The Telecommunications as Commons Initiative is a part of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our work focuses on ensuring that communities have affordable, reliable, and fast access to the Internet via broadband networks that are directly accountable to the community. ILSR has been helping communities to be independent for over 37 years but our broadband work is a little over seven years old.
We are strongly supportive of cooperative, nonprofit, and local government ownership of networks. Because these network owners prioritize community needs over short-term profits, they are less likely to set rates too high, violate network neutrality, or refuse to invest in next-generation services. We believe that networks are essential infrastructure and communities must have the authority to build their own networks if they so choose.
We are excited to be a part of MAG-Net because organizing and working in trenches is one of the most important aspects of making real change. Policy should be grounded in the real world and should be accessible to those who care to learn about it. We hope that we can help translate from economic, legal, and policy jargon to understandable language (and back again) that allows everyone to participate in governance.
We run MuniNetworks.org, the online clearinghouse of information about community broadband news and research. You can follow us on twitter @communitynets and we are on facebook as well – https://www.facebook.com/communitybroadband.
Christopher Mitchell is director of the Telecommunications as Commons Initiative for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
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