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AppRising delivers insight into new broadband applications, exploring their impact on networks and their implications for public policy.

AppRising is written by Geoff Daily, who covers broadband applications and the business of online video. Based in Washington, DC, Geoff regularly advises applications developers, network operators, community leaders, and public officials on how to maximize adoption and use of the Internet.

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August 20, 2007 1:36 PM

How Has Broadband Changed Your Life?

Last month I attended a brown bag luncheon about the impact of broadband on people with disabilities and the elderly that was a part of the Alliance for Public Technology's "Broadband Changed My Life" campaign.

Today I wanted to point out another facet to their ongoing efforts: a contest through which individuals can submit stories about how and why broadband is indispensable to their lives and have a chance to win up to $1000.

I'd encourage everyone who believes in the transformative power of broadband to share your perspective on this and submit a story. It'll only take a minute and not only might you win some money for your troubles, your story could also help inspire others to better understand how broadband can have a positive impact on their lives.

To help encourage the creative juices of my readers to start flowing, here's the story I submitted earlier today:

As a work-from-home journalist/consultant/entrepreneur/activist, the availability of broadband is a key enabler for my career, allowing for speedy emailing and web browsing, robust VoIP services, and a host of other notable applications.

But broadband has also changed my life on a deeper, more personal level, especially through the use of videocalling applications like Skype and SightSpeed.

Back in December, I was home for the holidays, enjoying a big meal with friends and family. The conversation turned to focus on who was missing from that table: our family friend's daughter who'd recently given birth in New Zealand, where she was based for school.

Most of my family had not yet seen the newborn, but that all changed when we set up a webcam, called her through Skype, and a minute later were enjoying the sight of a beautiful baby, squirming half a world away on her mother's lap.

Back in March, broadband enabled me to share a special moment on the opposite end of the spectrum of life. My folks had made the difficult decision to put our cancer-riddled family dog to sleep. But despite being hundreds of miles away, my sister and I were able to see him one last time, sitting on my Mom’s lap, to say our goodbyes.

Today, I'm eagerly awaiting connecting with my Dad, who's helping my grandparents complete their move into a retirement facility.

I hope to set up a videocall with them soon to see how they're doing and so they can show off their new surroundings.

All of these communications were of profound significance to me personally and were only possible through the availability of broadband.

I will never forget any of these moments, and I hope that through broadband I will never have to miss out on staying in close touch with those people—and animals—who are special to me.


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