Monday, June 05, 2006

Another supervisor candidate calls for better Internet access in El Dorado County

Yet another of five candidates in the District 4 county supervisor race says he wants to expand Internet access in El Dorado County. Alarm company owner Todd Schwenk wants Internet "easily accessible to rural residents," according to today's Mountain Democrat. (The newspaper does not provide the article on line).

As with fellow candidate Wendell Smith who took out a full page ad in the paper on Friday calling for the county to "add DSL and cell service" to improve the county's business environment, I applaud the goal. But specifics are needed, not just appealing rhetoric. How do these candidates propose to accomplish their goals and how quickly? There's a longstanding surplusage of talk on this issue and a glaring deficit of action.

Many El Dorado County residents are outraged and desperate for broadband access ASAP after being stuck with dial up modem access that was state of the art technology when Bill Clinton was starting his first term as president but impractical for today's Internet. Read some of their comments accompanying their signatures on this on line petition calling on AT&T to upgrade its infrastructure to fiber optic or divest its holdings in the county and you'll get a sense of what I'm talking about.

My concern is politicians exploiting the genuine frustrations of these folks through sloganeering merely for short term political gain with no follow through. A concrete plan of action from these or any other supervisorial candidates -- if there's a runoff after Tuesday's election -- would go a long way to alleviate my concerns.

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