Tag: "institute for local self-reliance"

Posted November 23, 2018 by lgonzalez

The Community Broadband Networks Initiative is only one of several research areas at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. It’s common for people who follow the work of one initiative to find overlapping interests in other initiatives at ILSR. In addition to the effects of concentration of power from large corporate entities, local power and how best to exercise it for the community are common themes in all our initiatives. That’s why the ILSR Building Local Power Podcast and our host, Hibba Meraay, occasionally take time to touch base with initiative directors. In October, Hibba interviewed Christopher for episode 57 of the podcast.

In addition to sharing information about some of the publicly owned network models making recent headway, Hibba and Christopher discussed initiatives in Colorado, California’s network neutrality legislation, and 5G. It’s a broader level conversation we don’t always have on the Community Broadband Bits podcast. The show lasts about 30 minutes.

Check out the other Building Local Power podcasts, that span all the ILSR initiatives. Subscribe to the podcast feed: iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS/XML.

New episodes are published bi-weekly on Thursdays. Sign up to get new podcast notifications.

Posted May 10, 2018 by lgonzalez

Dynamic Communications Manager — Portland, Maine; Minneapolis, Minn.; or Washington, D.C. Offices

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is looking for a dynamic, enthusiastic Communications Manager to join our excellent non-profit team. This position is responsible for enacting the communications strategy for all of ILSR’s media platforms and different program initiatives.

Hours per week: Full Time

Compensation: Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience

Application Due: May 17th, 2018

OUR IDEAL CANDIDATE IS:

  • A nimble and dynamic individual able to switch between multiple tasks and program areas within a single work day, and to work independently with minimal supervision.
  • A skilled time manager asked to maintain multiple projects and detailed communications work, which may have varying priority, length, and supervisors.
  • Ready to sharpen existing skills and learn new ones, including: editing podcast audio, maintaining a WordPress-backed website, copy-editing blogs, commentaries, and articles destined for ILSR and other publications, writing press releases and social media materials, and cultivating relationships with reporters.
  • Passionate about ILSR’s mission of countering corporate monopolies and building community power.
  • A detail-oriented supervisor of a very small communications team able to delegate efficiently and catch mistakes before they go live.
  • Unafraid of admitting mistakes, because they happen and we learn from them!

JOB DUTIES INCLUDE:

  • Maintaining, updating, and enacting strategy for all of ILSR’s social media platforms and for its different program initiatives.
  • Writing press releases, media advisories, and reporter outreach for a variety of ILSR original research, resources, and local technical assistance. This task includes developing and maintaining relationships with multiple reporters across subject areas.
  • Producing and providing technical support for the Building Local Power podcast, including booking guests and writing ILSR.org blog posts to accompany episodes, and perhaps even occasional hosting duties!
  • Helping to maintain the ILSR website, including: copy editing, selecting images and infographics, and ensuring site-wide consistency alongside senior staff.
  • Being...
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Posted April 30, 2018 by lgonzalez

Interest is booming in cooperative and municipal Internet infrastructure and related issues. We're looking for someone passionate about working to develop policies related to Internet access, network neutrality, and publicly owned broadband. If that's you, let's talk. Are you our next creative Research Associate? Applications are due May 11th.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Write compelling, well-researched documents:

  • Articles
  • Policy Briefs/Reports,
  • Fact Sheets

Manage data projects:

  • Data cleaning and analysis
  • Map design and GIS
  • Background research for coworkers or reporters as necessary
  • Collaborate on Initiative-wide projects
  • Assist with outreach on large projects
  • Support other projects as assigned

Perform administrative tasks:

  • Take notes at staff meetings
  • Organize and purchase office supplies

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Effective writing and communication skills
  • Background knowledge of public policy and economics
  • Able to work independently and juggle multiple tasks
  • Experience with a statistics program (Examples: R, Stata) or ability to learn quickly
  • Some experience with GIS (Examples: ArcGIS, QGIS) or ability to learn quickly
  • Innovative with publicly available databases
  • Comfortable making cold calls to public officials
  • Creative: graphics, video, audio, interactive maps, etc.

