Perhaps you’re wanting to make a career change or simply understand a certain subject better, but time and money are stopping you from learning. The Internet comes to the rescue again! Now, we’re not just talking about searching a subject on the web and reading about it from random articles here and there, but actual planned coursework from well-known universities such as MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and UC Berkley that are offered at no cost.
You might assume that many of these classes and sessions deal directly with computer science and programming—and you’d be right! Some great choices for learning about web coding and development include Mozilla’s School of Webcraft, Google’s Code University and W3Schools where you can actually get certified in the subject you study.
But online classes aren’t only restricted to computer science by any means. You can also learn about engineering, science, management at sites like MIT OpenCourseware, Open Learning Initiative and UC Berkeley Webcasts. You can even visit Project Gutenberg to download over 33,000 free e-textbooks on the subject of your liking. These can be loaded on your mobile devices like the iPad and Kindle to read wherever you like.
This really just touches on all the free and quality resources online to further your knowledge in nearly any field. It is yet another benefit of a broadband-connected community that can reach beyond it’s borders.
On our last update, we talked about how businesses are increasingly adding employees to their virtual workforce in areas that broadband Internet is plentiful. By working from home, the employee would then realize benefits such as an improved work/life balance and being able to live in the community they want.
Well, let’s focus on the broadband-enabled worker a bit more. Actually, let’s step that scenario up even further and ask, what if you decided to go into business for yourself? It’s certainly more than possible with a fast broadband network in place. Perhaps you have a creative mind and a passion on a particular subject to go with it. Being able to reach anyone in the world can empower you to set your own goals and be in charge of your own destiny. Many folks are self-employed with freelance work and make quite a good living at it as well.
If you decide freelancing is your game, there are plenty of online resources such as Freelance Switch, Krop, hour.ly and Sologig to find work. Beyond that, your greatest tool is networking. Between social networking, referrals and attending events, you should have more than enough work to stay busy. With the modern advent of social networking, sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the act of blogging can get you noticed from all distances. Also, don’t forget to sell yourself. Creating a compelling About.me page is a great way to introduce yourself and to reveal the social networks you inhabit.
A broadband-connected world will open up all sorts of opportunities for you and you’ll be in the driver’s seat to your career. So hold on for an exciting ride!
Remember the cartoon from the 1960’s called The Jetsons about the family from the future? If you recall, George Jetson would have his hair and teeth brushed by robotic arms, then he’d woosh away in his flying car to his job at Spacely Space Sprockets. Well, we might not have the futuristic gizmos that George and family enjoyed, but we are apparently a step ahead when it comes to working from home. (They had to have wireless broadband internet, didn’t they?)
According to a recent survey conducted by Skype, which included responses from 1,000 professionals at about 500 businesses, 62% of surveyed business now allow remote work from home. That’s a pretty impressive number that only looks to increase as already successful productivity and collaboration tools continue to mature. Many websites currently exist that promote telecommuting with helpful resources, such as Undress for Success, or even how to hire talent working from home using sites like Elace. The benefits for companies include lower costs from not having to lease large office spaces, friendly to the environment, offers greater hiring pool, easier to scale and the employees tend to be happier because of improved work/life balance.
Of course, a broadband infrastructure is needed for telecommuting for work, and where better than in our community where you, your friends and family want the same opportunities big cities enjoy. Once our wireless network is in place, we look forward to helping companies and employees get their full potential from a modern, remote workplace that not even George Jetson had a chance to enjoy.
It was encouraging to read about the latest jobs report from the government and how hiring has seen a bit of an increase. However, we know it’s not happening quick enough for most of us and we want to see that job creation happening right here where we live. When we talk about adding jobs at Big River associated with our wireless broadband efforts, we are not only talking about jobs with us, but how a wireless network that brings high-speed access creates infrastructure to run a business and create opportunity.
There have been many studies done on the relationship of economic growth and accessible broadband in rural communities. One such report describes a 5-year statistical study of 228 rural counties that had relatively high broadband availability in 2002 through 2006. What did they find?
“We investigated changes in county employment and income in our QED analysis,and found that total employment grew faster in counties that had greater broadband Internet access sooner than in similarly situated rural counties without broadband access.”
Looking further into the study also revealed that:
“Wage and salary jobs, as well as number of proprietors, grew faster in counties with early broadband Internet access.”
This study by the USDA can be downloaded in it’s entirety here.
Our network continues to be planned out as well as job descriptions being written for those who will be added to the Big River family. Beyond those we will hire, our communities, like the one’s depicted in these studies, should see a welcome increase in economic development and stability once we are able to launch our service. We look forward to serving you, so stay in touch for latest developments on our Facebook page or follow our Twitter team!
