Grassroots Broadband Groups Grow Across the U.S.

Date: 26 Sep 2017 | posted in: MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Community networks are hyper-local movements. As we have researched these networks, we have often uncovered the work of grassroots activists trying to make a difference in their cities. Today, we’ve gathered together a collection to show how small groups of local people can make a big difference.

Virginia Friends of Municipal Broadband — This statewide organization of citizens and activists quickly formed in opposition to the proposed Broadband Deployment Act of 2017 in Virginia. They collected statements  on why the proposed law would be sour for community networks and published a press kit to help people talk about the issue.

Yellow Springs Community Fiber — This group formed in Yellow Springs, Ohio, to have the city consider building a community network. They hosted a public forum and created a survey to gauge residents’ interest in such a project. They even published a white paper about their proposal, and the city issued an RFP to explore the option.

Upgrade Seattle — This campaign for equitable Internet access encourages folks to support a municipal network in Washington state’s largest city. The Upgrade Seattle group hosts neighborhood study sessions and encourages residents to learn more and attend city council meetings.

Holland Fiber — Holland, Michigan, has been incrementally building a fiber network, and much of the impetus came from the Holland Fiber group. Local entrepreneurs, business owners, and residents realized that high-speed connectivity would be an asset to this lakeside tourist town.

West Canal Community Network — This  group of dedicated people focused their attention on bringing high-speed Internet access to the small community of West Canal in Washington. They held a series of public forums on the issue. As the final pieces of their plan to bring DIY wireless service came together, a private provider swooped in, finally recognizing the community’s persistence and began to offer service. The area now has Internet service, thanks in no small part to the pressure from this community group.

Archived Lafayette ProFiber Blog — The late community activist John St. Julien ran this website for years, bringing attention to the community support for the Lafayette fiber network. Peruse the archived blog in order to learn how Lafayette came to build a citywide, Fiber-to-the-Home network

Grassroots activists in cities across the nation have built up small groups and nonprofits in order to organize for better, more affordable Internet service. They have used websites, social media, public forums, and neighborhood meetings to get their message out. Take a moment to explore what’s happening in your community or check out our grassroots tag to read more stories about local changemakers.

This article was originally published on ILSR’s Read the original here.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of mounsey via pixaby.

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H Trostle

H. Trostle is a Project Manager for ILSR's Community Broadband Networks Initiative. A graduate of Macalester College with a degree in Political Science, they work on issues of Internet access in rural communities. They are a member of the Cherokee Nation, but grew up among the lakes and woods of northern Minnesota.