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There has been much talk in the last decade about the need to get more broadband to rural America, and more lately about the large number of rural residents who still lack quality Internet service. Entrepreneur Diane Smith details in the Daily Yonder about how she used technology to start up a multi-million dollar company from the comfort of her home in Whitefish, Mont.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration chart


The Smith family moved from Washington, D.C., with the belief "that we could make a living just about anywhere that had fast and reliable communications connectivity, and we found it in Whitefish," she writes. Smith co-founded Vubiquity, which she says is the largest global provider of multi-platform video services, by raising more than $30 million through the Internet, crediting local businesses and residents with much of her success. "I don’t believe we would have had nearly such swift success had we been located in a more populated community or state."

Her story shows the power and potential of high-speed Internet, she writes: "Broadband connected businesses bring in approximately $300,000 more in annual median revenues than non-broadband adopting businesses. Nearly one in three businesses earns revenue from online sales that account for $411.4 billion in annual revenues for U.S. companies. Sixty-five percent of home-based businesses use the Internet to stay in touch with customers, while 59 percent advertise or sell their goods online, and 98 percent of U.S. counties had at least one high-tech business establishment in 2011." (Read more)

The recently passed Senate Farm Bill includes a pilot program to test ultra-fast Internet in five rural areas, and the Federal Communications Commission has said it will put $485 million as part of a public-private venture to expand broadband to rural areas.



Example of glasses designed to assist blind use computers.Example of glasses designed to assist blind use computers.The Columbia Missourian has a story in its From Readers section from a journalist who is getting the opportunity to experiment with the new wave of technology that could change the future of reporting. Blogger Sarah Hillwrote about using Google Glass -- glasses that can record images and videos, and can surf the Internet with simple voice commands. (Photo: Hill wearing Google Glass)

Hill used Google's Hangout to converse with a group of blind veterans who are learning to make relay calls. "I hopped into their training session to say hello," writes Hill. "The former radio operators who are World War II veterans were fascinated with Glass and the ability to control a computer with your voice. Because of its voice integration, I could see Glass being helpful for individuals with sight impairments as it would allow them to control a computer hands free with their voices." (Read more)


Google Ups Ante For Original Programming Efforts

With First YouTube Comedy Week

Posted: 26 Apr 2013 04:41 AM PDT

For one week in May YouTube is going to (try to) be the funniest website on the planet. The Google-owned property already boasts a multitude of funny clips, but YouTube Comedy Week is something altogether more ambitious. This represents the changing face of YouTube; from a site where anything goes to one which brings together the best people in a particular genre, whether they’re famous or not.


YouTube Originals

YouTube is fighting hard to change its reputation from being an online destination full of short clips of random people (and pets) doing funny things, to something more professional, more serious, more like network television.

It’s a tough sell, but it has already managed to shake off its reputation as a place where piracy reigns supreme. And now it’s trying to straddle the line between longform and short-form, professional and user-generated.

YouTube Comedy Week

YouTube Comedy Week is the first in what is likely to be a long line of concerted efforts to change the nature of YouTube. Or at least change the perception most people have of YouTube.

Overseen by former Jimmy Kimmel Live! producer Daniel Kellison, YouTube Comedy Week will kick off with a live stream from Culver Studios in Los Angeles on May 19. In the seven days that follow YouTube will play host to a mix of famous comedians and comedy actors, as well as YouTube stars known for their comedy.

Known names appearing include Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson, and Andy Samberg’s Lonely Island. Popular comedy channels on YouTube taking part include Funny Or Die, College Humor, The Onion, and Nerdist.

The appeal for YouTube is to bring in audiences who wither wouldn’t normally visit youTube or who wouldn’t normally stick around after watching the latest viral video phenomenon. The appeal for the performers is the freedom to do whatever they want and to gain exposure on a growing global platform.



Google has clearly put a lot of work into the inaugural YouTube Comedy Week, and it has already laid plans for future themed efforts grouped around particular genres. Which is great news for viewers, particularly those who have cut the cord.

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