OP/ED: Better Internet Access

EDITOR’S NOTE: A community-wide effort has been launched to inform the efforts to bring equity to community communications, to bring broadband internet to all in our communities, and is gathering signatures. Click the link below to “sign the letter” and express your support for action by Tillamook Lightwave to improve internet availability, accessibility, and affordability in Tillamook County.

By Julian Macassey
Tillamook County although productive and fertile was hard to reach before the New Deal really opened the area up bringing in improved communications, roads, electricity and telephones.
The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) under the New Deal brought electricity and telephones to rural parts of the US, enabling commerce, education and manufacturing outside the cities.
With telephone service news and commerce could now travel at the speed of light.

The first half of the Twentieth Century brought voice telephones to anyone that wanted them, no matter their income or location. The latter half of the Twentieth Century brought us digital communications (modems) on top of the voice lines.
With that came on line ordering, on line banking, electronic mail and file transfers, such as sending in accounting data to head office.
Data communications have like the voice telephone before it have gone from something that interested and helped commerce and some hobbyists to a daily essential.
Today, with an internet connection you can handle accounts, send e-mail, video-conference, watch movies, send documents around the world in seconds, look at remote cameras at the front door or your holiday home. If you make phone calls via the internet using Voice over IP. Your work phone extension can now also be a phone in your house this makes working from home a breeze.
Adding all these features to the Internet requires faster internet speeds. When a house has someone watching streamed movies, someone killing Zombies in an online game and someone having a video chat a regular DSL or cable connection gets overwhelmed. These days with all these services available your internet connection tends to choke. Web pages start taking a long time to load, streamed movies pause and stutter, online games become hard to play.
What we need is wider pipes. Just as the solution to traffic clogging a road is more lanes, the solution is a fatter pipe to the home or business.
The way to do this is go away from using copper to send data (DSL via the phone line and TV Cable) and move to glass (fiber optic cable).
There are limits to the amount of data you can carry on copper. How much better is fiber? Currently a copper internet connection to your home is like a goat path and a fiber connection to your home is like a six lane straight highway.

Tillamook county has fiber everywhere, buried along our roads along the railway line and attached to power poles, as I like to say “Tillamook county has more fiber than a vegan potluck”. There is an Inter-Government Agency called Tillamook Lightwave. Currently they provide high speed wide bandwidth Internet Access to County offices, schools, libraries and big companies like the Tillamook Creamery. We need that same good service in all our homes and businesses.
Here in Oregon, the cities of Sandy and Hillsboro amongst others have affordable fiber to the home, so it can be done.

*For more about Tillamook Lightwave, upcoming meeting and more, https://www.tillamookcountypioneer.net/tillamook-lightwave-bringing-high-speed-internet-to-all-in-tillamook-county-sign-letter-to-show-support/