Connectivity: SO Far from Seamless


I organized a few bloggers luncheons in San Francisco this past week. Finding restaurant venues with reliable wifi was much tougher than I had anticipated. Eventually, we settled on two venues both promising reliable connectivity and in both cases, we had to rely on my Verizon internal EVDO card to access the Internet on my Lenovo laptop. Modem reboots didn’t seem to solve the problem and the occasional access point we were able to grab only seemed to last for a few minutes at a time and even then, the connection was slow.

We think that the Internet is prolific and sure, in some communities it is. I have been surprised at how much more reliable connectivity is in some of the mid-level European hotels I have stayed in than in the states. And, faster.

It’s still not a top priority in our airports (although this is slowly changing in some large hubs) nor is it a priority in restaurants and bars although cafes will turn it on for their $3-5 a pop coffee drinkers. What is wrong with that picture?

I agree its obtrusive and having laptops out and buzzing in every venue would be not only distracting but potentially negatively impact the ambience particularly in a venue where there’s live music playing in the background.

The other day I was talking to an old college friend who lives in New Hampshire and due to his quirky nature and commitment to nature and the old fashioned way, he still doesn’t have a laptop. He wants to start blogging but was wondering if he could fax or email me his posts since the Internet connection at his local library is buggy most of the time and quite often in the middle of a search, the library PC freezes or connectivity times out. Yet people I know in African villages are blogging from their little cafes without a problem. They complain of slow connection but it’s doable and they access the Internet daily as did I in a few rural villages in Guatemala and Belize a couple of years ago.

A week after talking to my New England pal, an LA actress friend called to let me know that she finally made the upgrade from a very old (and slow) desktop to a Mac book with “wireless internet built in.” The way she reported the news made it sound like it was the first time she realized “built in” was possible. In theory I’m sure she understood that automatic connectivity was baked into laptops but because it was her first experience with it, the concept of not having to use an Ethernet cable was new.

My Comcast service often times out and I occasionally get a lame excuse from a technician: “you live on a hill.” I’m sorry, but living on a hill means that I can nearly reach out and touch the cables from my balcony, that were set up to get me connected in the first place. Verizon EVDO saves me when this happens and yet I still have to pay monthly service with no discounts when their service doesn’t work as advertised. What’s wrong with that picture?

And then there’s the fact that most of my friends who are forced to use AT&T on their iPhones can barely get a connection and many have another phone so they can get connected when they need to – Internet or to make a phone call. What’s wrong with that picture?

We’ve come a long way baby but seamless connectivity even in Silicon Valley, the home of the leading technology innovators in the world, is far from seamless and far far from perfect.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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