The COVID-19 crisis is making the internet more available


Millions of people and more every day are working from home or learning from home during the corona virus outbreak. And that means we need the internet now more than ever Wi fi virtual private networks to connect securely to work broadband cellular connections so is our digital infrastructure up to the task and how can companies and even cities prepare for such a massive unplanned experiment. Jonathan Rankin tall is the former chief information officer. For the city of Palo Alto California. He says there's enough infrastructure but it isn't always evenly distributed there is available bandwidth in the US the big telcos of builds some significant infrastructure across the country. What we're going to have to see is communities. Get access to that broadband. They're still in the United States. Nineteen million people who don't have access to broadband in part of the problem is it can be a little expensive for for many homes and also just some communities. Don't have the prerequisite technology in place. So maybe having millions of Americans all of a sudden do remote work. It's going to act as a strong encouragement for government intervention more spending and for the Telco companies to also step up as well where they're still got right and we have seen even just in the last few days companies say that they're going to drop data caps that they're going to increase speeds for lower income users is going to be any going back after that. I think we're GONNA have a lot of questions I mean. I hope people to wash their hands after this event is over. These are good behaviors and we need to continue them. Some of our experience suggests that if we get over this we may go back to our old routine and all the wonderful things that the private sector's doing to step up right now. Dr. Mayo resort to the way we've been doing things. I don't know the answer to that. You know it'll depend how things really start to progress over the next few weeks I think if it's long term which I certainly hope not people will get used to it and there might be a greater inclination to to keep it in place or perhaps offer access to lower income communities providing them with reduced course and more access as we see more people effectively adopting remote work because it works right like. Do you think this is the moment when we will all say? Oh Hey turns out? The Internet really is a utility. Well I think we'd all agree now that the Internet is magical. It's absolutely magical me liquid. It's enabling us to not only have millions and millions of workers all over the world work from home but it's allowing scientists to collaborate in a speed that we've never seen before collaborating on vaccines sharing information between science organizations and governments and working on the medicine so the Internet you know we have to say is is quite a magical platform for humanity right. Let's talk about security for a bit. What do companies have to do? I mean some companies work with very sensitive information and require people to be offsite even to onsite to access it. What can they do? There's gotta be continual investment in Cybersecurity. This is not a you. Write a check once and you're good to go. You got to build a little department depending on the size of organization immature big airline company or a bank. You're going to have a huge security organization and you're going to be investing likely hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars a year in keeping the security good so on the enterprise side for sure absolutely for sure. The costs are high in their continuing. To increase on the home side. Does enough low cost tools. I mean there's actually a handful of VPN software that a home user can console that's free and then there's some premium services that are relatively low cost so if you got VPN some backup software. Antivirus and anti malware. You're you're in good shape you know in the twenty first century. Don't we can guarantee that you're going to have absolute security. This is something we're going to have to live with and fight for a longtime Jonathan. Rankin tall is the former chief information officer for the city of Palo Alto California. He also wrote the book smarter cities for Dummies when it comes to the digital divide and making sure everyone has access to the magic some. Isp's are stepping up. Spectrum is offering sixty days of free access to homes WHO HAVE KIDS IN K. Through twelve or college students if they don't already have it comcast says it's doing the same for low income households in its service areas

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