Tag: "institute for local self-reliance"

Posted April 7, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a national nonprofit working to empower communities by striking at the roots of monopoly power and striving toward a vision of thriving, diverse, equitable communities. We use in-depth research, reporting, and data analysis to produce influential reports and articles. Our analyses are frequently featured in national news media and sought out by policymakers. We work closely with a broad range of local community leaders, elected officials, and a diverse coalition of allies to advance these ideas and policies.

Community Broadband Organizer

ILSR is looking for an enthusiastic candidate to assist these local organizing efforts. Our Community Broadband Networks program has many resources and contacts that can dramatically accelerate local organizing efforts. This position will require frequent meetings with local groups to understand their goals and challenges, as well as organizing more general support systems like mutual-aid calls and other resources as needed. Success will mean many more communities will achieve digital equity more rapidly than would otherwise occur.

Responsibilities

  • Meeting with local leaders/activists working on community broadband planning or building networks; helping to educate local efforts on common challenges, constraints, and opportunities.
  • Learning about broadband technology, policy, and related state and federal tools.
  • Finding alignment and opportunities in the work of allies in the field and engaging on them.
  • Occasionally developing one-pagers and other basic materials with colleagues at ILSR.
  • Knowing when to ignore bullet points.
  • Reporting back to ILSR colleagues on trends, challenges, and creative solutions and soliciting feedback to continue helping local efforts.

A Successful Candidate

  • Is an empathetic and engaged listener that can quickly understand what people in local efforts need and are struggling with.
  • Is highly self-directed and driven with an appreciation of the awesome power of human networking.
  • Is quick to learn new subjects.
  • Possesses a genuine enjoyment of collaboration with a willingness to give and receive honest feedback.
  • Passionate about the ILSR’s mission of countering corporate monopolies and building community power.
  • Understands that setbacks are...
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Posted March 17, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) as a host organization for two Leading Edge Fellowships, which demonstrates the potential of humanistic knowledge and methods to solve problems, build capacity, and advance justice and equity in society. Leading Edge Fellowships place recent humanities PhDs with nonprofit organizations committed to promoting social justice in their communities.

In Fall 2021, the program will place up to 41 recent PhDs to work on projects at partnering organizations. Fellows receive an annual stipend of $60,000, as well as health insurance and professional development funding. Fellows lead substantive projects that draw on the skills and capacities honed in the course of earning the humanities PhD, including advanced communication, research, project management, and creative problem solving. This initiative is made possible through the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Applications are due May 6, 2021 (9pm EDT). For more information, visit https://www.acls.org/Competitions-and-Deadlines/Leading-Edge-Fellowships

ILSR will host two fellowship positions:

PROJECT 1

Bridging the Digital Divide in Native Nations

Internet infrastructure in Native Nations has been underfunded and overlooked compared to elsewhere in the country, and the consequences have been significantly exacerbated by the current pandemic. Many of these communities have built their own broadband networks to provide essential service to their residents and assist in meeting the challenges in running small businesses, accessing telehealth, and working and learning remotely.

ILSR has compiled the only known database of existing tribal broadband networks in the United States as a step toward understanding the unique challenges those communities face. With the support of ILSR’s broadband team, the Leading...

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Posted March 5, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

In 2020 the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative said sad goodbyes to Lisa Gonzalez and Katie Kienbaum, but we have three new thoughtful and talented people joining us.

Sean Gonsalves, Senior Reporter, Editor and Researcher

Sean Gonsalves is a longtime former reporter, columnist, and news editor with the Cape Cod Times. He is also a former nationally syndicated columnist in 22 newspapers, including the Oakland Tribune, Kansas City Star and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Washington Post and the International Herald-Tribune. An award-winning newspaper reporter and columnist, Sean also has extensive experience in both television and radio. Sean has made appearances on WGBH’s “Greater Boston” TV show with Emily Rooney and was a frequent guest on New England Cable News (NECN), commentating on a variety of Cape Cod tourist attractions as well as making regular appearances on WCAI's weekly news round-up broadcast, "The Point with Mindy Todd."

He left print journalism in 2014 to work as a Senior Communication Consultant for Regan Communications and Pierce-Cote, advising a variety of business, non-profit and government agency clients on communication strategy. In October 2020, Sean joined the Institute for Local Self-Reliance staff as a Senior Reporter, Editor and Researcher.

Reach Sean by email at sgonsalves@ilsr.org

Maren Machles, Senior Researcher and Multimedia Producer

Maren Machles is coming from an investigative journalism background and has spent her career digging into the finances and backgrounds of powerful political figures as well as the systemic oppression of a variety of marginalized communities. The combination of Machles’ studies in economics as an undergrad at Ohio University, and her time reporting in under-resourced communities, has fueled her understanding that fast, affordable broadband access is an absolute necessity for the equity of all Americans. 

