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Cell Phone Saves Hiker in Avalanche


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Not that I begrudge this hiker his rescue, but this story makes my teeth itch. A man hiking on Granite Mountain, near Seattle, was trapped in an avalanche that swept him 100 feet from the trail. Normally, that would be the end of the story and the rest of this blog […]

The Little Town That Could — Broadband Update


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Not only could we start our own tiny town’s broadband system, we did it. In August, 2008, this town of 750 people voted to borrow $40,000 to start building a wireless broadband system that we hope will eventually serve the entire town.  As it has turned out, we didn’t need to […]

Nebraska journalist says rural news outlets must boost Web presence for “hyperlocal” impact


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By Al Cross Hyperlocal journalism has become a buzzword in the search to save newspapers, but Mark Coddington of The Grand Island Independent in Nebraska says rural news organizations have been practicing hyperlocal journalism for decades. Coddington explains that most people talk about hyperlocal in urban and suburban contexts, but “Most of this journalism is […]

Broadband Update: From the Mountains of Thailand


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Photo: flickr / rabinal The chair of my tiny town’s broadband committee is in Thailand, on a vacation that has me turning a brighter shade of kale.  (If you don’t get the musical reference, ask an elder.) She sent us this dispatch: Today I was in a remote HmongTai village in […]

Mapping Wiki / Broadband Mapping


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson I’ve found a new toy.  Actually, it may turn out to be a very useful toy, but I won’t know that until I’ve played with it for a while. You can play, too. OpenStreetMap is a map of the entire world, completely editable. You can take part in the editing if […]

Epidemics More Likely in Rural Places


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Photo: studio.miller / flickr Anyone with a shred of common sense would know that the risk of picking up a flu virus would be greater in the city than in a rural area. Cities are more crowded. You stand on lines, get packed into buses and elevators, and stand with dozens […]

WildBlue Hell


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson I’ve been in WildBlue hell since last week, which is why you haven’t heard from me.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay online, but for now I’m using our tiny town’s broadband internet system (more about that in a minute.) My WildBlue story is, I think, emblematic  of why […]

One Nation Online


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson photo: beel@l / flickr For an explanation of this image, go to the end of this post. Here’s an opportunity to say what you think about bringing Internet access to all Americans, regardless of where they live.  Free Press, an organization devoted to freedom of the press and unhampered communication — […]

Adelstein Nominated to Head USDA’s Rural Utilities Service


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Jonathan S. Adelstein, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, will be President Obama’s nominee for Administrator of the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), formerly the Rural Electrification Administration. The nomination requires approval by the Senate. Before he came to the FCC in 2002, Adelstein was a Senate staffer for 15 […]

Wireless Funding Accompanies Broadband


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson On Tuesday afternoon I watched on stuttering video (streaming video’s country cousin) as President Obama signed the economic stimulus bill into law.  The broadband part is a little quirky, but it’s way better than nothing and it includes a little lagniappe for those of us who live where the cell phone […]


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