The internet and all of its capabilities have already changed the world we live in and will continue to do so.

A pair of Suwannee County officials, speaking at the telecommunications infrastructure accessibility forum held at Live Oak City Hall last week, compared the spread of high-speed internet now to electricity a century ago.

It may indeed have that wide-ranging impact.

From the wealth of information at one’s fingertips while trying to research online.

From businesses no longer having to spend resources on traveling to meetings when a video conference can be held instead.

Those same video conferences can also be utilized to avoid stays in waiting rooms by allowing for some doctor checkups to be done remotely.

From the amount of goods one can purchase without ever leaving the house.

Technology has affected everybody and every industry.

But to fully tap into the power of that technology and utilize it, the infrastructure must be laid.

That is where local officials have run into problems.

The low cost of living and wide range of available land in North Florida won’t help lure a slew of new businesses if their technology needs can’t be met.

Meeting those needs, at least on a wide scale, is not cheap. Laying hundreds of miles of fiber to allow North Floridians and prospective businesses to fully drive on the information superhighway is costly.

But it’s also necessary.

And will take a team effort.

So the forum that brought together providers, business owners and government officials was a good start. It allowed for open dialogue to address the issue at hand.

Now, they must continue to work together to help keep Suwannee County and North Florida moving forward.

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