High-speed Internet

I recently returned from a surf safari in Central America. It was a rather relaxing trip. For the first time in many, many years, I was, more or less, turned off. For once, I was not teaching an online course, or required to support software or build a new course or software component. I even took a break from doing research. Instead, with the exception of my Kindle and my smartphone for occasional email checkups, I got to enjoy my vacation as it should be, free of social networking, blogging and, well, work!

Be that as it may, I was still somewhat shocked by the internet speeds in Nicaragua. While I was not expecting blazing-fast speeds, I was expecting moderate speeds. Yet what I encountered was bandwidth barely sustainable for music streaming through Google Music. And attempting to stream a Netflix movie was just about impossible.

Even though I was thankful for being unplugged, I found the lack of high-speed broadband disconcerting. As an information scientist, I like to think that equal access to data can be a great global equalizer, particularly for developing nations. There is such a great hope that one day all people will have access to laptops and the Internet, to be able to search and explore people and places outside their own. Unfortunately, the world still has a ways to go. I am hopeful that with such initiative as the 1 laptop per child initiative along with WiMax and cellular technologies, greater access to information at higher speeds will begin to flow to these countries. I guess only time will tell. And I’ll send an update from Peru next year!

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