The Media Action Grassroots network is holding a digital dialogue phonecast from 1-2pm EST on January 25. The discussion features Traci Morris of Native Public Media, Danielle Chynoweth of Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, and me of here on the topic of “Beyond Access: Owning Community Broadband Networks.”
You have to RSVP to join but there is no charge.
In the last few years local communities, governments, non-profit organizations and neighborhood residents from across the U.S. have successfully launched community broadband initiatives. 54 U.S. cities own citywide fiber networks and another 79 own citywide cable networks. These local initiatives, in rural and urban areas alike, have served as community scale infrastructures that are sustainable and allow participation and decisionmaking on the most local level. Research has shown that community scale infrastructure is more cost effective to build out and lowers the cost of sustaining connectivity at the community level. As we know broadband Internet access is vital for civil engagement and integral to our daily lives. For community media advocates it’s not just about having access to broadband services, it’s also about owning the infrastructure and gaining access, rights and power to media that provide marginalized community members with needed broadband access. Moreover, these broadband networks are directly accountable to the community they serve.