No matter what they say the Obama’s Stimulus Plan was working for our economy. Just like the New Deal was working for Roosevelt during the Great Depression. When people got worried we were spending too much and shut off the tap, that’s when the things started to slump.
Fortunately for us in Okanogan County, our Public Utility District was able to secure a $9 million grant (see page 2) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), or as it is better known “The Stimulus.” While many in the Republican Party have railed against the act and promised to refuse money from it, several examples of it’s most ardent proponents can be seen posing with those giant checks or cutting ribbons for one project or another in their state that was paid for through this “dirty” money.
I’m overjoyed that our PUD is is the recipient of part of this filthy lucre. It means that more people in rural America, us, will be able to connect to broadband internet and participate in the technological boom that can help lift us all out of this recession. I’m in the “if you must spend money spend money, spend it here” camp – not too proud to want it or too foolish not to accept it. You’ve got to spend money to make money is a tenant of business – if you can spend someone else’s money even better.
Like John MacDonald, a Network Engineer for the PUD, the new fiber optic cable being strung at the wifi access points every mile and a half is exciting news. Personally I was on the old “PUD System” and it was great at first, but then it started slowing down and the cost to get higher speeds seemed too much. Then I switched to Qwest DSL (now CenturyLink) after vowing to never have anything to do with them when I cut off their phone line and went VOIP at a fraction of what they charge. I went with them because I was tired of slow broadband speeds and they promised up to 7mb. I never quite got that, but at first it was pretty good. That is until everyone seemed to be trying to use the internet at once and things have slowed way down. You can’t get any higher speed so I felt I was stuck, short of paying more for a fiber optic cable right to the house, just like we have at the office. No way I could justify that to watch Netflix and surf the net. So I’m hoping all those within three-quarters of a mile of a module will be able to get reliable speeds that won’t slow down just because more people subscribe. If things work out the way the PUD plans I might just get my wish.