Broadband Gap is Educational, Not Just Structural

Oct 1, 2013

Providing broadband access is about more than just building infrastructure; education is also needed. 

Laying fiber optic cable in a rural area can be difficult and expensive.
Credit Robert Ashworth

That’s the message from Tithi Chattopadhyay, Broadband Chair for the state Public Service Commission.  She says people who don’t have access may not realize what they’re missing - especially when it comes to business owners. 

“Businesses that do have access think it’s critical, and businesses that don’t, don’t know how critical it is for their business. And I think there’s an important role for education in making them understand the value of this technology.  Because we have providers that put out infrastructure, but then subscription rates are low."

Chattopadhyay  says another critical link is gathering data about the kind of demand that exists in an area.  That can help persuade providers to make an investment.

“There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence and we’re moving away, to actually collecting data about what actually exists, what are people willing to pay.  Because that’s crucial for any planning effort.”

Chattopadhyay toured the Northwoods recently with the state Public Service Commission Chairman.