[CUWiN] Re: Media inquiry: grassroots WiFi and the digital divide

Sascha Meinrath sascha at ucimc.org
Wed Dec 15 17:17:43 CST 2004

i'll write michelle back.


On Wed, 15 Dec 2004, Michelle wrote:

> Hello. I'm a freelance writer in New York City, researching issues of technology access and urban policy in low-income urban communities. After a little investigation on how the digital divide impacts urban communities, I found your project.
> As I'm sure you know there's been some press lately on Philadelphia's municipal programs to enhance internet access and how the city butt heads with Verizon. I'm more interested in what grassroots projects like yours are doing to promote local high-speed Internet access. There seems to be some non-profit advocacy for expanding telecommunications access to urban small businesses and residential areas often overlooked by the major corporations. I'm curious about the specific role of non-profit organizations like yours, Digital NYC and the Public Internet Project. Are you actually trying to circumvent the role of huge telecom companies like Verizon by creating a public, non-profit technology infrastructure with the support of the government? I have heard that programs in other cities attempting to build a public telecom infrastructure from scratch, without the help of a major company, have experienced mixed results. Are the grassroots efforts to make technology more accessible focused
> more on facilitating relations between the corporations and the communities, or initiating new infrastructure from the ground up, or some combination? I also understand that your project utilizes mesh networking as opposed to more traditional wireless models. Is this a more effective approach for dense urban areas?
> It would be great to speak with you or one of your colleagues in the coming days about your work and vision. I'm interested in taking a media democracy slant with this potential story so I'd like to get the perspective of a non-profit group. I can be reached by email or phone at 917-647-3685.
> Thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
> Michelle Chen
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Sascha Meinrath
President                 *   Project Coordinator   *   Policy Analyst
Acorn Worker Collective  ***  CU Wireless Network  ***  Free Press
www.acorncollective.com   *   www.cuwireless.net    *   www.freepress.net

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