We are a Platform Cooperative, Collaborative Community Commons, and the educational arm of the Broadband Institute Foundation (a Michigan educational nonprofit, dba Wifi Sherpa, IRS: PUBLIC CHARITY). We are qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106, or 2522.
Mission (articles of incorporation)
Broadband Institute Foundation is a corporation organized or held out to be organized exclusively for 1 or more charitable purposes. We will create educational resources that help to improve Broadband Internet access for underserved populations. Broadband is too expensive for many urban residents and unavailable for many rural residents. We will create online training materials that will be freely available by using a Creative Commons license, rather than copyright. We will train people to create community-owned infrastructure for Internet network cooperatives that also promote civic engagement at the local level.
Platform cooperatives are businesses that sell goods or services primarily through a website, mobile app, or protocol. They rely on democratic decision-making and shared platform ownership by workers and users.Platform Cooperative Consortium
What is a co-op? A cooperative is defined as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
What is a platform? A platform is an online application or website used by individuals or groups to connect to one another or to organize services.
The Internet should connect us like the sidewalk
Together, we can do this. In a Ted Talk Bob Frankston starts with this question to the audience: “How many of you paid your sidewalk provider in order to come here?” So, why do we accept the idea that we will let providers, who must make a profit, decide on what limits they want to impose on our Freedom to Connect? I embedded the video below in an article I published in Medium back in 2017, when I was a member of NYC Mesh: “Ending Net Neutrality: Tip of the FCC Fuckery Iceberg That Limits Your Freedom to Connect.“
Working cooperatively will promote #DigitalEquity
During the 1930s, rural electrification was a major challenge in the United States. At the time, private electric utilities were hesitant to extend their services to rural areas because they were considered unprofitable. This meant that millions of Americans in rural areas were left without access to electricity. In response to this problem, the U.S. government established the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in 1935. The REA provided loans to rural electric cooperatives, which were owned and operated by the farmers themselves. These cooperatives were able to use the loans to build power lines and other facilities to bring electricity to their communities.AI Chat GPT-4
Rather than being a single cooperative, we are functioning as a Federation of emerging cooperatives. Our focus is being in the center of that Federation, and providing tools for horizontal communication and learning.
We’re closing the Digital Divide with a Platform Cooperative that trains people to build Community Owned Internet Networks. We use LearnDash, a Learning Management System, and the BuddyBoss Platform in WordPress for community engagement to connect Courses with Social Groups and discussion Forums, thus promoting “Social Learning.” Governance by teachers employs “consensus decision-making” with tools from Loomio. We use a grassroots legal and financial toolbox from Open Collective.
Visit our Foundation’s website
Rural Co-op Report
Open PDF from ILSR
Our mission & tools to achieve our goals (90 sec video)
Watch This Demo of our Alpha Version
Certain features will not work unless you are logged in. We are seeking collaborators. Please contact us. The Interface has changed since this video was created, but it is still informative. We have also rebranded, by changing our website URL, since this video was recorded.