Russell schindler time for a ‘mandate’ on the internet business record-eagle.com electricity in water

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However, as I sit here writing this article using electricity, I can’t tell the difference. The electricity I’m consuming seems the same as always. All the effort from our government and utility officials, all the billions in federal and state subsidies, all the increased electrical costs so that various groups can pursue a renewable energy agenda and pad the pockets of renewable energy equipment manufacturers, all this — and sitting here, I can’t tell the difference.

There also are numerous studies that suggest the difference in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced is insignificant and probably won’t make any measurable difference. But that’s not the point of this article. I’m not trying to change this trend. It’s too far along to go back now. and as I mentioned, the cost per kilowatt hour is about to be fiscally responsible.

What I want to talk about is something that these government and electric utility board officials could be doing and, more importantly, should be doing that would be noticeable and make a difference to every citizen of the state. I’m talking about electric utilities becoming high-speed fiber-optic Internet providers as well.

If these government officials and utilities board officials had spent half the time and half the money that they’ve spent pursuing the renewable agenda, every single person in this country would have high-speed fiber Internet to their home and business already.

Ninety-nine percent of all businesses conduct some form of their business over the internet these days. Whether it be a simple web page for advertising or by just using email. Most commerce now is conducted at some level over the internet. If you look at the largest and fastest growing companies in the U.S. right now, they’re all based, in part, on using the Internet.

This trend is going to continue. It’s not going away. More and more people are working from home because having high-speed Internet and web conferencing allows people to communicate and collaborate from anywhere in the world. More and more people are working from home, at least part of the time, because they can. They’re not driving their cars when they’re working from home.

The loudest critics of a public-utility-provided Internet network, and largest campaign contributors against it, are the current monopolistic cable internet providers. These critics have two main complaints. First, they say the current service is “good enough.” Second, they say that governmental agencies shouldn’t be competing with private industry. Let me counter those arguments one at a time.

As far as the current speed being “good enough,” that statement might’ve been accurate a few years ago. But now, not so much. In my own business, much of our sales and demonstrations of our product are done via web conference/screen share. With our connection, if more than one individual gets on a videoconference at a time, both communications suffer to the point of being annoying to our customer. That experience is not conducive to trying to grow a business and provide high-paying jobs. Reasonably priced high-speed bandwidth is increasingly important for commerce. If our local and state business community is going to compete in the world market, we must have the ability to compete.

What I’d like to see is for all electric utilities to build and maintain a dark-fiber network to every electric customer who desires it, and then let qualifying Internet service providers (including the current cable Internet providers) “light-up” that network, for a fee. This would allow all electric customers to select, from a competitive list of qualified internet service providers, the one that best fits their needs. A publicly built network, but operated by private industry for commerce, paid for by user fees. Essentially, that is exactly how our road system currently works. Anyone can use the roads if you’re legal and paying the appropriate fees (taxes).

I’m calling for our local state legislators to introduce legislation that will mandate this type of utility-provided high-speed Internet access and economic stimulus that will have a real effect on our state’s ability to compete in the world market. Similar to the way lawmakers mandated renewable energy. We spent a lot of time and money mandating renewable energy — but unless you are a manufacturer of these products, there’s been little to no economic benefit for the average person.

Internet access is no different than access to electricity. Reliable, reasonably priced electricity and high-speed internet are required for everyone to do business in the state. It’s about time we recognize this as a state and that we act to make it happen.

Russell Schindler is president of TCNewTech and a serial entrepreneur. His most recent startup is SampleServe.com, a company specializing in environmental software that allows users to develop detailed info-graphic reports regarding site contamination location, concentrations, and trends. Schindler is a professional geologist and a graduate of Western Michigan University. He holds five patents related to environmental groundwater remediation/cleanup.