I have been working out of my home for over 10 years now and one of my requirements for living anywhere is access to telecommunications. When I first arrived here in Apache County Arizona I really didn't understand what sort of "digital backwater" I had wandered into. I had made certain there was a phone line where I was staying and although I had become accustomed to high-speed cable modems & DSL lines I was not unfamiliar with dial-in internet access. I used it all the time when traveling.

The horror of it all became all too clear when I tried to access my email. After hours of experimenting and altering my internet dialing preferences I was able to achieve a peppy 18 kilobaud connection. It took 4 hours to download my two days of email. Unbelievable. Turns out that the phone system here isn't entirely up to snuff and that's the best dial-in speed I can ever expect here in Apache County.

So when I chose to move here for a spell and give it a try I knew I had to do something about an alternative to the local phone company telephone lines. I chose broadband satellite internet service. It cost over $700 to install and runs $70 a month for service. It's a steep price and not nearly as fast as DSL. But it gets the job done.

Cell phones have proven to be a complete waste of time for us. Coverage in this area is spotty at best.

As hard as it may be to believe many of the residents of this county have no phone service. Some rely on cell phones but many folks have no signal where they live. And the prices quoted by the local phone company for installation of a land phone line is off the chart. In many cases you could more easily afford a luxury car than a home phone.

I personally find it offensive that so many of my neighbors have no home communications options. What happens when there's an emergency? The US donates money to help bring modern communications to rural communities in "undeveloped countries" every year. I believe we need to make it a priority to see that we remedy our own digital divide here in the US as well.