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Work in Progress: Rural Southwestern Virginia Deserves a Boost


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Rural Southwestern Virginia is home to hard working folks who just want a good steady job. Fortunately, state leaders have been working diligently the past couple of years to bring new, sustainable business and opportunity to Southwestern Virginia. For starters, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and community colleges in the region are retooling […]

Attention Modem Users: Try a Homing Pigeon


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson And now for something completely different. (You didn’t guess I was a Monty Python fan, did you.  See?  You never know….) If you’re still stuck with a slow  Internet connection, as about a third of rural U.S. households are, consider buying a homing pigeon instead, at least for uploading family photos […]

FCC Tames Dog in the Manger


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson In my town, we want cell service so bad we can taste it. It’s a matter of convenience, for sure. But more importantly, the issue is safety. There’s no way to get home from any direction without driving up a long and winding road. Houses, thus land line telephones, can be […]

The Future of the Internet is at Stake


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Posted by Miryam Ehrlich Williamson I’ve been working on a piece about the Federal Communications Commission’s request for public comment about the future of the Internet. But Wally Bowen’s June 29 article does it so much better than I can that I’m placing it here, in full, except for his illustrations. If you want to […]

The Fiber Cometh


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By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Here in Tiny Town (at the end of this post I’ll stop being coy abut the town’s real name) our locally built and operated broadband  enterprise is profitable, and we expect to have paid back the $40,000 the August 2008 town meeting voted to lend us by some time in 2012. […]

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 […]

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 […]


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