Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007
wireless network closer than you might think
SEPT. 16, 2007 - - Imagine a South Carolina in which anyone
in any corner of the state could access the Internet wirelessly
through high-speed connections at any time.
This vision for a statewide, wireless broadband network may
be closer to reality than you may think.
State Sen. Jim Ritchie, a Spartanburg Republican on the short
list of potential 2008 gubernatorial candidates, has been
pushing the idea all year. Next month, a special state commission
will explore the merits of the system and report to the General
Assembly by January.
"It gives us an enormous competitive advantage to attract
talented people to South Carolina to build businesses and
for people to expand their businesses to compete globally
at minimal costs," Ritchie said.
Other major benefits are that it would provide high-speed
Internet access to rural parts of the state and would allow
the state to provide more vibrant educational materials.
"Studies show mobile government workers will increase
26 percent over the next six years," Ritchie said. "In
the private sector, they're expected to grow 17 percent over
next six years. Those people will depend on wireless connectivity
to do their jobs."
South Carolina has a distinct advantage for building a statewide
network because much of the infrastructure already is in place
thanks to SCETV. Not only does the state own the licenses
for extra bandwidth that is needed for a wireless state network
to be deployed, but it has vertical towers across the state
that can help beam it all over. Most states don't have one
entity that controls excess bandwidth being created by federal
requirements that the educational network convert from analog
to digital signals.
SCETV President Moss Bresnahan has been advocating for this
new Wi-Max network for a couple of years because of its advantages
in allowing SCETV to do more educational programming and providing
a platform for economic development.
"It makes the marketplace more dynamic and ensures broadband
for the rural areas," he said.
Ritchie and Bresnahan say a plan for a statewide network
would depend on a public-private partnership to help fund
improvements and deploy it in an affordable manner.
Here's how it could work: South Carolina would rent wireless
spectrum and lease tower space to a company that wants to
create the Wi-Max network in South Carolina. In turn, it would
make necessary infrastructure investments to ensure statewide
coverage beyond current SCETV towers. Then it would sell affordable
access to the robust broadband network to anyone who wanted
encourage your feedback. If you'd like to respond to
something in SC Statehouse Report, please
send us an e-mail. We reserve the right to edit for
length and clarity. One submission allowed per month.
Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint.
Please keep your comment to 250 words or less:
Telecommunications powerhouse AT&T says the idea has
"AT&T supports policies that encourage investment
and innovation in broadband deployment," said spokeswoman
Terri Denard. "Deploying advanced broadband Internet
services to more Americans more quickly and greater adoption
of these services should be a priority."
Ritchie said such a network could be built sooner than you
"Technically, it can be done given the backbone we have
and the widely available types of broadband technologies,"
he said. "The costs are reasonable and if the commission
can be successful in putting together a model, it may be put
together in the next year."
Imagine the possibilities of such a network:
- Ambulance workers could get health information on emergency
victims at a scene by accessing files delivered to portable
devices from hometown doctors.
- Rural citizens could get jobs as service call workers
for big companies by using the Internet in their homes (which
would keep the jobs in the U.S. and not in countries like
- SCETV would have a standard, routine source of revenue
from towers and spectrum rented to the broadband vendor
State lawmakers need to move quickly to build a doable plan
for using the excess spectrum South Carolina has. If they
don't, the state could lose it and the FCC would auction it
off. If that happened, the state would lose a powerful economic
development and education tool.
The deadline for a plan that works is January 2009.
Andy Brack, publisher of Statehouse Report,
can be reached at: email@example.com.
SC uses a lot
of nuclear power
nuclear reactors, with a combined capacity of 6,525 megawatts,
were in operation in South Carolina by 1986. By the start
of the 21st century, more than half (52.2 percent) of the
electricity generated in the state was created by nuclear
fission, as compared to about 20 percent for the United States
as a whole. Few other states can claim such a strong nuclear
profile. In terms of the percentage of electricity needs generated
with nuclear power, South Carolina is second only to Vermont.
In terms of overall nuclear capacity, South Carolina trails
only Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Statehouse Report has partnered with USC
Press to provide readers with an interesting weekly
historical excerpt about the state. Each excerpt, which
is used with permission and not for republication, is
taken from The
South Carolina Encyclopedia, a 1,077-page book
published in 2006 with entries by almost 600 contributors
and edited by noted historian Walter Edgar. We hope
you enjoy this new feature.
Replacing this nuclear production of electricity with coal-fired
production would have required more than 22 million metric
tons of coal. One gram of plutonium or uranium contains the
energy of two tons of coal or one ton of oil. If uranium were
replaced with coal, 277,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 139,000
tons of nitrogen oxides, and 11,740,000 metric tons of carbon
dioxide would have been released into the South Carolina atmosphere
in 2000 alone.
-- Entry by James R. Frysinger, The
South Carolina Encyclopedia
Another great cartoon by Bill McLemore:
9/11: Some good points in sex Ed column
To Statehouse Report:
(Regarding Andy Brack's column
on sex education in schools), I've said for many years that
very few people lose sleep worrying about such things. I'm
for working with anyone who does.
-- Anne Badgley, CEO, Heritage Community Services, Charleston,
best way to get South Carolina news is to augment your morning
paper and TV show with SC Clips, a daily executive
news summary compiled from more than 30 state newspaper and
TV sources. It's delivered every business day and is packed
with news of statewide impact, politics, business and more.
Subscriptions are affordable at $30 per month -- and less
for business subscribers. More: SC
How you can subscribe to the full edition
of the report
The above version of S.C. Statehouse Report is the
free edition. Our paid version, which costs about $100 per
month, offer a weekly legislative forecast packed with information
that can keep you and your business on the cutting edge. There's
a new limited paid version for individuals that costs about
$30 per month. More on subscribing.
Notes veteran lawmaker Sen. Glenn McConnell: "Statehouse
Report gives an inside practical report of weekly problems
with and progress of legislation. It reviews the whole landscape."
In each issue of Statehouse Report, you'll get:
- Hot news
-- an early peek on something really big that will happen
at the Statehouse. We continually beat other news organizations
in finding major trends in issues, from teacher and budget
cuts to wetlands proposals.
- Agenda -- a weekly forecast of
the coming week's floor agenda
- Radar Screen -- a behind-the-scenes
look at what's really going on in the General Assembly
- Palmetto Politics
-- Tidbits from the world of South Carolina politics.
- McLemore's World -- an early view
of our respected cartoonist Bill McLemore.
- Tally Sheet -- a weekly review
of all of the new bills introduced in the legislature in
- Scorecard -- A Thumbs Up and Thumbs
Down of major political/policy events for the week.
- Calendar -- a weekly list of major
meetings for the House, Senate and state agencies.
- Megaphone -- a quote of the week
that you'll find illuminating.
To learn more about subscriptions, contact Andy Brack at:
South Carolina Statehouse Report
Publisher: Andy Brack
| Assistant Editor: Betsy
Subscription or sponsorship Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have an event for the SC Statehouse Report calendar?
E-mail details to: email@example.com
or fax to above number.