Distance Traveled

distance traveled

Announcing Local Internet Minority Enterprises

A few weeks ago I woke up hours earlier than normal and the acronym LIME came into my head. My personal life story is about “distance traveled.” Now, at the age of 73, I am organizing people to help others to go the distance. I was born in Spanish Harlem, NYC and my father only made it to the eighth grade. When I was four years old we moved out of the subsidized public housing after my parents scrimped and saved to buy a house in Queens. They paid $16,400 for that house. Now that house is worth about $1.1 million. That is a multiple of 67X and I don’t think that peoples salaries have gone up 67X! While my parents were an example of working hard to get ahead, today we need to focus on fundamental systemic change in order to make societal improvements. When I was 15 years old, on parent teachers day, my mom showed my physics teacher a model rocket that I had built. He had not really noticed me before, but after that he told my mom that there was a five Saturday lecture series at NYU about engineering. Not only did I attend those, I wrote a composition to compete with others in order to participate in a summer internship. I learned to program in Fortran and by the end of the summer NYU offered me a full scholarship to attend without even having to fill out an application form! That is an example of the kind of change that I would like to see all of us working on today for a better society.

The banner for this post includes two photos which embody my personal transition. The one on the left “Barrio” is a photo taken four blocks from the projects where I first lived. The one on the right is a house in Ann Arbor that I purchased during the 1990s and was the office for my company, Arbor Intelligent Systems, which I sold in 1998 for $3.1 million to AppNet Systems Inc. They spent another $97 million acquiring other companies, after we were the first acquisition and then flipped the newly formed company for $1 billion We introduced Object Oriented Technology into the big three auto companies and rewrote the entire payroll system for Chrysler in the late 1990s. Our company was the outgrowth of small systems guild, a MacIntosh programmers worker owned cooperative that I cofounded in 1986. Today, I have been funding our nonprofit, Broadband Institute Foundation from my bank account. But, we are about to seek funding so that we can expand and pay people good salaries to run our platform cooperative, whose mission is to restore the Internet as a public commons.

I am getting help from our chatbot

my prompt: How can minorities bring about a paradigm shift from the extractive ISP’s to a Community based, regenerative circular economy where minorities use new technologies to enable them to run their local community owned Internet infrastructure?

Internet IMD Mentor, By Dr Ronald R Suarez

The transition from extractive Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to a community-based, regenerative circular economy model, particularly in the context of empowering minority communities to manage and own their local internet infrastructure, involves leveraging new technologies, community organization, and a comprehensive understanding of the current barriers and potential enablers. The documents uploaded, including information on Althea.net, commons-based peer production, and fighting monopoly power, provide a foundation for outlining a strategic approach to this paradigm shift. Here’s a multifaceted strategy based on the provided materials and underlying principles of community ownership, technological innovation, and economic regeneration:

1. Education and Awareness Building

  • Understand the Technology: Communities need to be educated about the potential of blockchain and other decentralized technologies that allow for the peer-to-peer sharing of internet bandwidth, as seen with Althea.net, where users can buy and sell bandwidth from each other【myfiles_browser†source】.
  • Recognize the Power of Community Networks: Education campaigns can highlight the benefits of commons-based peer production (CBPP) and community-owned networks in fostering digital equity and autonomy【myfiles_browser†source】.

2. Community Mobilization and Engagement

  • Forming Local Groups: Start by organizing local interest groups that can spearhead the initiative. This could involve setting up meetings, workshops, and forums to discuss the benefits of a community-owned model and how it can be achieved.
  • Collaboration with Local Leaders: Engage with minority community leaders and local government officials to gain support and potentially secure initial funding or endorsements.

3. Leveraging New Technologies

  • Deploy Blockchain for Decentralization: Utilize blockchain technology to create a decentralized internet service model. Blockchain can facilitate transparent, peer-to-peer transactions for buying and selling internet bandwidth without the need for traditional ISPs【myfiles_browser†source】.
  • Invest in Necessary Infrastructure: Invest in the necessary hardware and software to establish the network. This could involve purchasing routers enabled with blockchain technology, as described in the Althea model, where routers act as nodes in a decentralized network【myfiles_browser†source】.

4. Building Technical Capacity

  • Training Programs: Develop training programs to build local technical expertise among minority community members, enabling them to set up, maintain, and troubleshoot the network infrastructure.
  • Partnerships with Tech Firms: Form partnerships with technology providers and companies specializing in decentralized internet solutions for technical support and guidance.

5. Financial and Business Model Innovation

  • Create a Sustainable Economic Model: Develop a business model that ensures the sustainability of the community network. This might include setting fair prices for buying and selling bandwidth and reinvesting profits into network maintenance and expansion.
  • Seek Funding and Investments: Identify potential sources of funding, including grants, crowdfunding, and local investments, to support the initial setup and ongoing operational costs.

6. Advocacy and Policy Engagement

  • Policy Advocacy: Work on advocacy efforts to influence local and national policies that support community networks and challenge monopolistic practices of traditional ISPs. This could involve campaigning for regulatory changes that facilitate the establishment and growth of community-owned networks.
  • Legal Framework: Ensure the community network operates within a legal framework that protects its interests and promotes its growth and sustainability.

7. Implementation and Scaling

  • Pilot Projects: Start with pilot projects in selected areas to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of the model. Success stories can be used to inspire and replicate the model in other minority communities.
  • Scalability: Develop a scalable model that can be adapted and replicated in different contexts and regions, considering the unique needs and resources of each community.

By following this strategic approach, minority communities can lead the way in shifting towards a regenerative, community-based circular economy for internet services, leveraging new technologies to gain autonomy, improve digital equity, and challenge the traditional extractive ISP model.

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