I had the opportunity to visit my friend Eric Davis who is a production manager at Starwest Studios in Los Angeles CA. Eric and I were introduced from our time serving in the US Coast Guard together. He began working in television production after he left military and the studio he has developed allows people all around the world to access the lessons from leading celebrities and performance professionals in Hollywood via the Internet. A beautiful music studio is decked out with state of the art music equipment, microphones, cameras and processing equipment. Their website and app are a subscription based service aimed at allowing people to access the expertise of leading music, dance and acting professionals without having to leave their homes. The fiber optic network of cables, processors and, routers that has been installed in the building is impressive. It fills an entire room in the studio and requires a special cooling system. All the wiring and processing equipment is designed to allow video to be broadcast live with full teleconference capabilities to any remote location in the world.

It is apparent that the entertainment industry understands the benefit of making their content available to our remote communities. Some of the most outstanding services and educational resources are now available online through broadband Internet. Eric’s studio and their mission illustrates the enormous benefit that digital inclusion serves for our rural communities. Why shouldn’t a student in Port Lions or Akhiok, who is an aspiring actor, professional dancer or singer, be able to learn from stars like Dwayne Johnson or Paula Abdul live over the web? This is where the work of digital inclusion serves to allow access to opportunities for our communities that would otherwise never be available. As more companies gear their businesses toward or around the Internet, the digital divide will continue to grow. What presents itself as a problem of access to education, will quickly translate into an economically disadvantaged community if the citizens are not exposed to the economic benefits available using broadband. Therefore, it is important to bring our communities online regardless of population density or economic status of a community.