As the discussion over rural broadband heats up, there's sure to be plenty more discussion as to the efficacy of the proposed solutions. Here's one that novel - Loband. Put out by Aptivate, Loband is a free service that simplifies web pages in order to make them download faster over slow Internet connections. The simplified page viewed through Loband contains the same text information as the original, with attempts to preserve the formatting as well. No colors or images though - these are removed. Can Loband save billions of dollars in government-subsidized telecom in rural broadband? Maybe.
Trying out Loband is pretty cool - here's Treehugger in Loband, using about 1/10th the bandwidth that you normally would. Craigslist in Loband looks pretty much like... Craigslist... with a 40% reduction in pipe. If you really want to, it is possible to view any item that Loband filters out, such as videos and images, and there is even a link at the top to view the original page.
Loband isn't going to solve every problem of accessing the Internet on a slow connection; not all websites work through Loband including most webmail and secure shopping sites, and it's doubtful if your telecommuting options are enhanced. However, if the prominent issues include enhanced communication, increased accessibility to the wide array of net knowledge, and jump-starting the U.S. economy ASAP, Loband can go a long way towards solving these issues fast, using only a tiny, tiny fraction of the billions earmarked for wiring Rural America - just get some developers to upgrade the code, lease a few webservers in the cloud, and we will be on our way in months. It's not a whole program but it's a start and if it cost $10 million it would be amazing; a lot of people could get a leg up on the new green economy now. If the Feds balk, maybe some private entity will do it for us - Amazon, Google, Microsoft, as you listening? Loband
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