My 102 year old Great Grandmother video chatting with my Mother in Maine for the first time

The internet has come a long way since the days of noisy dial up connections and painfully slow downloads. Now we have few things from the first decade of the millenium that haven't been made quicker, faster, cheaper or completely obsolete by our global networks. In fact, many are calling high speed affordable broadband the new essential utility on part with water, sewer, and electricity. How  functional we are in modern society is now measurable in megabits or gigabits per second.

Connect Us is a feature length documentary that will explore the new ways of living the internet is making possible, and the infrastructure that supports it in America. Some leverage the web to live and work from airstreams as they drive around the country, while others are using video chat to help Grandma live in her own home through her aging years. We're finding new ways to do old things, and it's improving our health, the environment, our economy, and more.

Access to this new essential utility, however, is limited by only a few powerful corporations with incredible lobbying power. Since the mid 1990's they've leveraged their size and monopolistic ownership of the wireline infrastructure to stifle competition and increase profits all at the expense of the consumer. Where America once lead the world in state of the art internet delivery systems, we now find ourselves falling behind many other nations as corporations refuse to invest in future proof fiber to every home.

Instead of accepting this fate, many communities and individuals across the nation are attempting to build their own infrastructure and succeeding in bringing gigabit speeds to their homes where local telecommunication monopolies have failed. Although their efforts have been fought every step of the way by the incumbent providers, many are proving that access to high speeds can be affordable and reliable when profit isn't the central motivation. These pockets in places like Longmont, CO, Lafayette LA, Kansas City, MO, and more have become the envy of the nation with inexpensive fiber backed high speed connections that open up all the possibilities of instant communication for anyone to benefit from.

This documentary will tell the story of those people who have been fighting for as long as thirty years or more to realize their dream of a connected world that benefits from human innovation.


Editing footage on the road in Kansas City
We're video makers who are used to having affordable high speed internet, but it turns out we didn't know what affordable or high speed meant until we moved to rural West Virginia. Welcome to the other side of the digital divide: we pay $80 for 1.5mbps download speed which in practice is four times slower than the minimum standard for broadband as defined by the FCC. Meanwhile in South Korea people are scooting around the web at speeds over 5mbps for $30! Essentially this means everything I do online in WV is painful, time consuming, and I'm jealous of South Korea.

The internet is how we conduct 100% of our business, so being weened on this strict diet has brought to our attention just how little we knew about the way the web works. Realizing it's a pretty good idea to know a little something about the most important part of your business, we set out on a road trip across America to visit data centers, talk to community leaders, and check out how everyone else is making use of this incredible tool.
Our temporary work station in Maine
Three months later we found ourselves at the end of a long journey and extensive crash course in the internet. Who would've guessed how crucial this technology is to helping us carve out better lives? It's a giant subject chock full of amazing stories, so we looked at what we had accomplished so far as the beginning of a much bigger process.  We went from making a short video to educate ourselves about the process to producing a feature length documentary we're calling "Connect Us".

As we continue to push ahead with the project we'll be using this blog to document our growing understanding of the puzzel. Reach out and contact us if you're using the web to start your own business on an island, or working from home as a IT Manager, we're eager to put it all together!