Hi-Speed Internet in El Dorado County - Who wants it and Who is working to get it?
WHAT THE HECK IS “BROADBAND” and WHY DO WE NEED IT IN EL DORADO COUNTY?
The term broadband refers to the wide signal processing (bandwidth) characteristics of a transmission medium and its ability to transport multiple signals and traffic types simultaneously. The medium can be coax, optical fiber, twisted pair or wireless. In contrast, baseband describes a communication system in which information is transported across a single channel. Different criteria for "broad" have been applied in different contexts and at different times. Its origin is in physics, acoustics and radio systems engineering, where it had been used with a meaning similar to wideband. However, the term became popularized through the 1990s as a vague marketing term for Internet access.
Prior to the invention of home broadband, dial-up Internet access was the only means by which one could access the Internet and download files such as songs, movies, e-mails, etc. It would take anywhere from 10–30 minutes to download one song (3.5 MB) and over 28 hours to download a movie (700 MB). Dial-up Internet was also considered very inconvenient as it would impair the use of the home telephone line, and users would contemplate whether or not to get a second line, and if doing so was worth the cost.
In 1997, the cable modem was introduced, although the common use of broadband didn't begin rising until 2001. Having a broadband connection enabled one to download significantly faster than on dial-up. As with many new technologies, most consumers were unable to afford the cost of faster Internet service. However, high costs weren't a factor for long as by 2004, most average American households considered home broadband service to be affordable. Since its inception, broadband has continually strengthened and available connection speeds continue to rise.
“COMMUNITY” ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The January 28th presentation by the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) was about Broadband. Key points included how EDC can link the countywide effort in support of soliciting new business, and the need to support local existing businesses throughout the county. The needs of both are not unique and lead us back the adopted BOS Objectives cited above: Both existing and new businesses need access to current infrastructure such as Broadband to be efficient and compete with other areas for business, recreation and tourism; both have asked for reform of our regulatory processes and the removal of unnecessary constraints to it; both require a widespread, inclusive community effort to encourage visitors to come to EDC and stay awhile; both require a range of housing to meet the needs of their work forces; and finally, both may require funding to accomplish their goals.
For example: Broadband (see following article) is a technology that is being established in many areas of the state, from large metropolitan cities to some of California’s most rural counties. There has been a small local group working on this very issue (and we will provide information on those efforts in our next newsletter) yet until now there’s been no focused, communitywide effort throughout EDC to fund the effort. So a few EDAC members did some research and discovered some eye-popping facts about potential funding sources and we will cover those facts also in the next issue of this newsletter.