Communities can't wait any longer. Virtually all businesses, large and small, now use the Internet. Affordable access to telecom services is now a business, and many kinds of new job opportunitites require broadband. Open access service-oriented networks using a new and different business model and a new and different network architecture, offers existing incumbents and network operators an opportunity to overcome the inherent financial shortcomings and network inefficiencies in their existing networks. For communities that choose to invest in telecom as basic infrastructure, open access networks provide a robust and financially sustainable business model that uses a time-tested model for government infrastructure investments--an approach that not only does not compete with existing private sector providers but also creates new private sector business opportunities and helps to create new jobs locally.
Broadband for America: The Third Way
A heavily revised version of a 1999 paper that looks at the issues communities have to deal with, using the
lens of broadband and economic development. The paper looks at the global
Knowledge Economy, explores the notion of a "community information utility"
as a permanent institution in the community, and considers how to make
communities more prosperous in the face of global competition.
Nine Questions for Communities
During the recent presidential election, both candidates set 2007 as a goal to have broadband to all communities,
businesses, and citizens of the United States. Unfortunately, neither candidate
provided a detailed plan on how we, as a nation, should get there. One
of the recurring problems is the lack of well–defined roles for appropriate
investments at the national, state, and local level. This paper outlines
policies and roles at all three levels that should lead to achieving affordable
broadband for all citizens. It also proposes a local broadband architecture
that creates a high performance community intranet.
Connecting the Dots for 2007 and Beyond: National, State, and Local Policies for Sensible Community Investments in Broadband
This paper argues that telecommunications must be regarded as essential public infrastructure if communities intend
to prosper in the Knowledge Economy. Changes in economic development strategies
that are affected by telecommunications are discussed, and tips are provided
to help communities get started without spending large sums of money (or
any, in some cases).
Telecommunications as Critical Public Infrastructure
Handout from a presentation at the Rural Telecommunications Congress in 2002. A definition of broadband and key areas
of investment, along with inexpensive strategies that can be pursued immediately
to accelerate the adoption of broadband.
First Mile Strategies: Sociology Trumps Technology
A discussion of why communities and regions should invest in broadband.
A one page illustration of the entire COTF System for Community transformation that shows all six areas of focus.
Very appropriate for a wall size poster (have it enlarged at a copy center,
or print it in large format at Kinko's).
"Big picture" view of the COTF System
An entirely new approach to addressing the challenges and opportunities that communities face, with an emphasis
futures thinking, consensus-based visions for the future, and core values
(ethics, morality, etc).
COTF System for Community Transformation
This paper presents a regional approach to community networks and community technology centers that would mission
overlap, improve services, and accelerate the deployment of technology in
A short (8 page) checklist style guide to the key activities needed to start and sustain community network projects,
including infrastructure development.
Community Network Development Guide
A discussion of the roles of community networks and their impact on communities, with special attention to social
issues and the question of the digital divide.
The Digital Continuum
A brief (two page) itemized description of the services that should be offered by community network efforts (including
public and private offerings).
Community Network Services
An extensive discussion of the long term implications of technology and its impact on the life of communities, with
special attention to egovernance and community decisionmaking.
The Knowledge Democracy: Challenges and Opportunities
Written in 1999, this paper is still very relevant to any community technology project. The nine questions provide
a framework for evaluating the impact of such projects.
Nine Questions for the New Millenium
A discussion of the importance of the "eCommunity" concept and how it can
have an impact on community and economic development, especially in rural
Building eCommunities: Getting Everyone Connected
A discussion of broadband issues in communities, with a humourous introduction about the similarities between broadband in
rural communities and barbecue joints in Texas (and other states). Delivered
at the TCRC Broadband conference in 2001.
Broadband and Barbecue
at a glance...
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Visit our resources section to find a wide variety of papers, video, and handouts on broadband and telecom topics, including community broadband.