She was a recipient of the 2020 Robert F. Kennedy...

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Posted March 3, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

We’ve been having a lot of conversations with cities and communities recently looking for solutions to bridging the digital divide. If you’re new to the broadband space and looking for guidance on short- and long-term results, here’s a good place to start. Christopher joined the Michigan Moonshot's Community Education series recently with a presentation titled “A Community Guide to Solving the Digital Divide.”

It breaks down in an accessible way the key concepts, options, and costs to consider. Communities across the country face an array of situations in bridging the broadband gap, including city size, the scope of the problem, available infrastructure, existing ally organizations, and funding avenues.

Christopher covers all of these, as well as inventorying local resources and talent, energizing community officials, and how important it is to define success early on in the process.

His presentation also includes as examples a lot of the gap-network successes we’ve seen over the last year, including San Rafael, California, Providence, Rhode Island, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Tucson, Arizona. Read about those stories to learn more about the goals set, challenges faced, and successes by local officials, nonprofit leaders, and residents in those cities.

Watch the webinar below, and be sure to stay tuned for the questions at the end.

Posted January 5, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a national nonprofit working to empower communities by striking at the roots of monopoly power. We use in-depth research, reporting, and data analysis to work with communities as well as produce influential reports and articles. Our analyses are frequently featured in national news media and sought out by policymakers. We work closely with a broad range of allies to move these ideas and policies.

ILSR is looking for a Broadband Writer/Researcher within the U.S. to join a growing team within ILSR focused on ensuring all Americans have fast, affordable, and reliable Internet access. This person will work with Sean Gonsalves and Ry Marcattilio-McCracken to develop research as well as create short- and long-form content focused on improving Internet access both in urban and rural areas. This might seem like a dry and technical issue, but it is a vibrant and exciting field that is also one of this generation’s biggest equity and justice challenges.

Check out the job duties and skills needed below.

Job responsibilities include:

  • Writing stories for MuniNetworks.org, a clearinghouse of the latest news, comprehensive reports, and statistics about community broadband networks.
  • Writing and collaborating with the team on larger reports.
  • Managing research ongoing on the cities and cooperative that are building networks.
  • Monitoring an overwhelming number of Google alerts and other streams of information to keep track of local developments around community networks.
  • Working with the team to develop and review research projects and creative efforts to share our work.

A successful candidate is:

  • An exceptionally good writer with the ability to convey complex ideas in a clear and compelling way. Able to write quickly when needed.
  • Able to design, undertake, and complete original research with little direction on familiar topics.
  • Has experience with research and writing projects that make use of sources like news coverage, legislation, agency reports, municipal documents, etc.
  • Possesses a genuine enjoyment of collaboration with a willingness to give and receive honest feedback. Skilled at helping team members improve the articles they contribute.
  • Passionate about the ILSR’s mission of countering corporate monopolies and building community power.
  • ...
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Posted December 9, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

H. Trostle (they/them) is a project manager on the Community Broadband Networks team. They have a Master's in Urban and Environmental Planning from Arizona State University and a B.A. in Political Science and Classical Languages from Macalester College. At Arizona State University, Trostle focused on Indigenous Planning: their final applied project was for the Office of Navajo Government Development. Between degree programs, Trostle worked on the Community Broadband Networks team as a researcher from 2015 to 2018. Trostle is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota. They are especially interested in infrastructure issues and community development in rural areas.

Connect with them at htrostle [at] ilsr [dot] org.

 

Posted September 9, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is looking for a Broadband Writer/Editor to join a small team within ILSR focused on ensuring all Americans have fast, affordable, and reliable Internet access. 

With Katie leaving to add her acumen, insight, and research skills to ILSR's Energy Democracy team across the virtual hall, there's a signifcant void to fill. Coverage of electric cooperatives here might never recover, and we'll certainly miss her.

Check out the job duties and skills needed below.

Job responsibilities include:

  • Writing stories for MuniNetworks.org, a clearinghouse of the latest news, comprehensive reports, and statistics about community broadband networks.
  • Writing and collaborating with the team on larger reports.
  • Managing research ongoing on the cities and cooperative that are building networks.
  • Monitoring an overwhelming number of Google alerts and other streams of information to keep track of local developments around community networks.
  • Working with the team to develop and review research projects and creative efforts to share our work.

A successful candidate is:

  • An exceptionally good writer with the ability to convey complex ideas in a clear and compelling way. Able to write quickly when needed.
  • Attentive to accuracy, detail, and nuance.
  • Strongly motivated.
  • A strong analytic thinker who can identify the pivotal questions and gaps in a piece.
  • Possesses a genuine enjoyment of collaboration with a willingness to give and receive honest feedback. Skilled at helping team members improve the articles they contribute.
  • Passionate about the ILSR’s mission of countering corporate monopolies and building community power.
  • Enthusiastic about puns, alliteration, or some other means of playing with words.

