Living off the grid is great…when you have a choice

I’m back from Belize.
Spending a couple of weeks off the grid made me realize how little access I need, but how much I hate having someone deny it to me.
My only Internet access was an Internet cafe that was a 15 minute boat ride from my resort on Ambergris Caye. Phone calls home were a couple of dollars a minute at the front desk of the resort or a dollar a minute at the Internet cafe in town.
In the ten days that I was in Belize, I didn’t miss the Net or NPR or TV at all, and I think the general lack of electronic and automotive background noise contributed to a sense of peace and well-being. The biggest disturbance was a couple of boneheads that kept cruising up and down the beach on motor scooters until one of the neighbors chewed them out.
I doubt I would have appreciated this isolation on September 11, but it probably would have been better for me than watching CNN.
I thoroughly enjoyed dropping off the grid. What I hated was that others were in control of my access. The resorts on the north coast of Ambergris Caye had apparently decided together not to bring in newspapers. Our hotel was using their control of their phone to jack up the price of a call to the US and keep me from using AT&T’s low-price service. And it seemed pretty clear that the price floor was kept pretty high by Belize Telecom Limited, which controls telephone and Net access in Belize.
What worries me is that if ILEC’s had their druthers, and the Republicans are inclined to let them, phone calls in the US would be be a dollar a minute and we’d all be sharing dial-up lines in Internet Cafes.

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