from Medium Backchannel
Maybe you remember Sir Boss, aka Hank Morgan, the leading character in one of Samuel Clemens’s, aka Mark Twain’s, most famous books. He begins his story this way: “I am an an American. I was born and reared in Hartford, Connecticut. So I am a Yankee of the Yankees?—?and practical; yes, and nearly barren of sentiment.”
The book, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, is (among many other things) a close look at the sweeping technological change Clemens/Twain saw happening around him in late-19th century Hartford. The country was industrializing, and Hank was an industrial innovator. He had learned to make “guns, revolvers, cannons, boilers, engines, all sorts of labor-saving machinery,” and “if there wasn’t any quick new-fangled way to make a thing, I could invent one?—?and do it as easy as rolling off a log,” Hank says.
Twain was clearly tickled by the deep practicality of Connecticut natives. And that practical ingenuity is still on display in Connecticut, which is poised to become the first “Gigabit State” in the country.
Talk about your labor-saving, productivity-enhancing inventions?—?dozens of Connecticut towns are now on a path towards installing wholesale fiber networks connecting all homes and businesses. And those flinty Yankees won’t be paying for the installation of these open access networks themselves, because fiber, with its predictable up-front cost and steady returns, is an excellent longterm investment for private companies. Meanwhile, any ISP will be able to use these networks to sell service directly to homes and businesses.
Result: world-class connectivity at low prices for Connecticut residents in towns across the state?—?including in rural areas where getting online is a struggle. As Elin Katz, the Consumer Counsel of the State of Connecticut, puts it, “It’s like building the road?—?and anyone can drive their cars on it.”