BENEFITS:

Salary is commensurate with experience. Position includes employer-paid health plan, retirement match, generous vacation, a laptop for work use, and a dynamic workforce of dedicated and friendly policy wonks trying to make the world a better place.

HOW TO APPLY:

Send your materials by May 11th. It never hurts to try after that date but the ship may have sailed.

Submit all materials to broadband@muninetworks.org with the subject line “Research Associate Application”

  • Resume
  • Writing Sample and/or Creative Work
  • Cover Letter

Please do not call.

You can also...

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Posted April 26, 2018 by lgonzalez

We're looking to hire a Public Policy Research & Map Intern at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. If you're interested in helping us shape positive policies that affect Internet access, network neutrality, and municipal broadband, read on...

The internship is available to undergraduate students, graduate students, and other interested individuals who can commit to 20 - 40 hours per week. Course credit may be available with approval from an academic department. We would like the position to start by May 15 but can be flexible.

Please use the subject line “INTERNet Application” when sending your materials. Applications are due Friday, May 4, 2018. Feel free to apply after that date - if you are incredible, we may create another position. Never hurts to try. Please do.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Write compelling, well-researched, and concise articles on a short deadline
  • Create informative maps using public databases
  • Compile statistics on Internet access in defined geographic areas
  • Do ongoing research for longer reports and projects
  • Other projects as assigned

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Effective writing and communications skills
  • Familiarity with statistics and GIS (some experience preferred, but not required)
  • Background knowledge of public policy and/or economics (preferred, but not required)
  • Comfortable making cold calls to public officials
  • Creative - graphics, videos, audio, maps, etc.
  • Ability to work independently and juggle multiple tasks

You do not need to know much about broadband policy or telecommunications. You do need to be passionate about public policy.

HOW TO APPLY:

Submit all materials to broadband@muninetworks.org with the subject line “INTERNet App”

  • Resume
  • Writing Sample and/or Creative Work
  • Cover Letter (3 Paragraphs about why you are the ideal candidate)

Applications are due Friday, May 4, 2018.

You can also view the posting on Idealist.

...
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Posted April 12, 2018 by htrostle

Generate conversation about broadband access in your community with a screening of the short film, "Do Not Pass Go." We have created a helpful guide on how to host a screening of the film in your community. Spend some time connecting with others who share your questions about local options and want to learn more.

About the Film

Documentary filmmaker Cullen Hoback traveled to Pinetops, North Carolina, to experience firsthand the battle between municipal networks and private providers. 

Pinetops is a rural small town that receives high-speed Internet service from the nearby City of Wilson, North Carolina. The large ISPs have tried to put a stop to this with a state law, and all the red tape might kill the small town.

"Do Not Pass Go" from Hyrax Films on Vimeo.

Download the Guide

Not sure how to host a screening? Get going with this guide.

- Basic information about community networks

- Logistics of hosting a screening from location to outreach

- Discussion questions about broadband in your community

The guide is 13 pages long and is available for download as a PDF. We produced the guide with Next Century Cities. 

Host a Screening

There have already been three screenings across the U.S. in Marietta, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; and Rochester, Minnesota. The community group Broadband & Beers has a planned screening for April 17th, 2018, in Boulder, Colorado. Let us know if you show the film in your town!

The film is not yet available for wide distribution, but you can order either a Blu-ray or DVD for a small fee or get a code to stream it...

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Posted December 21, 2017 by lgonzalez

As 2017 comes to a close, please consider donating to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Your donation helps us continue the important work of raising the profile of broadband networks that are accountable to communities rather than shareholders. Go to ilsr.org/donate.

