After many years working to promote community networks, we here at Community Broadband Networks (CBN) want to lay out our broader vision of a better connected country. As an initiative of the national research and advocacy nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance, we work with a diverse group of allies, partners, and local communities on policies to improve local Internet access. We also research and document what communities around the country are doing to improve access to high-quality broadband networks.
We hope this vision pulls together all we’ve done and continue to do, and provides a framework for understanding our worldview. See our full vision. Here are some excerpts:
We believe community-led broadband is the best option for promoting economic prosperity, improving quality of life, and ensuring access for everyone across income and background.
We have concerns about the long-term local control of huge companies due to strong pressure from Wall Street and large financial institutions to consolidate, resulting in less local accountability. Municipal and cooperative networks have proven resilient against concentration pressures, remaining locally-rooted in many contexts.
We support competition and choice wherever possible. The optimal solution is not one great network but rather a series of overlapping networks, much like the Internet itself.
We do not want to run private Internet service providers out of business. We believe an ideal solution is to have a municipal or cooperative open access network that is competing with at least one other physical network in which all premises can choose between at least those two.
We believe communities should embrace solutions that fit with local culture rather than simply trying to import a model that worked well elsewhere.
If you’re interested in more, listen to the Community Broadband Bits Podcast, or sign up for our newsletter. Don’t forget to check out the wonderful work being done at the other initiatives of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance: Energy, Waste to Wealth, Independent Business, and Composting.