoting wide developments in really-fast new broadband-access and usage.

Their leaders already recognize that it has become a state-level responsibility to guarantee even their most remote areas the rapid, reliable interconnection-to-the-whole-world which comes only with real broadband services.

We are already suffering essential, long-term damage in this nation by our lack of national policy for what business, educational, cultural and psychological gurus all see as undoubtedly the greatest single impact of any technology in world history.

National policy rapidly raised plans, capital and completion for widespread canals in the 18th Century; then for "universal" education, a uniquely American concept; followed by railroad networks flung across the nation in the 19th; and rapidly-improved highways in the 20th.

Then by revolutionary developments in K/12 and higher education, journalistic communication, motion pictures and radio and television; all aided and abetted by national-policy resolution, regulation and funding. Remember the GI Education Act? I do...very fondly!!

States took full part at each step, as insistent local-and-state based demand for usage-NOW guided legislators in creative supervision and advanced funding; to strengthen and support citizen, community and business-interest needs in do-it-now steps to serve the public wit, will and wisdom.

That was the sure beginning, followed by resounding successes as technological access became the basic component for fast-and-furious further progress in all walks of life, in community activities, and even in the basic responsibilities of American citizenry.

What followed is history's best story of how a nation and a people can put to work what innovative technologies provide; when properly guided by constant intervention, encouragement, and fully-justified findings from both national and state sources; supplementing in wise patterns what the private sector provides for itself via market operations.

Where's Oregon's statewide program for initiation and then-solid support for rapid, reliable establishment of such services anywhere in the State... Especially, now, as needs multiply and proliferate, in our now-deprived and defrauded rural areas; already suffering from "same-thing treatments" in education and other public-needs issues?

What did our adjourned-for-campaign/confrontation Legislature do --this last both-parties/"cooperation/promised" time-around-- to bring into being what we most essentially and immediately needed NOW, for ALL such situations?

Where's any ongoing, well-funded guarantee-approach that our own remoter-areas will rapidly receive and maintain the fast/reliable worldwide Internet interconnections they need for success in keeping-up NOW?

What an issue-and-plan opportunity for another of those multiple Commissions, so familiar to our Legislators, and so "pregnant with possibilities" once again --this time for some real action and legislative supports!

Recent small and large business operations, some even in rural and deprived areas, are proving out the internet-management productions potential already, as numerous local and state-press reports have detailed.

Similar same-level stories repeat again and again the lack of local broadband facility furnishing those same now-essential communications: Potential elements for education from K/12 through the community college and graduate-level learning operations essential to building our world-competitive work-force; right here in Oregon, at home, where such learning is easier, more productive, less expensive, and deeply now-demanded.

What we have now is only uneven private-sector responses to changing markets; with only fragmentary hodge-podge programs from a national government still the only major nation without a national policy; still hampered and hamstrung by continuing Federal Communications Commission close-focus on extending and strengthening corporate control of ALL media channels.

The FCC does not now supply us with the comprehensive data on full broadband-development technical information and usage statistics required by long-determined national laws.

How can we ever hope to construct solid, rational and sensible public policy without those basic numbers we need, showing what exists, where it is, where it is going-and-why?

Whatever we do, we can no longer freely choose to ignore and neglect broadband and its developments --and no state can make its own rational and reasonable plans without leadership by the FCC NOW.

Among economic gurus now practicing, it is an even-bet which will wreak the greatest damage, the most rapidly, to our economy and culture: Painful deprivations from comprehensive healthcare OR the lack of rational, reasonable public-sector and private-sector broadband developments; both now rapidly and inevitably dependent on burgeoning worldwide competition, clearly cued by Internet involvements.

What we now have is a threatening "digital divide" reflecting the economic embarrassments of many citizens and public institutions; still unable to provide their patrons with the proven-essential major-element for success in today's world: Rapid, easy, continuing and comprehensive access to the worldwide Internet.

Schools and colleges complain but continue to suffer from such fundamental deprivation; and services-available in rural and even in nearby metro-areas display determined denigration, brought on by simple market mechanisms.

Those once-workable market-tied mechanisms are now entirely unable to create, diversify and determine community and personal economic and cultural developments, driven by deep and diversified needs.

There must be better mechanisms massively and rapidly provided to make realistic and readily available what is rapidly becoming known worldwide as an additional "human right".

In America we have lead long and in very satisfying development of each and every such "right" as it proceeded from possibility by concept to probability via well-demonstrated need.

Here we have, again, the open question of leadership for both our own protection, preservation and probable essential further development.

In Oregon with its well-known and reality-recognized topography permitting possible profitable business operations in a dream homescape---the unique situation for such Internet-based developments for business at all levels surely doth exist.

WHY does that have to happen AGAIN, on still another completely obvious and NOW-demanded public policy?

OR does it?

Stay tuned for breaking news.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Henry Ruark July 12, 2007 9:40 am (Pacific time)

Famed management guru Peter Drucker has strong insighful book essential to demanded understandings NOW of this world-shaping trend: "Managing In The Next Society" ISBN 0-312-28977-4

Henry Ruark July 9, 2007 9:50 am (Pacific time)

To all: Slight correction in content right at end; should read: Governor Kulongoski attributed great recent gains in college-course funding costs and student aid very frankly: “People had to get to the point of saying: ‘I’m going to get screwed.’" WHY does that have to happen AGAIN, on still another completely obvious and NOW-demanded public policy ? OR does it ? Stay tuned for breaking news. (Sending via Comment due to breakdown here for outgoing email msgs.)

Henry Ruark July 9, 2007 6:50 am (Pacific time)

To all: “See also”: FIGHTING FOR AIR; The Battle To Control America’s Media”; Eric Klinenberg: Henry Holt, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0-8050-7819-0. A groundbreaking investigative work describing the corporate takeover of local news and its destructive impacts on democracy. Strongly ndorsed by Robert W. McChesney, Daniel Schorr, George Lakoff, Amy Goodman, Todd Gitlin and Thomas Frank international media gurus. Contains direct summary of Gannett takeover in Salem, and anti-competive behavior to kill off competition, with buy-off of civil suit (by Community Publications for $18 million) one week preceding court action. Both this book and CHAIN GANG: One Newspaper vs the Gannett Empire by Richard McCord (ISBN 0-8262-1375-8) see the Salem experience as encouraging further similar Gannett activities continuing nation-wide.

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