Tag: "open technology initiative"

Posted March 24, 2012 by christopher

The Open Technology Initiative's Dispatches from the Digital Frontier blog originally published this story by Preston Rhea about his experience working with some neighbors to build their own wireless network in Mount Pleasant in Washington, DC. We hope it inspires others.

If you are not yet familiar with Mount Pleasant, here’s a chance to learn about one of DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods. It’s a diverse area not far from downtown DC, featuring a main street lined with locally-owned businesses. Many of these shops and restaurants are owned and run by the area’s large Latino community, which has long been central to shaping the neighborhood’s character. However, over the past decade rising housing prices have pushed many in the Latino community east towards Georgia Avenue.

In May, I moved to Mount Pleasant and started to learn about the area. In order to encourage community-building and local empowerment and to increase local information-sharing and opportunities for civic engagement, I decided to use skills and ideas garnered from my work at the Open Technology Initiative to organize a community wireless network. Despite my excitement to get started, I didn’t want to rush in without first connecting with the people, the histories, networks, skill sets, and local knowledge already present in the community.

My first step was technical: with the help of my OTI colleagues, I specified the hardware for the network and prepared the technology for installation. The first-stage plan was to install a few “nodes” (wireless access points) in order to establish the form and structure of the mesh network - open, interoperable, unfiltered, and decentralized. Then, at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market, I handed out fliers directing people to an online survey gauging their interest in organizing a community wireless network in the neighborhood. I also posted a few of the fliers in local businesses on Mount Pleasant Street. But I needed to go deeper in order to really connect with the existing social networks of people and projects.

Several of my neighbors suggested...

Read more
Posted September 16, 2011 by christopher

If I were near Washington, DC, next week, I would be stopping by the New America Foundation for the kickoff of "Black Voices for Internet Freedom" with a panel discussion.

Black and Latino communities are coming together to keep the Internet open and free from discrimination. Because communities of color rely on the Internet and are increasingly embracing wireless technology, we are organizing to protect our online communication rights. These rights are currently at risk: FCC Net Neutrality rules provide few protections for wireless users — and a pending congressional resolution would overturn these rules and hand control of the Internet to corporations. What’s more, the Department of Justice has acknowledged that AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile is a serious threat to wireless competition and would raise prices for consumers.

RSVP here to attend.

Subscribe to open technology initiative