ey may say it is day when it is dark outside. al jazeera. london. lenity of time to find out what is happening around the world, the address to click on is aljazeera.com. really is the best place to get all your international news and sport plus breaking news. >> this is "techknow". a show about innovations that can change lives. >> the science of fighting a wildfire. >> we're going to explore the intersection of hardware and humanity, but we're doing it in a unique way. this is a show about science... >> oh! >> oh my god! >> by scientists. tonight... the digital divide. >> if you had the world's fastest internet, what would you do with it? >> the promise of the digital superhighway.
lightning fast hook-ups to the web, but not for most of the u.s. >> the church... most people come here to pray but you come here for what? >> i come here to do my homework. >> unless you live in the right spot. >> you can just instantly... instant 4k movies at your disposal. >> now techknow investigates the politics of technology. >> can you talk about the lobbying presence of these big companies. >> it's the haves... >> they could actually put the mri on steroids. >> verses the have-nots. >> digital divides like right down the street... like you can see what you're missing. >> yeah. >> kosta grammatis is an engineer who's designed everything from bionic eyes to space satellites. dr. shini somara is a mechanical engineer. and i'm phil torres, i'm an entomologist. >> what would you do with 1 gigabit per second? >> that's our team... now let's do some science.
hey guys i'm phil torres joined by kosta grammatis and dr. shini somara. when you think chattanooga tennessee, you don't necessarily think of a digital hub but in fact it's the fastest internet in the western hemisphere. >> how fast is the interent at your apartment? >> i think it's about eight megabits per second. in chattanooga, every resident has 1000mega bits per second, a whole mega bite, a giga bit for them to use. >> wow, so how long would it take to download an entire movie? >> two minutes. it's lightning fast. >> two minutes, it goes so fast. >> let's just go to chattanooga and watch movies all day. it's incredible. >> i'm totally in. but hang on, the us ranks 26 on the global scale of internet speeds. >> so why is chattanooga so advanced compared to the rest? >> well, if you go outside chattanooga, they are still using satellite and dial-up to get online. there's nothing else. >> really seems like that town in tennessee represents the digital divide that we don't just see in the us, but what we see around the world. let's take a look.
>> it's 5pm on a thursday afternoon and high school senior peyton van hook is at his church, just outside of chattanooga tennessee. >> the church, most people come here to pray, but you come here for what? >> i come here to do my homework most of the time. because our internet is so poor at home, i have to come here. >> can't do it at home... >> nope. >> ... we have satellite service at home. so after we go after a certain amount of data, our internet gets slowed down to, about on average, about half the speed of a dial up connection. >> remember back in the 90s when a dial up modem was a must have for anyone who wanted to get on this thing called the world wide web? >> "but what do you need to establish a connection? here's a starter list. you need a computer, and of course a modem you need to establish an account with an internet service provider. ...patience and sense of humor will go a long way when you encounter you first glitches on the internet. >> but no one has patience for a 56k dial up modem
connection today. not when fiberoptics are available. with fibreoptics, where data is sent as light down a glass fiber, the internet can reach gigabit per second speeds-meaning you can download an feature length hd movie in about thirty seconds. the technolgy exists but few cities in america have it. and the first city in america to attain it wasn't new york or san francisco ...it was a city better known for it's southern charm and rural living, an american town more famous for its tr ains, than it's tech ....chattanooga tennessee. >> i'm going to go to youtube, and i'm going to watch the trailer for birdman, and it's already half way loaded that's incredible, you can just instantly (snaps his fingers)
instantly 4k movies at your disposal. why doesn't the rest of america have these speeds? why chattanooga? >> most cities haven't really made the investment and haven't spent the resources in order to do it. i mean... this isn't fancy anyone could do what epb has done, but they've done it. >> tom hoover heads up information technology for the university of tennesee chattanooga. technologically speaking he's right, chattanooga's so-called "gig" isn't fancy. but this isn't about science this is about the politics of big cable. chattanooga was like most u.s. cities until the municipal power company, called "epb", came to the rescue. comcast, america's largest cable company and the state cable association sued -- not once but twice -- to prevent epb from bringing the gig to chattanooga. >> why are you so fired up about this? >> i didn't realize what i was
gonna be up against (laughs). >> tennesse state senator janice bowling is a key player in the legislative battle to bring the gig to the rest of tennessee which has pitted her against what she calls the legacy providers. >> can you talk about the lobbying presence of these big companies in tennessee? >> the hill was swarming witth new lobbyists representing at&t in particular, comcast and charter - >> wow. >> - um... my name was not used in nice context by a lot of people at that point. we really do need this in tennessee. we need it across america. >> chattanooga's plan went up in 2010 thanks to the municipal utility. >> the latest upgrades from existing providers were not coming to chattanooga. >> david wade is the chief operating officer of epb. he says they built "the gig" in order to enable a smart electricity grid. bit it also brought ultra high speed internet to the citizens of chattanooga. chattanooga raised $220 million
