It’s a New Net Day

Growing up there would occasionally be a special day.  At school, we would have a Field Day which usually meant we were just running around outside rather than having classes.  Those were pretty popular.
Sundays were widely known as Church Day.   Saturdays were Mowing Day and for many families Friday was Wash Day.   However, in all my years I have never heard of “Net Day.”  
Many of you have already heard of the internet project the City of Donalsonville has undertaken in partnership with Sozo Solutions and Huawei Technologies.  In an effort to demonstrate to our citizens the potential capabilities of the enhanced internet, a Net Day will be held on Friday through Sunday, February 26th through the 28th.
Huawei has obtained a temporary license from the FCC to transmit up to 100Mbps per device from a specially designed mobile truck.  This multi-million dollar vehicle will be located downtown and will transmit the powerful Wi-Fi signal from a 60-foot antenna.
However, the purpose is not simply to demonstrate fast internet, but rather to showcase examples of how this technology can change the way we live in a small rural city.
Planned examples for the three days include an interactive program and discussion for younger children with renowned photographer and artist, J. J. L’Heureux, who will guide the children on a tour of Antarctica and teach them about Penguins via live telepresence.  The children will be viewing her book at the same time she is discussing it.  This will be streamed live from Venice Beach, CA.
Later on Friday afternoon, interested middle and high school students will have a similar telepresence exchange with a Cooperative Extension Specialist in Peanuts and Cotton with Auburn University.
Friday evening, a family-friendly movie will be streamed downtown where citizens can gather and enjoy it together.
Saturday morning will bring additional opportunities for teens interested in robotics and technology.  A team of young people who participate in BEST, which stands for Boosting Science and Technology, will join interested area students in a demonstration.  Other teams outside the area will join them via live telepresence.
That evening Lil’ Jimmy Reed and Hunter Johnson, two prominent blues and jazz musicians will perform at the Olive Theater.  They will be joined by Dr. Robert Holm, a Professor of Music at University of South Alabama.  Dr. Holm will be joined via live telepresence by other pianists from the campus in Mobile.
A Sunday afternoon visit is planned to an area farming operation to demonstrate the capabilities of the internet when beamed to remote farming locations.
The power of high-speed internet provides us opportunities to experience a higher quality of life, which was previously only available in large cities. But now, we can enjoy a higher quality of life without giving up what we love most, a small town with fresh air and no traffic jams.
Properly designed and constructed, this evolving technology can be a rural city’s friend.  Our ultimate goal is to leverage this opportunity to bring positive change to Donalsonville.  
As you can see, it is indeed a new Net Day in our community.  
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Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]

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