South Carolina aims to ...

Posted February 26, 2007 by Evan Tishuk

Metcalfe's Law compels me to believe that the internet should be omnipresent and nearly free for everyone. The more people the better. I just wonder if there will be a subscription fee or will the costs mostly come out of my taxes? If the government is involved, the service will inevitably become slow and shoddy. However, before every rural farmer starts blogging and YouTubing, it'll be cool to go anywhere and not need a wireless data plan to check my email or look something up on Google. Heck, I could cancel my cell phone and use Skype or Vonage while driving to Charleston!

Oooohh, and maybe Charter will sense the competition and stop sucking.

Anyway, I said it before and I'll reiterate, WiMAX is the way to go here. The state of South Carolina needs to put a WiMAX node on every other street lamp, palmetto tree, and confederate flag. Good things will happen.


Adam Gautsch ~ February 27, 2007

My first response is the government will find a way to eff it up and we should let the free market decide such matters. But it would be cool to have a wi-fi state wide.

nobrainer ~ February 27, 2007

I expect that the program will be over-promised and under-delivered. We'll see how it goes.

Evan Tishuk ~ February 27, 2007

Still, it's not something you expect to hear out of the SC legislature. I give Jim it a big thumbs up for trying.

nobrainer ~ February 28, 2007

It is a bold, and ambitious plan.

Jim ~ February 28, 2007

I like the idea (a lot), but I imagine there are some serious security issues that would need to be overcome with such a large, open network.

olivier blanchard ~ March 01, 2007

If the state or charitable organizations can help subsidize access to home computers as well, it'll be even cooler.

A big public transportation upgrade would be a nice touch too... but one thing at a time.

Adam Gautsch ~ March 01, 2007

As long as the government is paying for things I'd like a new gas grill for the summer please.

Jeremy ~ March 02, 2007

Hmmm...wireless internet everywhere in the state. Sounds like a broadband theif's paradise.

Security have to be a big question, no? Either that or a massive education of the community to not use their credit cards or personal stuff on the wireless network.

Jimmy ~ March 04, 2007

I don't understand what the security issue is. What is different from using a Wireless network or broadband (wired) connection? If you are on the internet, you are on an open network regardless of the physical connection to the internet.

As for the actual issues with the gov't. It all depends on how they work the proposals. They should look at the deal that philadelphia did to allow for an open earthlink network that allows the use of city property as well. San Francisco si currently going through some pains with dealing with the issues of public versus private funds. Google and earthlink are both trying to build up that network.

The real barrier to this legislation will be the technology itself (wimax) and the competition (charter) Cable firms have the most to lose from a wireless network and they are fighting every city that attempts to build one.

Chris ~ March 04, 2007

The Current polictical establishment does not have the will, or knowledge to get this done! There are Tax Credits avalible from the Federal Gov't to promote things like this. Including funding venture capital to areas of economic distress. This could be done through the NMTC (NEW MARKETS TAX CREDIT) program, and CDFI's (community development financial institutions). But yet there is nether in South Carolina. We need more forward thinking people to come to the state. We have a great oppurtunity. Chris

james ~ March 06, 2007

Sorry evan.. wireless free for all.. it’s a great idea.. just like other free for all plans.. everyone likes free. The truth of the mater is that free internet want do anything for anyone. The poor in sc need a good education and a good job, the average people need more opportunities and the wealthy have the money to pay for it. The idea that free wireless internet will help anyone is the same that think new schools help SAT scores.. If we want to give something a way for free it should be education not.. the internet.

Evan Tishuk ~ March 06, 2007

@James: Fair enough. But look at the interstate road system. It's essentially free in that it costs you almost nothing to drive on it (save for the gas and taxes). It's also a demonstrable fact that connecting remote communities to quality roadways helps both that community and the greater community to which it has been connected. One of the things that keeps third world contries in the third world is a lack of adequate roadways. The same is true for any network. I see what you're saying, if the poor and undereducated in SC can't (or don't know how to) actually USE the internet, then it's not worth the hassle to provide it for free. I do however think that a couple other interesting things will happen if SC is a "hot" state: (1) people will learn how to leverage the technology without having their hands held by a rusting education system and (2) smart (probably highly-paid) people from outside the state will relocate to SC, thereby stemming the runaway brain-drain that helps to make SC one of the poorest and poorly educated. So with one swipe several primary concerns are met, if somewhat indirectly. I really think it's a good longish-term idea.

jimmy ~ March 06, 2007

I think the brain drain out of SC is a myth.

Evan Tishuk ~ March 06, 2007

Jimmy, that's so flattering. Thanks.

Wait... You graduated from Clemson with a 4.0 in Electrical Engineering and 12 asterisks of distinction on your diploma. And you're working where? Washington DC. Yeah, it's a myth.

james ~ March 06, 2007

Interstate road system was built to move warheads around the country and it just happened that it worked out well for economy. You do pay for them more than half of the cost of a gallon of gas are road taxes. Also those paying taxes at the time paid for the first system.. of roads..

I suppose that we can increase taxes to pay for this "free" service.. The government has to pay for it somehow .Which would decrease the amount of money that everyone has to spend in the economy because of increased taxes.. nothing is “free”

Gov. is meant to build the framework to which a society and commerce take place in.. its not meant to be an ISP. The gov doesn’t need to get into the daily lives of people anymore than it is.. already.. is

SC need to continue to build, expand and strengthen the framework which the average SC resident wakes up to each day.. a framework that creates opportunities and fosters success and nurtures ideas..

not one that is providing services that a free economy can... like i said everyone likes free.. and free is hard to say no to.. but there other things we need to spend our time and energy on.

Lets work on making sure that every sc child can compete in the global economy.. and then they can spend money in the economy to buy the services they need.. vs the rest of us footing the bill.

Besides anyone can go to their local library or school to get on the net.

jimmy ~ March 14, 2007

Evan - I was never from SC. So net-net, I don't affect the brain drain. Where as you are the same way and decided to stay there after college making a positive impact to SC. You should really try to find people from SC who moved away. I have a feeling that people move away for a while (jump start their careers) and the come back. The allure of the community that SC has is very hard to give up for the native. Plus, you have more people moving to the south than any other area of the country. If anything, SC should be a net importer of educated folks.

Malcolm ~ June 04, 2007

The brain drain from South Carolina is no myth. I went to Dreher High School in Columbia in the late 1980s, and was in AP/magnet school classes. I can name one person, one, in my AP cohort who stayed in South Carolina. Of the people I'm in touch with, no one is considering going back. I know more people from my AP groups in California than in South Carolina.

But don't take my word for it. The Southern Technology Council maintains quite a few stats on this, and finds that educational attainment is one of the biggest predictors on who leaves.

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