As he reflected on 2017, Christopher shared his thoughts:

I know you've heard that the FCC repealed network neutrality on December 14th. We find this extremely disappointing, but take solace in the fact that communities with their own networks will face the least harm by the decision.

We aren't mourning. We are back in the office with an even greater dedication to community networks.  Listening to the Commissioners in the majority -- who just finished working for the big monopolies or will go on to lobbying jobs with those companies or both -- pretend that they are helping small businesses made my heart pound. 

A little more than 10 years ago, I began working here at ILSR to help communities thrive in spite of the big monopolies and crony capitalism in D.C. Two years ago, my wife and I had our first child. The last two years left me really tired at times. Worn out. Burned out.

No more. I'm revitalized! I'm ready for another 10 years of helping community after community regain control of its future. The list of interested communities is growing faster than it ever has before.

We have a great team here, doing great & unique research. We made the first map of rural cooperative fiber networks. We dug into FCC data and found that 100 million Americans can get broadband only from the four big monopolies that have a history of violating net neutrality (AT&T, Verizon, Charter, and Comcast). And we mapped where they all live. This work gives me hope.

We need your help to keep it up. Please donate and keep us going. Spread our work around and rate our podcasts so more people will find us. Any donation amount helps - knowing that you care enough to give us material support will help to keep us energized in the tough days ahead

We...

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Posted December 18, 2017 by lgonzalez

In addition to shredding network neutrality, the FCC is making it more difficult for us to obtain high-quality Internet access. Under the Obama administration, the FCC raised standards for broadband, but the new administration is set on driving us backward. Chairman Ajit Pai and the other Republicans in the FCC want to equate mobile Internet service with home connections. They also want to revert to a slower definition of broadband. We have to show them that their plan is ludicrous and shortsighted; the #MobileOnly Challenge is a start.

What Is The #MobileOnly Challenge?

It seems as if Pai and his chums aren’t aware of what it’s like to depend solely on a mobile connection, especially for people in places where mobile service is spotty or slow. In order to share the experience, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, along with nine other organizations and FCC Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel, are supporting the #MobileOnly Challenge.

For one day in January, participants will put away their laptops and use only their smartphones to access the Internet. During the day, they will report on their experience via social media with #MobileOnly in the tweet, FB post, Instagram post, or other notification about the experience.

The FCC expects to vote on the mobile Internet access and broadband definition question by February 2, 2018. Right now, the Commission defines broadband as 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload; they want to redefine that speed to 10 Mbps/1 Mbps. January will be the time to let them know that we don’t want a slower Internet — we want an Internet for the future.

How Do I Do It?

Choose one day in January to take the challenge and on that day use ONLY your mobile device to access the Internet. During that day, share your experiences on social media using #MobileOnly. When your day is over, encourage your friends to also take the challenge. Don’t forget to contact @FCC during and after your challenge to let them know that mobile only is inadequate for Americans in the 21st century.

Get More Info, Spread The Word

Next Century Cities has created an excellent resource to help you spread the word about the #MobileOnly Challenge. In...

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Posted November 28, 2017 by lgonzalez

The FCC is set to vote on whether or not to repeal network Neutrality under the deceptive guise of “Restoring Internet Freedom” on December 14th. Like others who study broadband and telecommunications policy, we’re distressed by the possibilities for the Internet and its users, should the Commission decide to repeal these protections. Because we use the Internet for so much in our daily lives, reversing network neutrality will give big ISPs like Comcast and Verizon undue power over what information we receive, our online business, and the result may negatively impact innovation. 

We’ve gathered together some of our earlier posts on network neutrality to help explain why the policy is so important. In this collection, we’ve included some of our own writings as well as media that we consider paramount to understanding why we need to preserve network neutrality.

The Basics At 80 MPH (Video):

An old but a goody. In this video, Professor Tim Wu explains network neutrality, including paid prioritization. The video is from 2016.

