Polling Community Owned Networks


There are three fundamental and controversial aspects to community owned networks.  The first is whether or not the network should be an open access network, or not?  The second aspect is whether or not it should be run for profit or as a non-profit?  Lastly, should your community network be managed by the public sector, or private sector, or under a private/public partnership?

I have my own personal perspective on these which comes with decades of experience and observation which I will share with you to set the stage to three subsequent polls to indicate your own preferences.

Now, I like open access networks, regardless of whether they are fiber, copper, cable, wireless, or any combination thereof.  Open access networks promote competition, while protecting incumbents, and they allow other providers to share the infrastructure and use the network to ensure the most cost-effective services.  I also would prefer to see the network run for profit as it ties more closely with my last preference in running the network under a private/public partnership.  Government exists for one reason and only one reason only, and that is to protect its citizens from within and from without.  Hence the public sector role should be primarily a regulatory capacity and should never be in managing a network and thereby competing directly with the private sector.  A public sector managed network eliminates competitive benefits and essentially constitutes a monopoly and as such is fascist in its intent.

A Community Development Cooperative made up of all the community’s residents, businesses, associations and institutions would establish a Community Foundation, which would be a non-profit established to manage public property and raise funds and apply for grants and be the vehicle for local philanthropic endeavors.  In addition, the Community Development Cooperative would represent the stakeholders, the community, in establishing and controlling (at least 51% as the major shareholder) an enterprise that would build and manage the community owned network to maximize the use of local resources, returning dividends back to the cooperative.

Thanks for participating.

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