MuniWireless conference, Minneapolis, MN: Session with Sascha and Becca

Notes from the conference. Unedited! Typing as fast as I can.

Collaboration and Partnering Models

Sascha Meinrath

Not just public/private.


Looking at community systems.

Brett Hollingwood

Intel, consults with community.

Digital divide, reducing the span of an expanding chasm. It can only get worst.

Features of a good digital divide program

  • broadband-like speeds, very important, faster speed is better
  • low-cost subsidized hardware, how do you make that happen
  • basic computer training, people have different learning levels
  • user support, in-the-home
  • self-supporting relationship with digital divide, you can’t just throw 10,000 computers at the city and then move along, you need sustainability
  • providing tech training and job training, train people in the community, community benefits from the model as a whole.


Government might be scared and make it difficult to work with them
Finding a nonprofit.
Creating vision in a community
get everyone on the same page
Different groups might have different visions

Diverse groups within a city

  • government involvement, local government must get involved, you need assets that gov has to offer, hardest people to get onboard, focus on groups involved with economic dev, best people to start with, they want to make change and attract businesses and educate their citizens
  • Public safety, different than local gov, they can have different goals, keep them as separate stakeholder
  • Nonprofits
  • The Press – you need them onboard. Work diligently with the press. Educate the press.

from the audience, building infrastructure for things like voip and tv

from the audience, lots of different business models, Boston has a bunch of different things going, get outside the public/private model, there are lots of others.

Marlina Gonzalez, Intermedia Arts, most important starting point, keep you ear to the ground to see what people need, immigrant communities know a lot about digi photography, skype, find out what applications are critical to the local community.

from the audience, let needs find the system

from the audience, importance of models is getting it off the ground.

Larry Hickson, put together group of about 40 experts in the community (somewhere), started 2.5 years ago, but hasn’t got very far, because of all the roadblocs, how do we get started and who do we start with first

from the audience, get out there in any way you can, even flirt with illegal stuff

project work, intermedia arts, working with IBM, got desktops with open source, basic curriculum to teach, enables us to get going to make the connections with the community.

meshtec, texas, small resort community, free access across the resort area at no charge, city is paying for the network

Sascha – cuwin was a bunch of geeks in my living room but now City of Urbana has picked up the initiative.

Collaborations among different communities, guy in audience, county, cities, Peoria IL, 600 sq mile total.

Brett – stress governance and how you build it into the environment, you don’t want gambling and porno advertising, block content that’s not appropriate, understand community views, you have to walk a fine line and not have ACLU coming at you

Sascha – in Finland, government support is just assumed and Finland is kicking our ass in terms of broadband deployment.

from the audience, boston guy, we need universal service, incumbents are not wanting to do this.

from the audience, texas, can’t find providers for small communities with low median income, gov must get involved with money.

from the audience, cities will put up millions for stadiums but nothing for broadband Internet

former mayor of St. Cloud FL, now works for MRI, seen it from both sides, St. Cloud paid for the network, it’s free, city paid for the development, cities also don’t want to fight the telcos,



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