Community networks: lessons from Blacksburg, Virginia by Andrew Michael Cohill, Andrea L. Kavanaugh

By Andrew Michael Cohill, Andrea L. Kavanaugh

Provided during this paintings is the five-year evolution of the Blacksburg digital Village - the enterprise that associated the electorate of Blacksburg, Virginia, to one another and to the remainder of the realm, fullyyt during the web. It addresses the social, monetary, technical and academic impression of dwelling in a "connected town", in keeping with community-wide surveys, concentration teams and data-logging efforts. It additionally describes the fundamental parts of a neighborhood community, and provides beneficial suggestion on designing and constructing an digital neighborhood.

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Extra resources for Community networks: lessons from Blacksburg, Virginia

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In the past, individuals with a message had to rely on others to broadcast that message, using books, newspapers, radio, or television. The cost was high because all the old media Page 5 required substantial capital investment in equipment to begin disseminating information. Costs remained high even after the equipment was amortized because of limitations of the media (only so much information will fit in a daily paper or on a 30-minute news broadcast). The Internet has the potential to grow in capacity nearly without limit, and the cost of distributing information is so low (a computer and network access) that many millions of people are already deeply involved in writing, talking, publishing, and exchanging ideas on the network.

How do we protect intellectual property on our networks? How do we ensure the integrity of financial transactions? How do we safeguard our national security interests? And how do we keep the pedophiles and pornographers at bay? " These questions are not simple and will require clear thinking and consensus in our electronic villages. In the world of bits, rather than atoms, intelligence and innovation will be distributed out to the nodesevery reader will also be a publisher; every listener, a composer; every viewer, a movie producer.

In Blacksburg, with more than 85% of the community online in 1999, the goal of getting people connected has been accomplished. However, much work still remains. We are just now beginning to see the real value of a connected community; civic groups, with the entire membership online, are abandoning paper newsletters (often their single biggest cost) and are now providing more timely information via mailing lists and Web sites. At the same time, these groups are seeing their membership rise, and attendance at meetings has improved.

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