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Rural CAP's Village Voices: Broadband in Alaska - The World of Information Technology Moves Fast These Days

The World Wide Web of information spins fast these days. We've become a nation of data gatherers that demand the most recent, most relevant, most engaging results and we want them, "Now!" The phrase "snail mail," nearly universally used to describe traditional mail services, was coined by a generation of urban techies bent on instant gratification afforded by the series of tubes that is the World Wide Web. Just hit send button and your email is instantly whisked to your recipient's mailbox on the other side of the planet.

Not So Much in Rural Alaska

Anyone in rural Alaska can tell you that things move a little bit slower in the villages. The challenges faced in delivering even the most basic of services to people in our rural communities are numerous and sometimes these basic services become quite complex.

In 2010 and 2011, I was tasked with deploying high end workstations to Head Start Centers in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The computers feature 32" flat screen HD monitors to be used to stream educational videos from a server located in our central office in Anchorage.

The Concept was Simple

Reduce travel costs by introducing existing video streaming technologies to the most rural locations of Alaska to take the place of professionals traveling to those locations to provide education. The plan was certainly solid. The hardware and software, deployed. The content produced, uploaded and available. Everything was in place but there was one integral piece of our system missing.

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