Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Plans in works for free broadband network



Q Free nationwide broadband is something that interests me very much, but I haven’t seen a lot of coverage from any media. I live in a town of 6,000 people and the part of town where I live gets no high-speed Internet coverage. If this was implemented, would I be able to use it? I would also like if you could send me some links that cover this story.


A: You’re right. I don’t think that this topic has gotten the amount of attention it deserves.

As I understand it, the FCC’s plan calls for the winner of the auction of unused airwaves to dedicate a significant percentage of those airwaves to establishing a free nationwide broadband network.

This topic wasn’t limited to the FCC, which was ready to vote on the proposal in December; it was also discussed in the halls of Congress. A vote by the FCC was delayed last year, but I would be surprised if they have not reached a decision by vote by the summer.

As far as the reach of this nationwide broadband network; it is expected to reach about 95 percent of the country. This means the odds are in your favor that your town would be included. Rural areas were specifically envisioned as being among those that would benefit from this network the most. As far as links to track this proposals progress, you should be able to find information at fcc.gov the FCC’s Web site.

Q: I just wanted to know where I could get a basic teaching disc to learn how to use my laptop computer. I would like to learn the basics of how to burn CDs, rip them and what format I should use, plus other uses for my laptop.


A: Pete, your laptop can do so much more. If you only want to learn the rudimentary workings of your laptop then you have three easy options.

For what you want to learn, you can likely find someone on Craigslist that could talk you through the process of ripping and burning CDs. Option two is to go to the maker or manufacturer of your laptop and read the online documentation that they have for your computer. It should answer most of your questions. You can also find a users group for people who own computers like yours. I know that it may sound strange, but there is likely a group that can teach you the specific ins and outs of your laptop.

I would encourage you to take it a step further and unlock all that your computer can do. You may be surprised. One thing that Tucson has is no shortage of places to learn about maximizing computers. From Brown Mackie College to New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, there are plenty of options off of the beaten path to learn about the potential of computers.

Quincey Hobbs is a team member at the University of Arizona’s Center for Computing and Information Technology and an instructor at Pima Community College. Send questions to quinceyresponds@yahoo.com.

Hobbs: Free broadband network is getting closer

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