In my last post I suggested that communities could come together and build a localized, high-speed internet using existing wireless technology.
This would not be an easy task, and I think it would require both grass-roots action and municipal cooperation.
However, I believe that if the FCC creates slow and fast lanes for major media companies, this may create the incentive we need to realize local, high-speed networks.
If cities were to work with their citizens to create a variety of independent, and virtually free, high-speed municipal networks, they would realize the following benefits for their local communities:
1. A reduction in the cost of high speed internet access for services such as streaming video, phone calls, and other communications.
2. An incentive for companies to locate their data centers in the community to take advantage of a nearly free, high-speed digital infrastructure.
3. The increased employment within the local community of people skilled in running data centers, optimizing servers, writing computer code, and creating content–all high-paying jobs that would benefit the community overall.
4. Provide an infrastructure that would revolutionize the way we communicate as communities. This could mean localized Twitter-like services, FaceBook-like services, telephony, video conferencing, streaming of live video for public and private news and entertainment companies, etc.
Even if Net Neutrality is not effectively destroyed by the FCC, and the continued lack of telecommunications competition, it would still behoove communities to begin looking into the benefits of having more localized control over their communications infrastructure.
If we have learned anything the last six years, it is that bigger is not always better. Sometimes an economy of scale, especially when it is not buttressed by contingency plans for failure and by proper oversight for bad behavior, can yield disastrous long-term effects on everyone.
A Wi-Fi network controlled and maintained by the local community would not only be a boon for the local economy; it would also offset the danger of relying solely on large, noncompetitive, and extractive communications companies whose sole incentive to provide service is economic.