In my own back yard

I recently moved to Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. I don’t really know anyone here or what the local general air is yet. But I’m getting an idea…

Apparently a local farmer in my county is terrified that a harmless wireless high-speed internet tower near his farm will change the DNA in his crops and he doesn’t want to grow under those conditions. The county council, probably to avoid a huge local kerfuffle, voted in favour of eliminating that particular tower among the group that were to be constructed.

Eastlink (the ISP) is appealing to Industry Canada to try and get the local decision looked at and possibly overturned. Eastlink is a business that makes money by providing the internet and cable; they are not in the business of avoiding local skirmishes born out of ignorance.

I don’t blame them. Rewarding ignorant behaviour that affects internet access to hundreds of people that live here in order to avoid a stink is beyond inappropriate. Hopefully the decision will be reversed and someone will actually take the time to explain to this farmer and his supporters why the DNA in his garlic is fine.

Locals in some rural NS areas have been stuck on the long obsolete dial-up. DIAL-UP. Because that’s the only internet available to them. Rural areas in Canada are the last to get these “luxuries” (such as educational information at their fingertips) because of the expense involved in putting in (and then maintaining) new towers and lines. There’s a bit of a competition between the local ISPs right now for rural customers and most of it rests on who is willing to put in the equipment first.

It is absolutely astounding that the ignorance of one local farmer, and he might be a nice guy but a molecular biologist he is not, was enough to at least temporarily derail part of Eastlink’s plans to provide long-needed service to rural NS. Luckily the locals are putting up a stink of their own and have signed a petition to restore the tower, but as I said the farmer also has a group of supporters.

They live in a rural area and their only connection to the world is the phone, world news filtered through a local affiliate, snail mail, and dial-up. And this is supposed to be conducive to great education and world-knowledge? The irony – if any of these people had access to high speed internet, maybe they would have been able to learn for themselves that the towers are harmless.

I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

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