Thursday, September 9, 2004

Rural mobility

With all the hype about huge urban WiFi networks , it's refreshing to see this story:

'Walla Walla County is better known for wheat fields than Wi-Fi. But a small community-owned utility in this agriculture-dependent region has constructed one of the largest wireless Internet networks in rural America, rolling out high-speed connections across about 1,500 square miles...

Usually in these open spaces, there is a lot less interference than there is in the big cities, both in terms of physical impediments like buildings, but also in terms of radio frequency interference... People ask if this is a niche application. The answer is no. There are thousands of these rural utilities across the U.S. that we think are great opportunities.'

I'm not sure this is a solution, as some claim, to the so-called "digital divide" (really, how crucial is it that rural people be able to 'view online photographs of farming equipment from nearby auctions'?) but using WiFi to 'control or monitor applications and equipment on the farm' sounds like it might make a real difference in quality of life.



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