“The $@%#ing internet’s out again!!!!”
These are the hollers that fill my hallway every few days and inevitably are followed by a frustrated young student in our living room unplugging and plugging back in every last cord. Sometimes it works. Sometimes we wait. But the only other option is calling Charter who may get out here in a few days.
“67.7% of internet users age 45 or older say their daily routine would be disrupted if their online access was taken away for one week (42.9% say “significantly”) – with “the oldest segment looking very much like the youngest segment”. Some 43.9% of those age 55+ surveyed say there would be significant disruption in their lives if internet access were taken away.”
South Park did an episode about a nationwide Internet outage that sent our modern society into Grapes of Wrath insanity. Everybody is addicted to the web and an outage is disruptive to most. I talked to my five housemates about how their daily lives are affected by Internet outages.
Christian Sartori, a fifth semester engineering major said “When the Internet goes out here it messes up my daily routine. I have had a lot of trouble with my computer though so I’m a little more used to this.”
Jeff Rudolph, also a fifth semester engineering major said “The Internet going out forces me to get more work done sometimes because it takes away distractions, but if my assignment’s online I’m kind of screwed.”
Dave Tyler, a third semester sophomore who is undeclared said “It always seems to go out at the wrong time: when work’s due and I procrastinated.”
Steve Ellis is a third semester student who hopes to get into the graphic design program. “Up until now I’ve been able to cope if it’s out but nights without it can get quite boring.”
Steve Wasilewski is a fifth semester biology major. He says “I only like to do work at my desk so if the internet’s cut off and I have a test to study for, my study schedule is messed up.”
They don’t even know. Being in a class that requires blog posting, intense linking, steady googling, and use of diverse internet multimedia makes Internet blips absolutely maddening. The way that I feel as I unplug and replug wires is probably the same way I’d feel if I had to safely land a plane full of babies. I also feel that I have to put my guard up when dealing with Charter’s technical service because they may be trying to sell me stuff I don’t need.
Unemployment is also at a 26-year high. It seems to me the government has a great opportunity to create some jobs. If they trained a group of government workers to be skilled in internet repair, troubleshooting problems could be solved and potential future problems that could result from terrorism or disaster could be solvable.
“Parks Associates projects that customer support costs for home networks alone could exceed $200 mln annually for US broadband providers.”
That statistic shows there really is a demand. The workers could be government trained and can offer their services at reasonable rates nationwide. The ISP’s won’t be able to have exclusive control over your connection so they would have to get better at what they do too. Eventually, if the Internet truly becomes a public good, you would not need to charge for these services.
Society has become reliant on the web. Internet outages interrupt education (as well as facebook) and how should we expect our country to move forward if we can’t even maintain an Internet connection? The government should realize this and make the web more reliable.