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Old 07-29-2021, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,992 posts, read 4,804,841 times
Reputation: 4897

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TL/DR: Rural Broadband Access in Mississippi will have massive economic impact to the state. This is the modern economic equivalent of the early 20th century buildout of rural electric and telephone systems.
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In 2018, Mississippi was ranked 49th with regards to rural broadband access. Then things slowly started to turn around in January, 2019. A new law was passed, eliminating an old 1942 law preventing rural electric associations (REAs, Co-Ops) from providing any service other than electricity. Primary electric transmission utilities (Entergy, TVA, Southern Company) had been expanding their backbone fiber networks along electrical transmission lines, and now REAs could tap into those systems. The funding still wasn't there, but at least it was now legal, so a few REAs started pilot programs.

Then in early 2020, COVID-19 caused the MS legislature to finally wake up. Schools had to send students home to keep them and their parents and grandparents alive, but there was no way for many of them to connect to the internet to continue learning remotely. This wasn't an issue of people not being willing to pay for broadband; it simply did not exist for large portions of Mississippi. Citizens had no way to access it at any cost. Don't even try make an argument for satellite internet, which is incredibly expensive, has horrible latency (can't be used for teleconferencing), and is non-functional during bad weather. And I can point to large swaths of rural Mississippi with zero to one bars of cellular data access.

In summer 2020 the legislature tapped into federal COVID-19 relief money for emergency broadband access in some areas. The REAs that had started pilot programs expanded them, and other REAs jumped on the bandwagon.

My parents live in the middle of nowhere Mississippi. Several miles across a major swamp/flood plain from the nearest cable internet. Near the extreme end of their REA's radial network. On a rural "party line" phone system until the 1990's, so don't even think about DSL. About 5 miles from the nearest cell tower, and their metal roof kills the little bit of signal they get. I had to install a directional antenna on their roof connected to an internal amplifier and antenna just so I could get enough cellular signal to connect to work while visiting. Long-term visits were not even a consideration. Now, they get to finally join the 21st century. They're expected to have access to fiber broadband by December.

Broadband will be MASSIVE to rural Mississippi. Businesses wouldn't open in some places because they didn't have internet. COVID-19 has proven that office people can successfully work from home, so people can now re-locate to Mississippi to take advantage of cheaper cost of living. People can live farther out from cities (Memphis, Jackson, Coast) because they're commuting a few times a month to check in instead of daily.

My mom can get my early-onset dad access to telehealth appointments to get his prescriptions filled instead of begging him to go to doctor's appointments. My mom can sell her awesome crochet work on Etsy. My relatives with a large farming operation can expand their internet sales. My nieces and nephews can do school research at home (and of course join online games with their Playstation). I can stay with my parents for weeks at a time, helping take care of my dad, because my work can be done remotely.

If you can't tell, I'm kinda excited about this.
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Old 07-30-2021, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Jack-town, Sip by way of TN, AL and FL
1,655 posts, read 1,600,603 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by An Einnseanair View Post
Broadband will be MASSIVE to rural Mississippi. Businesses wouldn't open in some places because they didn't have internet. COVID-19 has proven that office people can successfully work from home, so people can now re-locate to Mississippi to take advantage of cheaper cost of living. People can live farther out from cities (Memphis, Jackson, Coast) because they're commuting a few times a month to check in instead of daily.
I thought about this too. The real winners are towns within an hour or so of Memphis and Jackson that have decent reputation for schools.

And so many people want to live in their hometowns. This will enable that.
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Old 08-02-2021, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Dallas
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This is great news. 10 years ago I lived in rural NE Mississippi and had to use dial-up for my internet connection. Had to drive 3 miles just to get cell phone coverage.
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:12 PM
 
2,690 posts, read 1,674,018 times
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Just another way for people with friends in high places to line their pockets.
https://reason.com/2021/08/02/govern...alls-for-more/
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Old 08-04-2021, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,992 posts, read 4,804,841 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suesbal View Post
Just another way for people with friends in high places to line their pockets.
https://reason.com/2021/08/02/govern...alls-for-more/
Welcome to reality: corruption exists.

Any time there is a way for unethical people to make money in unethical ways, they will do so. Whether it's predatory lending (quick cash now!), selling inferior products (guaranteed until I declare bankruptcy!), cheating on their taxes (the IRS is corrupt, they must be defunded), or taking advantage of friends in political office, it has happened for all of known history and it will continue to happen.

Any time government money flows, some people do anything and everything they can to tap into that money. Military spending, highways, welfare, research, whatever. This is just another flow of money.

Of course the watchdogs should look for and punish this activity when it happens. But trying to use this as a reason to eliminate programs that help the vast majority of people is just assinine.

