No one disputes the importance of broadband access for economic growth and job creation. That's why five cities - Wilson, Salisbury, Morganton, Davidson and Mooresville - invoked their self-help traditions to build and operate broadband systems after years of neglect from for-profit providers, which focus their investments in more affluent and densely populated areas. Not coincidentally, all five cities own and operate their own power systems or have ties to nonprofit electric cooperatives.
Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Telecommunications as Commons Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Mitchell is a leading national expert on community broadband networks and speaks at conferences across the United States on telecommunications policy.
He was honored as one of the 2012 Top 25 in Public Sector Technology by Government Technology, which honors the top “Doers, Drivers, and Dreamers” in the nation each year. That same year, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors named ILSR the Broadband Organization of the Year.
On a day-to-day basis, Mitchell runs MuniNetworks.org, the comprehensive online clearinghouse of information about community broadband. His research and reports are available here. In 2012, he published three in-depth case studies of citywide publicly owned gigabit networks, called “Broadband at the Speed of Light.” In 2011, Mitchell released the Community Broadband Map, a comprehensive map of community owned networks.
His Twitter identity is @communitynets
He earned a Master's degree in Public Policy from the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Macalester College.
He is also a professional sports photographer, shooting regularly for the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers and other clients in Minnesota. He has also worked as a server administrator, web geek, and in automated quality assurance for software.
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