Obama campaigns for wider access to high-speed Internet

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A century-old outdoor clothing store ships coats and woolen socks around the nation, while down the block one of the newer companies in town fields inquiries about its miniature video cameras that skiers, mountain bikers and even troops in Afghanistan attach to their helmets to record themselves in action. They are among small businesses in Michigan's off-the-beaten-path Upper Peninsula that owe their success to high-speed Internet access, which President Barack Obama considers a potential economic savior for America's countryside and small towns. Obama will campaign for his coast-to-coast wireless initiative on Thursday during a visit to Marquette, a university and tourism city of 20,000 overlooking Lake Superior that cherishes both its geographical remoteness and technological savvy. "The Internet is as important as oxygen up here," said David Ollila, a local entrepreneur who has founded seven companies, including the camera vendor, V.I.O. His latest venture, Marquette Backcountry Ski, markets a snowshoe-ski hybrid that he invented and sells online from an office in his basement.

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