Can an essential resource be entrusted to community members? Should it? Will it? Today, high-speed, affordable, reliable internet is widely understood to be a necessity both for individuals and for society as a whole. While the hearts and minds of some policy makers have already been won, the real work of closing the digital divide has just begun. Community-based networks have served a crucial role in identifying gaps left by traditional ISPs, but what is their role going forward? This talk explores the past, present, and future roles of community networks in their dual identity as service providers and advocates. In particular, the talk will explore the unique position of community networks in ensuring the long-term equability and sustainability of our digital resources and indeed all resources.
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Rob Johnson, 31 started his professional life as an electrical engineer for New York’s MTA and has gradually found his way into the world of public policy and broadband. He currently works for the NY State Broadband office and volunteers with NYC Mesh. He also enjoys local politics, riding trains, singing, running, and climbing on rooftops.