in bond money and nearly $112 million in federal stimulus funds to build the network. now, in addition to providing electricity, epb provides high speed internet, phone and television to more than 72,000 homes and businesses. >> what would you do with one gigabit per second? >> oh... all the things, so many things! i wouldn't have to come to the church, i wouldn't have to spend so much gas money. >> peyton is one of the 19 million americans who do not have access to fixed broadband - such as dsl or cable - in their home. and it's not just rural areas... in major cities like miami cleveland, new orleans, dallas and philadelphia over a third to nearly half of households lack any option for high speed internet. but in chattanooga the map tells a story of haves and have-nots that's difficult to understand unless you follow the politics of high speed internet. >> peyton's family invited me into their home in bradley county just outside of chattanooga - it
may look like any of the other residential neighborhoods of chattanooga, but this seciton of town is different. >> the digital divide is right down the street. you can see what you are missing. >> yeah. >> the van hooks live across that divide-- just a few miles down route from their home the intenet moves at the speed of a gigabit. >> when you bought this house did it occur to you that you wouldn't have internet access. >> ...when we came out and toured, there are cable jacks in four of the rooms in the house so we had never thought that we wouldn't have access to any kind of cable service. >> so far thier has been no cable company willing to provide service to their street - not at&t not comcast not charter. >> ...we had three different technicians come out to evaluate the property.... the last guy who came out he said,listen i'm just going to be very honest, even if you pay for
the wire to be laid, they aren't going to provide you service. >> but epb wants to provide service to peyton's family. they don't mind laying the cable, but state law won't let them. >> recently eva van hook travelled to washington to participate in fcc hearings on the matter. >> eva is from bradley county tn, she has to drive 12 miles so that her son can see the biology videos that he needs for the next days classes. >> folks outside of our service territory are standing up and starting grass roots efforts. >> in the meantime epb is reluctant to expand until state laws are changed. meanwhile the battle for who gets to offer fast internet in tennessee is being watched closely by other states which would also like to roll out municipal fibre cable. >> what is it like using the satellite. >> it's uh, have you ever read a book while surfing the internet? >> no (laughs). >> that's what it's like using satellite internet.
that's about the speed that we're talkin' about. >> can you pull up, like, a you tube video? >> so we'll try to watch the "community broadband fcc commision meeting"... >> so you just clicked that? >> it's not even going to like play. >> you can see its kind of thinking about it really hard... >> oh, there we go! >> it popped up! >> kinda. >> slow clap for the internet. >> coming up next, we see what "the gig" can do. >> it's the next generation internet. >> and find out how fast the internet can really go. >> we have unlimited capacity into the future. >> we want to hear what you think about these stories. join the conversation by following us on twitter and at aljazeera.com/techknow.
>> in the late 1800s chattanooga tennessee was a city of steel; a hub for the foundry business. but that steel eventually turned to rust. by the nineties, its downtown was a virtual ghost town. but today, this mid-sized city has reinvented itself as a tech hub of sorts....due in large part to what they call "the gig".... internet speeds as fast as one gigabit per second. >> if you had the world's fastest internet, what would you do with it? >> mike bradshaw heads up co. lab, a non-profit which nurtures start-ups with everything from office space, mentorship and not least of all, access to "the gig". >> and so we started some
programs, "gigtank" is the program co. lab produces. >> one of the start-ups that has come out of co. lab's gigtank program is a company called 3d ops, that creates custom 3d models of organs from medical scans like mri's. >> so an mri comes in through your super fast internet, you put it through your algorithms it creates this shape... >> in about 30 seconds. >> in 30 seconds... then you throw it into a 3d printer and out comes this. >> exactly. >> ...so these are the 3d printed models that you speak of? >> absolutely. >> and this is one that, there's a tumor inside of this, you can see this tumor here. >> they can actually put the mri on steroids if you will and having it where they can hold it. take it apart, plan, actually practice a surgery, that's tremendous to them. >> i'm blown away. >> and it's not just entreprenuers that have come to chattanooga for the relatively cheap, high speed internet... according to the fcc the gig helped lure big companies like amazon and volkswagon to the area .. in january, president obama even highlighted chattanooga as one
of the few places in america that can compete with cities like seoul and hong kong when it comes to internet speeds. >> citizens got together and made the investment to bring competition in and make sure that internet is as fast there as anywhere else. >> when it comes to internet speed, the u.s. currently ranks number 26, behind latvia belgium, taiwan and romania. >> that's sad. >> why is that sad? >> we should be world leaders. it's not where i want america to be. >> but it's not just economic advantages ... there are also educational opportunities that chattanooga's students can boast being the first to enjoy. across town at a science magnet high school in chattanooga called the stem school, students are about to operate a 4k microscope that's actually located at the university of the southern california.
