Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) in Minneapolis. Mitchell is a leading national expert on community networks, Internet access, and local broadband policies.
Mitchell built MuniNetworks.org, the comprehensive online clearinghouse of information about local government policies to improve Internet access. Its interactive community broadband network map tracks more than 600 such networks. He also hosts audio and video shows online, including Community Broadband Bits and Connect This!
Public Knowledge presented Christopher with its Internet Protocol award in 2021, which honors those who have made significant contributions to Internet policy. In 2019, the Coalition for Local Internet Choice gave Mitchell its "Indispensable" Award and the Blandin Foundation of Minnesota presented him with a "Courageous Leadership" award. In 2015, the White House used Mitchell’s research as building blocks in a National Economic Council report encouraging community networks. 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. Christopher helped to found Next Century Cities and served as Director of Policy for its first five years.
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.