Community Municipal Networks: One Size Does Not Fit All

Equal access to the Internet and technical literacy is recognized by many to be a key to success in the Twenty-first century. We use these resources to obtain a good education, find a job, conduct business, be creative, obtain news, socialize, be civically involved, communicate globally, and more. This isn't to say that traditional methods of doing these things are useless or that the Internet is a magic elixir. It's just that technology can really help us.

There are many ways to provide equal access to the Internet. Each holds its advantages. The trouble is each method, by itself, can not serve everyone equally. We all have unique needs and use the Internet differently.

Here are some use examples:

Weigh in on wi-fi

Guest Post by James Protzman

The idea of communitiy wi-fi is emerging as a potential local election issue -- and would seem to warrant broader public discussion as well.

Some say wi-fi should be a purely commercial undertaking left to the private sector. Others (like me, for example) see wireless connectivity as an increasingly critical part of community infrastructure -- similar to sidewalks, parks and public safety -- services that support the common good.

My view is simple: we cannot allow the issue of connectivity to become yet another element in the growing "digital divide." That is, no one should be disadvantaged for not having resources to buy high-speed access for their homes and families.

There are plenty of ways to think about this and many experiments going on around the country. Some of them are reported here . . . and I'm sure there are other good resources. If you know of any, please share them.


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