Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2017

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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MARCH/APRIL 2017 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 21 lifestyle, these benefits are possible only if rural residents can stay ahead of the avoidable downside risks. And risks certainly do exist. Hate- mongering, fake news, anti-science propaganda, hacking and ransomware are only a few of the dangers that await internet users – and corrupt the society and body politic of the United States. But the benefits exist, too. For those whose love of rural life tops their love of money, online flextime work can deliver supplemental incomes. For the more ambitious, "making the living you want, living wherever you want" is increasingly viable. Increasingly, rural folks learn from others online what's already working for others like them. TIME IS A FINITE RESOURCE Even just considering the benefits, there can be too much of a good thing. As time is the most finite resource, for a great many rural folks, particularly seniors, less is more in the age of information overload. As ever faster internet delivers more and more video content and as smartphones, social media and apps take up more hours of each day, immersion in digital media can diminish the rural esthetic and lifestyle. us, the shortest way of keeping people updated will matter more and more. Purposefully curated, ongoing updates targeted to individual needs are likely to evolve quickly. Smarter support services must accompany faster internet services. Time-saving smart services and smarter collaboration can prevent isolated rural citizens and rural communities from unnecessarily duplicating efforts in their attempts to keep current. Hidden among the proliferating number and variety of apps, which many people find overwhelming and threatening, are time-saving gems that can help people. e challenge is to identify the fast-track training and insights that can turn technofear into welcome empowerment and to find acceptable ways of teaching them. Most rural folks prefer to learn from peers rather than institutions, organizations or government agencies. Being traditional arguably means staying the same, but the pioneers, of necessity, engaged in creative adaptation to survive as they encountered many unknowns on the new frontier. LOCAL SUPPORT NETWORKS Local mutual support networks offer opportunities for people who can share digital solutions to mentor those who need solutions. Mitigating the growing threats to personal security and maximizing the benefits of smarter shopping and quick access to essential information is not just a matter of spending a few hours at a digital literacy workshop. In the mid-1980s, bulletin board system operators created the first local community networks. ey touted the vision of bringing good people together with the efficiencies of online collaboration to build local community capacity. e idea was as obvious as can be: Locals can better support one another through the convenience of online sharing to communicate what's new and useful. Typically, grassroots champions served as the necessary change agents to raise awareness and enthusiasm. Even though dial-up was slow and expensive, MIT's plasma fusion lab worked with the University of Montana Western to deliver online courses in chaos theory mathematics to seventh- Lone Eagle Consulting headquarters in Montana

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