The Big ISP Perspective (Video):

Many of us consider a free an open Internet a necessity to foster innovation and investment, but the words from the lips of the big ISPs are changing, depending on whom they’re talking to. This video reveals what they tell the government about network neutrality versus what they tell investors.

The Small ISP Perspective (Audio):

Like other small ISPs and municipal networks that offer services to the public, Sonic takes the opposite view of Comcast, Verizon, and other big corporate incumbents - they believe network neutrality is important and should be preserved. Dane Jasper, Sonic’s CEO and Co-Founder explains why innovation needs network neutrality in episode 261 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.

Artists Appreciate The Freedom of...

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Posted November 28, 2017 by lgonzalez

Rural communities across the United States are already building the Internet infrastructure of the future. Using a 20th century model, rural America is finding a way to tap into high-speed Internet service: electric and telephone cooperatives are bringing next-generation, Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) networks to their service territories. This policy brief provides an overview of the work that cooperatives have already done, including a map of the cooperatives' fiber service territories. We also offer recommendations on ways to help cooperatives continue their important strides.

Download the policy brief, Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model For The Internet Era here.

Key Facts & Figures

Farmers first created utility cooperatives because large private companies did not recognize the importance of connecting rural America to electricity or telephone service. Now, these cooperatives are building fiber infrastructure.

Almost all of the 260 telephone cooperatives and 60 electric cooperatives are involved in fiber network projects. As of June 2016, 87 cooperatives offer residential gigabit service (1,000 Mbps) to their members.

Rural cooperatives rely on more than 100 years of experience. The cooperative approach does not stop with rolling out rural infrastructure, but ensures that their services remain viable and affordable. 

The majority of Montana and North Dakota already have FTTH Internet access, thanks to rural cooperatives. Even one of the poorest counties in the country (Jackson County, Kentucky) has FTTH through a telephone cooperative.

AT&T receives about $427 million each year in rural subsidies to bring Internet service to rural America, but AT&T does not invest in rural fiber networks

Moving Forward

Our policy recommendations offer an outline of how to build off of this work and further support rural cooperatives:

1. Design funding programs with cooperatives in mind. Recognize what requirements make sense for large organizations and what is unnecessary for cooperatives.

2. Activate membership based in existing cooperatives. Successful cooperative projects are community-led projects. About 70 percent of electric cooperatives...

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Posted November 22, 2017 by christopher

At the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, we have been watching the latest developments with Burlington Telecom from afar but with extreme curiosity. We have watched a wonderful local movement grow to Keep Burlington Telecom Local and that fits entirely with our values. 

Because of the challenges from BT's prior mismanagement and court settlement, Burlington's options are limited. The benefits of local ownership are tremendous - from being directly accountable for services to keeping more money in the community. But also the ability to correct problems as they arise. No management is perfect, but local ownership provides the most opportunity to ensure that the network will continue to serve the community, rather than a situation in which the community serves the network. We see the latter far too often in communities stuck with cable monopolies. 

We salute those that have made Keep Burlington Telecom Local a viable option and we continue to hope that BT indeed remain local. But we are concerned that BT may not remain locally controlled. 

In the event that the City Council decides to pick a non-local bidder, we want to offer some observations. We are an organization that shares localism as a strong value and has more than a decade of experience working on broadband policy to best benefit communities. 

We have a long history with Ting (though no financial relationship) but less experience with Schurz Communications. Not only have we extensively documented Ting's partnership with Westminster, Maryland, to build a citywide fiber network, but many of us have been customers of Ting's parent Tucows in various ways. 

In our experience, absentee ownership of broadband networks is concerning, in part, because of a tendency for such a company to cut back on customer service and network investments. Such actions can be financially lucrative in the short term but inconvenient when the owner of the company shops, worships, and/or mingles with those who bear the brunt of such disinvestment. Network owners from afar don't have to worry as much about upsetting their customers from declining standards.

Tucows has long been a force for good in protecting and expanding an open Internet, both in sponsoring important events and via...

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