Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meeting The Governor

Okay, so I'm stretching it here a bit. I didn't meet The Governor of my fine State of Massachusetts, but I did go and hear him speak this morning. Friday afternoon, I got an e-mail from Massachusetts Broadband Institute announcing that Governor Patrick would be speaking at the Town Hall in New Salem, Massachusetts. At first I dismissed the e-mail, muttering to myself, "oh yeah, just another big meeting in the eastern part of the State." And then I thought a bit about it and remembered that New Salem is nowhere near "old" Salem, it's actually about an hour from my hometown and the home of Leslie Sharr who often comments on this blog.

I thought about it for the weekend and asked my neighbor Alicia if she would like to go see what the Governor had to say. Alicia and I are spearheading efforts for broadband service to unserved residents of our town. Off we toddled down the hill and over many more hills to come upon the beautiful New England town center of New Salem. The place was swarming with police cars, residents and many folks who had driven in from all over the State who are desperate for broadband service. I even ran into Leslie Sharr, how's that for a small world! Also got to meet John Ramsay, Regional Administrator of the Western Massachusetts Library System who recognized me for my t.v. appearance in support of libraries and broadband.

The Governor was late but when he did arrive eventually and when he began speaking I was impressed. I have never seen "a governor" before and not a big fan of politicians. Governor Patrick was compassionate, caring, smart, and seems committed to all residents of MA having Broadband Service by the end of 2011. Although this seems an eternity, it made me feel a bit better to see and hear personal stories of so many others who are in the same boat as me.

You can read more about the meeting here. The general purpose of the meeting was to announce a software program for "mapping" unserved households of the State of Massachusetts. With the data that the Mass Broadband Institute receives they will then be able to develop a plan for getting high speed service to all households. Although this whole announcement seems to do little to get me and my fellow unserved residents Broadband, it seems that it is a step in the right direction. As much as I would like a miracle to happen and all of a sudden have Verizon drive up to my door and install a fiber optic cable opening the world of Broadband to my home, I have to be realistic. If this mapping thing helps, then I will do my best to get my neighbors to sign up.

If you live in Massachusetts and are are unserved by high-speed internet service, sign up here to help the State map your location:
Mass Broadband Mapping Survey for Dial-up users

It was a good day out and although I didn't get a lick of work done, sometimes you have to get out there to know you aren't the only one struggling in similar situations. That's the problem with working from home in an isolated area - not that I would give it up. For all you wannabee country folks, just know that moving to the country does pose problems that you might never think about.


Leslie said...

It was so nice to see you in my little town today, Kristin! It is a sweet place although our Select Board -- well let's just say I'm no fonder of local politicians than I am of many national ones. While we know not every household in rural Western Mass will have broadband by the end of 2011 at least we know there's hope.

And while we wait I will continue with my Sprint Air Card - it sure beats dial up (although since it costs $60/month it darn well better).

Joanne said...

This is just the kind of thing I understand...now that I've lived in a smaller city. I went to see our governor when he did a town hall tour and it made a huge difference to me...I felt much more connected to "the system" afterwards. Our governor is a good person and--even if its effects doesn't ever get to me--his policies are compassionate and reasonable ones. Sometimes a day out exploring issues that aren't work related can be a good thing. Good that you took the time out to do it! (I have faith that your internet will happen. If rural internet happens anywhere, it will happen in MA long before it happens in KY!)