|OPINION/COMMENT by Drew Moody|
For the Hur Herald
There's nothing like a "feel good" story. In this case,
that's not the entire picture.
The Charleston Gazette article featured in Sunday's edition,
Section C, may have left the impression Glenville State
College (GSC) intends to pursue adding customers to its
If that impression was created, it is not accurate.
Ironically, it's the second Glenville-related story featured
recently in that publication which glaringly omits important
details involving the subject matter. It makes me suspicious
and I wonder if "strings" are being pulled.
The 'Gazette' broadband article was much wider in its scope
than one the Hur Herald recently published.
Several elements of the 'Gazette' coverage were, by design or necessity,
One is the tension and effect of perceived or real conflicts with
the telecommunications industry.
And the changing mission of the GSC project midstream was
completely overlooked. One would hope there was no deliberate
effort on anyone's part to re-write history.
Here's where the original GSC plan became mired.
What it intended to do was to take a signal they were
buying from Verizon, then sell Glenville citizens a service
the phone company could theoretically provide. Therein lies the conflict.
Verizon had apparently told local officials it had no intension
of providing broadband service to Glenville for 10 years.
One can assume it was only because of GSC's efforts
anyone here can access low-cost broadband via the now
available Verizon DSL.
I think it's fair to state here, I have Verizon DSL service
and I'm quite pleased with it.
In addition, the 'Gazette story blurred the time-frame
between the successful testing of the system and the present.
When the system was tested they had virtually the same 30-40
agencies and individuals connected, as now.
You'd think someone would scratch their heads and ask themselves,
"If GSC were trying to establish a customer base, couldn't they
find additional subscribers over a near 18-month period?"
Among the agencies associated with The Braxton/Gilmer
Research Zone is WVNET, which can only provide accounts
to government and non-profit customers.
Research Zone can encourage solutions, provide consulting, and attract
business investment, but private businesses will have to make
the broadband connections possible.
Nationwide there is no evidence the type of tension GSC faced with
the telecommunications giant will end.
Part of the continuing challenge
will be resolving that issue.
Another is negotiating at times
what may appear to be a political mine field in making sure everyone
is satisfied and gets a credit line in the production.
The list is so long now with names, titles, politicians and organizations
that future press releases will need an attached addendum to list them
Perhaps one of the most significant accomplishments of the GSC
effort is the broadband access issue is being discussed locally.
And the school has stepped forward with others to search for
solutions in this regard.
The group is encouraging telecommunications providers to step
in and solve the lack of broadband access in central West Virginia.
A secondary component is encouraging job growth in the area.
Let's hope it's not another 18 months before we hear from them again.
A United State Government Accountability Office (GAO) Telecommunications
report released this month indicates local and regional efforts have
up deployment of broadband access.
It also cites several States where
programs similar to the Braxton / Gilmer Research Zone exist. The first
efforts in the U.S. began about 10 years ago.
Interestingly, the GAO report mentions the Appalachian Regional
Commission (ARC) has its own program called "Information
The ARC is providing funding for the
research zone here, but has also helped connect Kentucky,
as well as aiding projects in Ohio and Virginia.
A cursory glance at all the players suggests the possibility
of a duplication of effort, but also allowed the birth of yet another
agency with "Appalachia" in its name.
In conclusion I'd like to correct my headline for the
original article. It should have read "broadband project"
or "Canopy System" instead of "Wi-Fi. project" It's a
technical point. Both offer high-speed access to the
GSC has an in-house "Wi-Fi" service for the school.
The Motorola system that was installed and tested in 2004
is a point-to-point service, requiring a receiver to use.
And finally the paragraph below is copied directly from
the CANA Summer Progress Report 2004:
The Glenville Newspaper: A Power Mac Computer was donated
to the Newspaper Office. We also provided high speed Internet via
Canopy. All the six computers within the Newspaper Office were
networked and services like Internet, File Sharing and Printing were
enabled. The local newspaper was digitized and put online in order to
allow faster access to the latest news within Gilmer County. Features like
daily updates, advertising, recent archives, etc were included in the
This represents a tragic case of a conflict of interest.
But at any rate, call Verizon if you want low cost, high-speed internet
access in Glenville, and live within three miles or so of downtown.
call Glenville State College.
We love you Verizon. Are you listening?
Or did you just report my
phone conversation to the National Security Agency (NSA)?
Read: GLENVILLE STATE'S CITY WIRELESS BROADBAND PROJECT SCUTTLED - Reinvented, Seeking Funds (5/17/2006 News)
You may contact Drew Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org