Learn How to Extend the Internet to Your Community
In this blog, I will talk about Learn How to Extend the Internet to Your Community is useful. Every day, people around the world are caring for their neighbors by bringing them online. A lifeline for so many, the global COVID-19 has shown us that the Internet is now more important than ever. Yet nearly half the world’s population still has no access.
Many people have come to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) for advice on how to get started on an effort to improve Internet connectivity.
An increasing number of municipalities are investing in telecommunications infrastructure to serve public facilities, local businesses, and even residences (see our map here). The national cable and telephone companies are refusing to invest in communities because they effectively have a monopoly on Internet access locally. Most Americans are stuck choosing between slow DSL and expensive cable options.
I know many people, especially women, who can relate to this experience. But what I’ve come to learn is that in the community networks movement, we are all equal, and everybody believes in everybody! When you’re working in the Internet way, it’s about the whole community, working together in partnership. Everybody has a role to play.
Begin At The Beginning: Establish A Concrete and Viable Vision:
“A vision needs to identify the potential benefit(s), both quantitative and qualitative, and a reasonably concise assessment of the problem(s). A comment problem is a lack of local control over essential infrastructure. Gaining control over the infrastructure is one piece, but what will that allow the community to do? Hope is a valuable part of the vision. The community has to have faith that it can do better and find ways of bringing the community together to create (or maintain) a good place to live and work.” – From the 2014 ILSR report, Santa Monica City Net: An Incremental Approach to Building A Fiber Optic Network
What are the problems you wish to solve in your community?
- Are you concentrating on improving access for business, households, or both?
- Does your community need more affordable access?
- Do you want more choices?
- Are you frustrated with the incumbents?
Determine What You Have: Review Existing Community Assets
A number of communities already have fiber in place for other purposes. Managing traffic signals, monitoring wells, or connecting electrical substations are a few common municipal or county government uses of fiber. Sometimes, local government already has fiber to connect schools or public facilities. Before delving deep into the process, one should have an idea if any of these assets may exist in the community. This was a way to Learn How to Extend the Internet to Your Community.
Community broadband networks have been around since the 1990s and ILSR has collected many of their stories. MuniNetworks.org has hundreds of articles about local communities that have explored municipal networks solutions.