It’s hard to think of an area more important for technological advance than in healthcare. All of us want the latest treatments and care available from our doctors and hospitals—so how are medical professionals currently using mobile devices? Let’s review some trends in mobile healthcare:
- 72 percent of US physicians use Smartphones – up from 50 percent in 2007
- The number of physicians using Smartphones in 2009 doubled
- Physicians access some medical apps 15 to 20 times per day
- 53 percent of chronic disease patients have cell phone access
- 60 million people to be benefited using remote Patient Monitoring devices by 2013
- 75-80 percent of adult Internet users seek medical data online
We can see that mobile device use has grown, and will continue growing with physicians and caregivers, but the problem we still face in the Southeast Missouri area is that only about 29% of households currently have high-speed access. Accessibility is low, but thankfully the new wireless broadband network we’re designing will greatly increase availability to patients and doctors alike. When it comes to diagnosis, counseling and response, having such connectivity will be vital in responding to emergencies and maintaining good health.
Imagine an expanded use of home monitoring of vital signs for patients and the ability to share records and imaging over a broadband connection. In education, we considered the ability of students to learn online with subject experts outside of our region. The same example can be considered for remote-guided diagnosis or surgery. Or even better, a high-coverage broadband network would attract some of the best talents in patient care and advanced medicine directly to our region. Imagine the Southeast Missouri area being a leader in telemedicine!
We’ve been talking with local hospitals about the possibilities of a wide-area medical network that improves health management and teaching opportunities to keep up on the latest treatments. We’ve received great feedback and ideas from those conversations, and are eager to put this wireless network into place to help improve the well-being of our community as a whole and assist our medical professionals in their ability to bring advanced care to our region.
We will be attending a SEMO Campus-Wide Career/Internship Fair tomorrow, March 9th, from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. This is open to the students of SEMO and we encourage you to come by and visit with our friendly folks about a future with Big River. We’re looking for a wide variety of talents including engineering, IT, finance, sales/marketing, etc. Here’s a link to their calendar of events. See you then!
As you might imagine, the delivery of wireless broadband Internet will have a huge impact on education in the region. We have talked to teachers, superintendents and other educators in the area who light up when thinking of the possibilities this will bring to their students. The online tools that widespread broadband brings to the classroom and home are nearly limitless.
Think about the historical importance of what’s happening in Egypt and Libya right now—students will be able to learn about it, moving beyond our borders using Google Earth.
Think about the cross cultural education that could happen with classrooms in other countries with live streaming—learning in real time.
Think about the ability for teachers to help communicate with students at home, whether helping with homework or conferences with parents. Beyond that, a student attending a rural school that does not offer an Advanced Placement (AP) calculus course can receive instruction online from a teacher in a different part of the state or even the country. That teacher, who is online because of her passion for the subject and because of her demonstrated ability to teach it, might not only provide lectures but may also use instant messaging and video chat to communicate with the student.
Again, there’s virtually no limit to the imagination of what broadband can do.
Unfortunately, right now the limit we do have is with access. Although most of our schools do enjoy high-speed Internet, only about 32% of students in K-12 have broadband at home in our region. Also, the school Internet access is most likely lacking mobility, which means online learning stops at schools and can’t continue into the home or elsewhere. As we continue to build our network and build services, education is foremost on our minds for current and future generations of students.
To read more ideas about broadband education as it applies nationwide, visit the Education page of the National Broadband Plan on Broadband.gov.
Wow, we’ve been a busy group around here and realized we’ve fallen behind keeping everyone in the loop on our broadband happenings. Well, let’s catch up a bit shall we?
One of the biggest questions we get is “When is high-speed internet coming to my home/business?” Seems everyone is excited to get on the broadband highway and ditch whatever slow connection they currently use. We are still in the process of working out the paperwork with the federal government to receive the funding for the high-speed wireless network. You might wonder what that process entails? Simply put, there’s lots of surveys, certifications and agreements that have to happen for the locations of the tower sites. Many environmental, historical and association concerns must be satisfied for the agreement to be complete. If that sounds like a lot of work, it is! The process is moving ahead pretty smoothly and we anticipate the signing to happen soon.
In the meantime, our network engineering team has been hard at work planning out the tower sites and meeting with landowners to build the towers on their property. As you might have read or heard, the network will consist of many new towers to bring maximum coverage to the Southeast Missouri counties we will be serving—Washington, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Perry, Bollinger, Madison and Cape Girardeau. Part of the planning process is finding locations that are ideally on high ground and offer strategic placement to reach every possible resident or business, no matter how far from the town center you might be. Remember, this is about giving rural areas the power of the Internet like the big city folk enjoy!
Back to the “when” question? We expect to move quickly once the federal papers are signed and anticipate having the wireless network available in less than two years. I know, I know…that sounds like a long time to wait, but actually the federal stimulus allows us to build this out much faster and much wider than we would be able to otherwise. We will be sure to keep posting so you stay up-to-date on the build-out and look forward to showing you photos and videos of the tower constructions when they start happening. It’s an exciting time for our region and we are pleased to be able to bring real broadband to everyone. Watch this space!
Big River Broadband is looking for people ready to excel in a technology-centric environment. Want to be part of a team-oriented company where a focus on customer service is priority #1? Come down and visit us at the Farmington Job Fair at the Civic center happening right now! Here’s some more info about the event. We’re around until 3 pm, so don’t wait!