Attention Modem Users: Try a Homing Pigeon

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

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

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 [...]

Internet helping boost rural entrepreneurship

from The Rural Blog Entrepreneurship is up across the country, but with the help of non-profit organizations and the rise of broadband Internet access, rural areas may getting more than their usual share of business startups. “From 2008 to 2009, the number of self-employed Americans increased by 200,000 to 8.9 million, according to Challenger Gray [...]

The Fiber Cometh

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. [...]

The Little Town That Could — Broadband Update

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

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

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

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

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 [...]