It goes without saying that the world feels terrible for the people in Katrina’s path. I can not imagine a more horrific experience than being in winds that are over 100 miles per hour and even if you escape the hurricane itself by leaving town, the fear of not knowing whether your belongings are in tact when you return has got to be terrible. I have lived through a few hurricanes myself but after seeing the footage this morning, what we’ve experienced in Connecticut seems mild in comparison.
As I browsed the web this morning I noticed some commentary on Cybertelecom.org regarding New Orleans that discussed what might happen if there is significant telecom damage as a result of the hurricane. The theory is that if the copper was destroyed, this could turn out to be a good thing for the residents in BellSouth territory stricken by this calamity.
You see BellSouth could end up rewiring the city with fiber instead of copper. New Orleans in turn could become the most wired city in America.
It is no secret that the US falls farther behind other countries in broadband adoption every month. US broadband choices are slower and more expensive than many other countries in a world – countries we don’t consider our technological equals by any means. We live in a time where broadband connectivity is crucial. Many people find our situation unacceptable, and for good reason. In a world with such fierce global competition, broadband access at high speeds and low prices is more important than new roadways in my opinion. Living in a digital age means we need to focus more on the digital thoroughfares. We need real “information super-highways.”
Although the government and FCC tells us they want faster broadband adoption and that broadband adoption is crucial for the future of the country, in the last few months alone a death blow has been dealt to hundreds if not thousands of ISPs due to decisions like Brand X.
So it seems that New Orleans could become a broadband leader due to not the government, not the FCC, not the benevolence of the RBOC but an act of God. Maybe there is something to that intelligent design talk after all.