When Columbia County landed a $13.5 million federal “stimulus” grant to set up a fiber-optic broadband network throughout the county, we editorialized a few words of caution.
First, the whole idea of a conservative county signing up for “free” federal money is just hypocritical; we can’t complain about federal spending while sticking our noses in the trough. Second, such technological infrastructure should be built by the private sector – not by the government.
Even so, we have it now. Like the child of an unplanned pregnancy, it’s ours.
The good news is that even in its infancy, the project already is showing significant promise. The pending agreement with the school board to use the system will be a tremendous upgrade, particularly for those geographically challenged schools that have been stuck with slower connections. Other public and private customers are signing up to use the robust system, too – and County Administrator Scott Johnson says those are “just the tip of the iceberg.”
On principle, don’t count us thrilled just yet – but there are plenty of reasons to be impressed.