A sidenote to the podcast talk: if you want to participate in podcasting, you’ll probably also want to have broadband since Greg’s 11 minute podcast is about 5MB. This got me thinking about the digital divide again, and how it relates to new technologies. One of the things I love about RSS is that it actually saves me bandwidth because I’m not loading a lot of formatting and ancillary web page fluff that I’m not interested in [for the truly lovely sites, I’ll still go look at the pages, natch]. The content to bandwidth ratio is high. I only got cable modem recently in Vermont and my house up North still has dial-up. There is one ISP there with a local number and they don’t even have have a web page. It’s a different world. My options there are dial-up, satellite broadband, or nothing.
As of mid-2003 17% of Vermont households had broadband. I’m sure that number has shot up, but how high? I’ve been reading through the Vermont Telecommunications Plan from the end of 2004, and it’s fascinating stuff. 66% of Vermonters surveyed in late 2003, early 2004 had Internet access at home. Of them, roughly 25% use cable or DSL with the rest on dial-up, WebTV or other workarounds.. So… a little quick math… and we’ve got about 15% of Vermonters who have cable Internet or DSL. I’m sure this number has also increased, but how high? That’s about 100,000 people more or less. Want to know why it isn’t higher? Check out these two graphs I pulled from the report, paraphrased “Why I haven’t used the Internet recently” and “Why we’re not getting faster Internet at work” What does a library, or a librarian do about this?