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    © Larry Baumgart and www.communitydevelopmentcooperative.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Larry Baumgart and www.communitydevelopmentcooperative.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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What’s Public Broadband?

Something that I’ve taken for granted all my life is the word “public”.  Sure, I’m familiar with public sidewalks, public roads, public libraries, public schools, public hospitals, public utilities and public toilets; but I really never gave much thought to how these resources were made public. 

I now struggle with the socialistic concept that public resources like those above, plus police, firemen, army, navy and airforce, are provided for by government on the behalf of the public.  Consequently, let’s define public more clearly as it is sometimes used incorrectly from a bureaucratic perspective to pull one over on the populace and have government control it like public internet at the expense of the private sector.

As a member of the public and with the current state of chaos in all levels of government in that it is now for the corporations, by the corporations, and really hasn’t reflected the constitution since the creation of the privately held Federal Reserve, I would be more comfortable representing myself as a member of the public and not electing someone to do so on my behalf.  How best to achieve that?

Well, it is the international year of the cooperatives and through cooperative representation I would have a greater say, and ownership, perhaps even dividends, while mitigating control of government over public broadband which still needs to be regulated to protect the public’s interest.

So, when I refer to public broadband I’m not referring to local government I’m referring to broadband belonging to the public, in the public’s interest and I’m advocating managing of such through cooperative endeavors.   Let’s be absolutely clear as well when I also refer to community owned networks I’m not referring to government networks but cooperative networks.

Let me be even more precise from the perspective of incumbents within a community, incorporated or unincorporated it really doesn’t matter.  These incumbents may be the local community service provider privately held.   How best to protect these incumbent interests and foster competition is to establish through a community development cooperative an enterprise, profit or non-profit to suit the community’s needs.  The cooperative would have controlling interest in the enterprise and incumbents and other stakeholders such as institutions, would contribute cash or cash in kind to make up the balance of the enterprise in a fair and equitable manner.  There may even be an exit strategy for incumbents in terms of a buyout based on revenue after a number of years.  Let incumbents beware though of being diluted into oblivion which can be easily thwarted.  Obviously a community development cooperative could have a broader impact on the local economy other than broadband.

Public broadband is owned and operated by the public through a cooperative endeavor, not government endeavor.  On a larger scale like a county or state or region there might be a federation of cooperatives.


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