Al Qaeda and BP: Bringing Speed and Traffic to the North Country

I was at a meeting last week discussing business challenges in the North Country. Berlin doesn’t face this as much, but the lack of high speed Internet was one of the key complaints. But one person there had an interesting comment: Al Qaeda has done more to improve rural online access than any local effort.

Check this out — because of security concerns at the US border with Canada the US government put loads of money into the upgrading their facilities. They ran high-speed cable up to the border to connect their border checkpoints, and in the process they brought faster Internet access for people along the way.

Here’s another one that I thought was crazy — the spill in the gulf is helping New Hampshire travel. A resort manager said he’d fielded calls from people who had canceled their vacations at the beach out of fear the beaches would be covered in oil from the BP Gulf spill. Instead they booked northern New Hampshire. And, mind you, these weren’t vacations booked to Lousiana or Florida, these were trips to North Carolina and other places. People are scared the oil will get into the Gulf Stream and be to their planned vacation spot, so they aren’t taking any chances.

It’s interesting how mixed up these outcomes are. It’s sad to point out silver linings on disasters, but they are much needed silver linings here in the North Country nonetheless.

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