Citizens Rally Behind Publicly Owned Wireless Network in Florida

Date: 8 Oct 2009 | posted in: information, MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

As we reported on MuniNetworks.org, the city of St. Cloud, Florida, has operated a free wireless network covering the entire city since 2006. They treated it as a public service and "CyberSpot" has been viewed as a premier success story, garnering awards for its performance.

However, the state of the economy and resulting budget crunch led to the City Council voting to shut down the network in as part of an effort to avoid raising taxes. The public demanded a meeting to reconsider and many offered testimony on the need to continue the network.

The result was the city committing to continuing the network for 3 months, an example of how public ownership creates more choices and gives communities self-determination. They may yet decide to continue funding it, or not — but the decision is subject to the democratic process, not the whims of absentee owners. And in this case, the democratic process was recorded and posted to YouTube.  Videos are available at the original post.

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Christopher Mitchell

Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He runs MuniNetworks.org as part of ILSR's effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them.