>> have you ever been to chattanooga? >> i've never been to chattanooga, i've never seen the tennesee river. and so my first glimps of the tennessee river will be with microscopic samples. >> so they're shipping you samples to look at and explore? >> yes, we're seeing our microscopic creatures called rotiphers. and maybe i could have the students there move the stage around on the microscope a bit. so they're controlling the microscope 1800 miles away. >> so beautiful... i think everyone here's mind is kind of blown that we're watching this in real time across the country. >> this link up between the stem school and usc is enabled by what's known as a "geni rack". located at the university of tennesee, chattanooga. >> the geni rack is essentially the next generation internet. you can do simulations, you can do some high speed computing and you can really test out some things that, you know, traditionally you can't. >> the geni rack and its ultra high speed connections will usher in the internet of the future-and
it's all been enabled by the latest fibre optic technolgy >> you are basically at the first round of trying to transmit information down fibre. you have unlimited capacity into the future, all you have is to change the electronics on the end to get more capacity. colman keane is the director of fibre technology at epb. >> so how much data can you pump through one piece of fibre? >> we can do up to 10 gigabits on any single fibre. there are optics that we can get that are much higher than that. so 100 gigbits or whatever per fibre. >> but while the city of chattanooga may be contemplating a 10 gig or even 100 gig future, the gap between the internet-haves and have nots is widening ... ironically at the stem school where students use a 4k microscope and ipads have replaced books, some of the students have trouble getting their assignments done when they go home. >> is doing your homework hard on your satellite internet? >> it can be. >> tell me.
>> well, it's satellite internet so it is based on weather and stuff so if its really. cloudy out then i am going to have trouble going on to web pages and stuff. >> have you ever not been able to do your homework. >> yes. >> do you tell the teacher sorry my internet died? >> i've told them, but they're teachers so... (everyone laughs). >> currently in 19 states it's prevented from municipal broadband to exist, why has that happened? >> we get poised a lot of time uh, it's big bad epbs picking on these little mom and pops like at&t and comcast that are significantly... i think they're 1200 times our size... >> those poor guys! >> i don't know of any reason why that would be a good thing. i think competition tends to raise the bar for everyone. >> and indeed, the battle for who will provide high speed internet to the masses is heating up as of may 2015, google fibre's 1
gigabit per second service is available in kansas city and provo and coming soon to atlanta, nashville, charlottle and raleigh-durham. not to be outdone, comcast recently announced it would start offering 2 gigabit service in atlanta, miami, ft. lauderdale and chattanooga. but for now, peyton and his family will continue to miss out. >> peyton vows to fight on... >> we've got a facebook page... twitter page....and we got a website. >> and you can't visit them because it takes an hour to load >> i can't visit them and i can't administer them ...i have to do it all at school. >> while preparing this segment for techknow, we reached out to eva van hook who told us she was surprised to see charter cable trucks parked outside her family home. so we asked her to take pictures for us, which appear to show cable wiring ready for instillation. so it seems that after 11 long years of asking, the van hooks
may finally have better internet service. techknow asked charter whether their decision to wire the block was based on the van hook's activism and support for epb's expansion in chattanooga and a spokeswoman told us, quote: "charter's decision to build infrastructure for customers on gum springs road is strictly a business decision and is unrelated to epb's plans". techknow also reached out to at&t, comcast and the tennessee cable telecommunications association for comment on the digital divide. there was no comment. we'll be right back. >> explorer and environmentalist jean-michel cousteau. >> we are visitors and we need to respect that. >> surprising secrets of the ocean. >> if it wasn't for the ocean, we would have a lot of problems today. >> and the harsh reality facing our planet. >> enough is enough. >> i lived that character.
