Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tech, Natl Broadband & Net Neutrality

Rats! I already wrote a post on this subject but somehow I deleted it after posting. How can it disappear? The joys of technology, and these are part and parcel of the challenge. Bob Bocher of Wisconsin came to conference as a part of the State Library's OWL (Online With Libraries) project but not to talk about picayune blogging problems. Rather, his is the national perspective. Bob is a nationally recognized expert on broadband issues. His topics, in 2 sessions, covered net neutrality, FCC, NTIA, ALA, Connect America (which doesn't try to include Alaska or Hawaii), internet capacity and more. There is a significant national interest in promoting higher capacity broadband and most places are way ahead of Alaska. Our OWL project works to bring Alaska public libraries up to 1.5 Mbs and this is a big lift; many places down South are aiming at 100Mbs! Eek! Bob has spent hours with Sue Sherif and Rich Greenfield learning about the Alaska Internet landscape and about our challenges. This session was valuable from both sides: we learned from him about what is going on outside and we taught him much more than he had known about the real picture and issues related to Alaska Internet. This will help him make better decisions and recommendations as he advises us on ways to move ahead with sustainability for OWL libraries' futures. Furthermore, Bob's discussion of net neutrality was very important information for librarians from all sorts of libraries. Important questions, discussed but not answered: --what is the definition of "affordable bandwidth"? --what is the definition of "adequate bandwidth"? --how will Alaska libraries sustain costs after OWL?

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