SpeedMatters.org - Truth, Justice, and High Speed Internet For All

If you believe in the US as a country of innovation and on top of the latest trends, you'll want to visit SpeedMatters.org to clear up that misconception. Speed Matters is an organization dedicated to bringing high-speed Internet access to all areas of the country.

Currently, the US is number 16th on the list of countries for high-speed Internet subscribers. Our overall speeds in even the most advanced metro areas in the US lag far behind countries such as Japan, where speeds can be 5 times as high for the average consumer. Speed Matters has five guiding principles that explain the importance of this issue.
  • Speed and Universality Matter for Internet Access
  • The U.S. “High Speed” Definition is Too Slow
  • A National High Speed Internet for All Policy is Critical
  • The U.S. Must Preserve an Open Internet
  • Consumer and Worker Protections Must Be Safeguarded
This is not just a nice-to-have wish, but a crucial fight in our need to keep students, workers, and the US population in touch with the skills they will need to compete. Areas of the US that are already hurt by the shift from rural to urban population centers are even more disadvantaged due to lack of high-speed Internet access so critical to today's business world.

This hits me close to home and I'll explain why. My parents retired and moved to Maine in early 2002. The city they chose, according to the Maine government website, had high speed Internet. What they didn't know at the time, was that the Maine government tracks by zip code. Maine is a rural state and a single zip code can cover a lot of square mileage. Just because a portion of a zip code has access, doesn't mean everyone in the zip code does. And, guess what? They just so happened to be outside the coverage zone.

After 3 years of begging all the major communications companies in the area, letter writing, phone calls, and letters to the editor, they were no closer to a high-speed connection. People in their area only had dial-up or satellite with a $700 install fee, 2 year contract, and not much better than dial-up speeds. You know that great telecommuting economy? The one that allows people to work from home, well, it's not available in rural areas like this without high-speed Internet access.

People are being left behind. I'll give you another example, all Maine 7th graders get a computer to use in school, where there is a high speed connection. But when they go home to do their homework, they are forced to use dial-up. They don't have access to the latest tools to learn relevant job skills and the old ways of earning a living (mills, fishing, logging, etc) are no more.

So what happened to my parents? They got so fed up, they bought a small Internet company, changed the name to Mainely Wired, grew it to more than 5 locations, and now have close to 400 customers online. People who only vacationed in Maine have now moved to Maine full time, since they can get the Internet connection that allows them to do their jobs. In this case, simply the access to the connection has grown the local economy by keeping more people, their families, and their spending power in Maine.

Maybe your area has high-speed Internet. Maybe you are so used to it, you couldn't imagine it any other way. But stop and think what it would be like if you were using dial-up? Would you even use the Internet at all? Would you be as efficient? Would you be able to work from home once in awhile? And, the most important question of all - Would you even live in an area that didn't have high-speed Internet?
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