Bumpy road won’t stop travel down information highway

REGINA — In Saskatchewan, the shift from an industry-based economy to the information age will be quicker and more dramatic than was the shift from agriculture to industry.

The change offers Saskatchewan people an opportunity, Bob Hersche, adviser on telecommunications to the province, told a recent conference focusing on jobs.

“We didn’t participate in the industrial age that much, so we can enter the information age without having to support traditional industries,” he said.

Farmers link up

Saskatchewan farmers are already moving ahead, with 2,000 signed up to the Farm Business Management Information network, known as FBMInet, he said.

FBMInet is a network of computer bulletin boards linked electronically across Canada. It contains price and market information, farm management information, agricultural news and press releases. Hersche said such computer systems are providing information and replacing newspapers.

Less access

He acknowledged that rural areas don’t always have the same access to technology as urban areas.

“I hope geography won’t be a barrier to the hopes and aspirations (of rural people).”

Hersche said he had titled his address the information gravel road, instead of the more familiar information highway, because “we’re all just starting out … and there are lots of rocks and soft shoulders.”

However, he said, “a gravel road has never deterred someone from Saskatchewan.”

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