Christopher Mitchell, Director, Community Broadband Networks:
Hello everyone. I'm Chris Mitchell.
I am the policy director for Next Century Cities which I do in my capacity at the small organization out of Minneapolis called the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and I think I was tasked with introducing myself because nobody likes me as much as I like me. Similarly, I didn't bring any PowerPoint so I can force you all to be staring at me.
If you recognize my voice I was the narrator on a video that we did about Ammon and the fiber network a few years ago that may have introduced some of you to it. I know that it's inspired -- I know that Ammon has inspired many other communities around the country.
I know several in Ohio alone, where I was recently speaking, who saw that video. I think, [they] saw the leadership of Mayor Kirkham, of Bruce, of others, and thought, "we should do this too." So this is something that is traveling far and wide. I've been thrilled to kind of be a part of it. Bruce has been picking my brain occasionally for I don't know seven or eight years and I remember when he first reached out thinking, "I don't know that I can share anything with him because he's already so far advanced of what anyone else is doing." But I've been able to observe it over that, over this period of time, and one of the things that I do in my job at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance is to try and think of [the] broader picture. And I think a lot about the role of government, being from a place called the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, we firmly believe in local control, local decision making.
So when I think about the role of government in broadband and whether or not there is a role, the answer is absolutely yes. And that role is different from community to community. And I think I like to reach back just briefly to a couple of previous infrastructures. We, it seems like, we can't talk about broadband and particularly rural broadband...Read more