I live in Chattanooga TN, home of one of the first public-owned broadband networks in the USA (fiber to home). It worked amazingly, surviving multiple lawsuits from scared cable and telecomm companies, and even state laws passed by bribed representatives to try to limit them. It's still going strong a decade later. Entry-level speeds are 300Mb/s ($58/month), with 1Gb/s only a few dollars more, and even 10Gb/s available at a significant price increase. To any and all homes and businesses in their service area. I still remember the day I got hooked up, when I was finally able to call Comcast and tell them to **** off forever.

I'm sure there are some efforts that failed due to local incompetence and/or corruption. But I assure you if the people in charge care it most definitely can work, and can work incredibly well.

Last edited by An Einnseanair; 08-04-2021 at 12:15 PM..
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,992 posts, read 4,804,841 times
Reputation: 4897
Also, that article mentions 5G as making fiber-to-home obsolete. That bit tells me all I need to know about the author; either they are completely ignorant of the subject, or they are lying to their readers.

5G cellular does have vastly superior speed and bandwidth over 4G, but only if you are within range of a 5G antenna. In open air, standing on a hill without trees where you can actually see the antenna, 4G will get you minimal signal out to about 10 miles. Cut that waaaaay down if you have trees or hills in the way (hello, Mississippi hill country!). With 5G, that range is only about a 1/4 mile (1,500-ft) in open air, maybe a few hundred feet with trees, hills, or buildings. Unless you expect telecomm companies to lease land to install a few hundred thousand more cell towers across the state, along with the backhaul infrastructure to get all that data out to the main internet (hint: not gonna happen), 5G is just a fairy tale for rural Mississippi. It'll be cheaper to just run a wire to each home.

Same for the arguments in the article that this effort should be left to private companies. Again, either ignorance, or the author is working for someone this effort will hurt. Cell phones are private, and have been around for decades, and still there are large chunks of Mississippi without even voice cell coverage, much less data. Private companies are in it for profit (nothing wrong with that), and there simply is no profit in supplying data infrastructure to rural areas. The government even provided grants to telecomm companies over the last several decades to provide service to rural areas, but the money just vanished into executive bonuses.

The only way this was ever going to happen was through public-owned entities with government money and mandates, just like rural electrification and phone service last century. There are already multiple wires running to every home and business in the state to deliver power. It's a zero-thought-needed decision to put one more wire on those same poles to carry data. Plus the bonus of added electrical reliability through fiber-connected meters.

Last edited by An Einnseanair; 08-04-2021 at 12:28 PM..
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Old 11-10-2022, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,992 posts, read 4,804,841 times
Reputation: 4897
Approximately 15 months after I found out my parents' extreme rural area was part of a program to get direct fiber-to-the-home, I was able to Facetime my mom on her new wifi. I knew the original projections were off, but it took much longer than I anticipated. They ran the fiber on the line in front of their house way back in June of this year.

She is planning a tele-health appointment with my dad next week, who refuses to go to see a doctor and is suffering from major dementia. With tele-health, a blood-pressure cuff, and a few other bits of medical equipment hopefully his doctors will be able to improve his medication.

I will be visiting over Thanksgiving and finalizing plans to restore and convert part of an old shed into an office. At that point I'll be able to visit way more often and help her and my brother. I'm hoping at least once a month or so for a week at a time.
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Old 11-10-2022, 08:48 PM
 
509 posts, read 844,510 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by An Einnseanair View Post
5G cellular does have vastly superior speed and bandwidth over 4G, but only if you are within range of a 5G antenna. In open air, standing on a hill without trees where you can actually see the antenna, 4G will get you minimal signal out to about 10 miles. Cut that waaaaay down if you have trees or hills in the way (hello, Mississippi hill country!). With 5G, that range is only about a 1/4 mile (1,500-ft) in open air, maybe a few hundred feet with trees, hills, or buildings.
partially correct, millimeter wave 5G(24 gigahertz and higher) is 1/4 mile at best, but 5G is the technology not the frequency. i know of plenty of towers with 600 megahertz 5G on them. lower frequency equals longer range in general, so this gets out several miles. as with any type of data though how fast you can go depends largely on the quality of signal in BOTH directions so even when you can hear the tower great if your phone cannot talk back you get lower speeds. other than that you are dead on.....
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Old 11-11-2022, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,992 posts, read 4,804,841 times
Reputation: 4897
Thank, you, hater-of-greenville, I learned something new today. I do some work in the telecomm field, but on the structural (tower) side and not the antennas themselves.

Still, the fact is that that large areas of Mississippi have zero 3G or 4G signal. And this is after the telecomm companies pocketed much US$$$ that was intended to be used to fill those rural areas with signal. So I expect that 5G isn't coming any time soon to those areas, whether 24GHz or 600MHz.
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