grammatis and phil torres. now phil's got a really fascinating story, but it's also an adorable one. >> guys, i've never been jealous of a dog before until i met these dogs. they actually travel around the world saving endangered species and they also fight invasive species right here in the u.s. so let's go to montana and take a look. >> near polson montana biologist aimee hurt is using one of the most effective tools available to prevent an invasive species infiltration. her four legged, furry partner - wicket, is a conservation dog---trained to sniff out endangered species as well as invasive species. >> when did this idea of using dogs in conservation first get started? >> field biologists have taken their pet dogs out with them all the time when they are looking for something ... and dogs are like oh you're looking for this i can help you
with this let me point it out...what conservation dogs do differently is that...maybe this month we're working on one thing and the next month we're working on something else. >> on this deployment, the dogs will be working to detect zebra and quagga mussels. these mussels will clog industrial pipes, coat and contaminate beaches and cause harmful bacteria to wipe out ecosystems. the great lakes region of the u.s. is considered ground zero... where mussels were first introduced, and rapidly spread. so far, montana is one of the few states that's remained mussel free. let's meet our team of hard-core hounds. wicket is a 10 year old, black lab- sheppard mix. a former pound dog, she is now learning her 22nd scent. tia, a german sheppard just
returned from her work with blunt nosed leopard lizards, she now knows 11 scents. and lily, 6, is a yellow lab she was abandoned by 5 different homes before becoming a conservation dog. she has helped track cross river gorillas in cameroon. >> okay wicket we got the thumbs up... we'll go check it out. >> do these dogs make good traditional family dogs? >> these dogs don't make great pets. they are high energy high focus high intensity. these are the kinds of dogs where if they don't have a job they are digging up the back yard... they are not traditional pets in that regard. so they may have not gotten adopted if it weren't for you guys. yeah these tend to be dogs that are increased risk for euthanasia at animal shelters just because they are bouncing off the walls and too energetic and too much dog for most families. >> but for this assignment at a mussel checkpoint on flathead lake, their intensity is essential.
>> so when a boat arrives here what happens? >> we bring the dog out on leash...we start at one side of the hitch and we work around the boat the dog will pick areas to sniff and our job as handlers is to pick other areas for the dog to inspect where a mussel might attach. >> using a test sample of crushed, frozen mussels, co-founder of the working dog conservation center, alice whitelaw, demonstrates how a pack member will signal with an alert if she does find a mussel. >> show me... she's right! good girl. >> she found it! >> good girl. >> despite all of the technology and innovations used by biologists in conservation around the world to detect animals nothing is less expensive or better than what mother nature has already provided in the form of a dogs nose. >> that's because a dog's nose has about 300 million olfactory
receptors...versus humans who have just 6 million. the olfactory portion of a dogs brain is also about 40 times bigger than ours. the working dog conservation center in bozeman montana has deployed their dogs to 18 states and 13 countries around the world. protecting endangered species is another huge part of their work. >> show me... good boy! >> at a bozeman school thousands of miles away from her next deployment in africa, megan parker is training partner peppin on peppin's 21st scent. >> we are training dogs to detect ivory in africa to help stop traffic particularly through zambia is where we are going to be deploying these dogs. >> peppin will be at busy checkpoint stopping vehicles suspected of smuggling ivory. animal poaching has become a global epidemic with extreme violence and illegal profits increasingly linked to terrorist
organizations. >> estimates are 100 elephants a day are dying that's 30 thousand a year at this rate elephants could be extinct within a decade. >> this is the biggest chunk that we have, and we'll just put it here where it's really obvious. >> this is just peppin's second day of training so we were able to see how easily working dogs pick up new scents. >> he's my hero he's so happy to work and he'll sit on a plane for two days and come off and just hit the ground running. >> i think in 10 years time virtually every agency, every university... non-profits, will all have their own dog teams working. >> phil, i want to know what treats they're feeding these dogs - i mean their noses are just so sensitive. is there a technology that actually rivals what these dogs can do? >> no, they don't even need to give them treats, they just give them their favorite toy. these dogs just love playing
this game of detecting stuff and that's where you get a difference between dog and machine. >> we don't hear much about invasive species, how big is this problem? >> you know, it doesn't seem like the most appealing thing to report on for some reason, but it's a $120 billion dollar problem every year here in the u.s. so it is huge and those dogs are absolutely on the front line of defense. guys i think we had this amazing combination of tech and nature today where we have these fiberoptic cables and also a dog's nose and that's what science is all about. so join us next time, here on techknow. >> dive deep into these stories and go behind the scenes at aljazeera.com/techknow. follow our expert contributors on twitter, facebook, instagram, google+ and more. >> the technology is there... why isn't being done more? how to make recycling work... >> when these different plastics are blended then the recycling becomes difficult, to impossible.
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