Take Hunts Point in the South Bronx, where a local community development corporation called THE POINT recruited young people to build their own free wireless Wi-Fi network to connect learners and residents. Hunts Point Free WiFi is managed by people who live here and supported by local businesses. To a community built on a vulnerable peninsula hit hard by COVID-19, connectivity is more than just hooking up to the internet. It’s about building self-reliance, generating wealth and sustaining a platform to build a community-driven vision of the future.Byrum, Greta. “To build lasting digital equity, look to communities,” The Hill. 29 March 2021.
Ownership models for ISPs serving poor or rural areas vary from utility cooperatives to municipal and tribal government-supported networks to community networks run by and for residents. Maybe part of imagining a different distribution of the means of computation requires a flipping of the script. Rather than assuming that the internet starts as massive nodes of platform data centers and internet exchanges, perhaps the last mile is actually the first step in working toward a different vision of who should own and govern the means of computation.Burrington, Ingrid. “The Infrastructural Power Beneath the Internet as We Know It,” The Reboot. 22 April 2021. https://thereboot.com/the-infrastructural-power-beneath-the-internet-as-we-know-it/