High-speed internet access is great. Thanks to a high-speed connection, I can search for videos to add to a class presentation and watch the Twins win the 2010 Central Division title this year. I could even multitask and do both at the same time.In rural areas—in Minnesota, in the country, and around the world—high-speed internet means accessible university classes for bright students and state-of-the-art medical care for folks who need it. From MinnPost:
High-speed Internet access is poised to change the countryside as dramatically as did the miles of wires that carried electricity and telephone service to almost every home during the mid-20th century, creating the connectivity for appliances and tools that revolutionized life and work.
But while high-speed internet can, and will, create a culture of broadband, rural Americans have been slower than folks living in the city to adopt high speeds. Roughly one tenth of rural Minnesota businesses are not connected to the internet while another 4 percent only use dial-up.
This may not seem like a big deal, but check out what the small town of Staples has done with high-speed internet: If you suffered congestive heart failure near Staples, Lakewood Health System could send you home from the hospital with a scale and monitoring devices attached to your computer.
The computer, in turn, is linked to monitors at the medical center. If that scale reported a sudden weight gain, your medical team would suspect that your body isn’t moving fluids efficiently and either send help or ask you to come back to the hospital.
Think of the advantages in a place where the hospital can be a county or two away from home! You can go home from the hospital earlier. You have a shot at a better outcome because you are monitored closely. You save yourself long drives to the clinic. And you save your health insurer substantial costs.
You could also be see cardiologists at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, in Minneapolis without leaving your home. Imagine—you are getting high-quality medical care from the comfort of your favorite recliner!
Nurturing this culture of broadband in rural America will ensure that folks who don’t live in the city will get the same educational and medical opportunities that are more readily available to city dwellers. Plus, everyone in Minnesota will want to be able to see with their own eyes when Delmon Young has a career year, leading the Twins into the postseason. He dropped 30 pounds and you could certainly tell he was feelin’ good last night! Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?
Photo credit: ESPN