Preferred qualifications:

  • More than 1 year of experience in journalism or writing and editing – ideally on broadband policy, tech, or related fields.
  • Strong knowledge of public policy processes or a tech/telecom background.
  • A bachelor’s degree.

This position is full-time working with a team based in Minnesota, but we currently work remotely and welcome applications from anywhere within the U.S. Position includes 100% employer-paid health plan,...

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Posted August 25, 2020 by Katie Kienbaum

With the end of the federal Keep Americans Connected pledge and the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive broadband aid, it’s clearer than ever before that local governments are the last line of defense against the digital divide, which has been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.

Some communities have already taken steps to connect their residents, during the global health crisis and beyond. For example, the public school systems in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, decided to cover the cost of broadband subscriptions for low-income students. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, the city’s municipal broadband network is partnering with local schools to provide free Internet access to all students that receive free and reduced-price lunch.

However, in 21 states, legal barriers — often enacted at the behest of corporate telecom lobbyists — prevent local governments from investing in community broadband solutions to close the digital divide.

To help local governments that want to improve connectivity navigate the various opportunities and obstacles, we at the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) have teamed up with the Local Solutions Support Center (LSSC) to produce a number of helpful resources. We previously shared a step-by-step guide for establishing local broadband authority during the pandemic. Now, local officials and community advocates can access two more resources: a guide for local governments to act in the context of the pandemic, and an interactive state broadband preemption map.

View The Digital Divide and the...

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Posted July 31, 2020 by Katie Kienbaum

Get up to speed with how electric cooperatives are rapidly expanding rural broadband access by watching a recent webinar on the topic from the Community Broadband Action Network (CBAN). The webinar is part of CBAN’s Lunch and Learn series, and it features panelists Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative, and Steve Collier, Vice President of Business Development at consulting firm Conexon.

View the webinar recording on YouTube or below.

Watch the Webinar

CBAN is an Iowa-based network of local governments, broadband providers, and community groups that advocates for better community broadband solutions. Its Lunch and Learn webinar series has covered a variety of topics, including digital inclusion and New Market Tax Credits.

On the recent webinar, the hosts and panelists talked about how rural co-ops provide broadband to a large and growing portion of rural America. They discussed the various reasons why electric cooperatives invest in fiber infrastructure, including smart grid applications, local economic development, and the needs of rural communities. Other topics of conversation included financing for co-op fiber networks, electric and telephone cooperative partnerships, and co-op member organizing efforts. For more, watch below.

Co-op Fiber Continues to Grow

Learn more about how rural electric and telephone cooperatives are bringing high-quality to rural areas with our report Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model for the Internet Era. See which co-ops are investing in broadband by viewing the rural cooperatives page on MuniNetworks.org, which features a periodically updated list of cooperative fiber and gigabit networks.

Stay up to date on how electric cooperatives are connecting their communities with our articles on rural electric co-ops.

Posted July 10, 2020 by Katie Kienbaum

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s (ILSR’s) Community Broadband Networks initiative is honored to be recognized as one of the top 100 Fiber-the-the-Home (FTTH) leaders by Broadband Communities magazine.

Broadband Communities publishes its annual Top 100 FTTH list to acknowledge the contributions that these companies and organizations have made to the fiber optic industry. “‘Building a Fiber-Connected World’ is the tagline of Broadband Communities magazine, and each year the FTTH Top 100 list recognizes organizations that lead the way in this endeavor,” the publication explained. In addition to ILSR, awardees include fiber vendors, network operators, business consultants, and broadband engineers.

MuniNetworks and Community Networks Make the Mark

In the list entry for ILSR, Broadband Communities said:

ILSR’s publications, including its MuniNetworks.org blog, toolkit and weekly podcast that covers broadband and more . . . have shown communities that controlling their broadband destinies is feasible and has the potential to improve local economies and quality of life.

Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative, commented on the award:

We are honored to be once again named to Broadband Communities' Top 100 — the Broadband Communities publications and events have been essential in expanding community network approaches throughout North America. We could not have built our platform without their events and research over the many years we have worked together.

Broadband Communities recognized a select few community broadband networks in the FTTH Top 100, including UTOPIA Fiber, an open access fiber network serving more than a dozen Utah communities, and Co-Mo Connect, the broadband subsidiary of Missouri electric cooperative. The list also identifies a number of consultants that frequently work with municipalities and/or cooperatives, such as CCG Consulting, Conexon, and Finley Engineering.

View the full list. The current edition of the Broadband Communities magazine is...

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