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The February 17, 2004 Issue Provided by System Dynamics Inc.
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Broadband--The Measure of "Livability"?

From time to time we wonder whether our closeness to the subject of broadband might color our perceptions of how important it really is. Three things we saw in the media during the past few weeks convinced us that broadband has really arrived in mainstream US culture.

First was an article about seniors and potential retirees in the Feb. 8 Sunday NY Times Personal Business section. Titled "Escaping to the Land of Cheaper Living", it highlighted the growing cost gap, especially in housing, between major US cities like New York and San Francisco as compared with smaller towns. After noting the small size of Geneva, Nebraska (one of the inexpensive towns), it quoted real estate agents saying: "Nevertheless, high speed Internet service is available there and the Lincoln airport is less than an hour's drive." Citing another town, it goes on, "Clay ... also has high speed Internet service. There is also a small commuter airport." So there you are--high speed Internet plus airports equals civilization!

In the same Sunday Times we noted with amusement that the weekly magazine column called "The Ethicist" was titled "Wi-Fi Fairness" and concerned whether it was ethical to use a neighbor's wireless Internet signal which was strong enough to reach the kitchen of the person making the inquiry. The article concluded that it was ethical--as long as you didn't use too much of your neighbor's bandwidth without his knowledge.

Then, as we used TiVo to catch up on an episode of "S and the City" (sorry for the abbreviation--the s... checkers have us spooked), we were amused to note that what puts Miranda over the edge about moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn is not having her DSL line installed when she moves in. But as the episode guide tells us: "After a difficult night out with the girls, she returns home to discover that Steve has finally installed her DSL line, making Brooklyn feel a bit more like home to her."

That was it--we were convinced. It's not just us--broadband really has entered the mainstream!