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partnerships:articles:win [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +# The Universal Service "​Win-Win"​ Solution
 +
 +\
 +
 +### A Time for Grand Collaborations!
 +
 +\
 +
 +by Frank Odasz\
 + ​franko@bigsky.dillon.mt.us\
 + ​http://​macsky.bigsky.dillon.mt.us/​\
 +
 +As multiple major governmental and corporate telecommunications
 +infrastructure initiatives move forward there is increasing tension
 +among those who fear the hundreds of locally created community networks
 +will be preempted by the financial muscle of monopolistic interests.\
 +\
 + The reality of the situation is that creating autonomously controlled
 +local networks demonstrating the authenticity of widespread purposeful
 +citizen participation can only be achieved through a "​Win-Win"​ ongoing
 +partnership between the builders and the users of our emerging National
 +Information Infrastructure.\
 +\
 + The former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment clearly
 +states: "The diversity of applications necessary for a successful NII
 +can only come from the citizens themselves."​\
 +\
 + ​Government and corporations can provide the physical infrastructure of
 +wiring and banks of modems as well as financing for community training
 +and technical support centers.\
 +\
 + The social info-structure,​ however, the very heart of any community
 +network, requires genuine citizen participation at many levels. Top-down
 +monopolistic networks without the validation that comes from measurable,
 +purposeful bottom-up participation will become embarrassing 'white
 +elephant'​ projects.\
 +\
 + It is a major cultural shift for citizens to adopt any new
 +communications behavior. Change doesn'​t come easily. Bringing our
 +existing social structures into the online environment will open many
 +new possibilities for more effective communications,​ but it will take
 +time for us to become comfortable with both the technology, and
 +conceptualizing these new communications benefits.\
 +\
 + The common challenge we're all involved with, from the highest top-down
 +corporate executive, to the lowest blue collar worker, is defining the
 +ongoing process by which we can all find a way to keep up with the best
 +"​affordable and appropriate"​ communications survival tools.\
 +\
 + What we're all needing is definition of the process by which we
 +individually get the help we need to continuously learn, experiment
 +with, and evaluate the increasing variety of new communications options.
 +
 +-   ​Expectations increase with experience.
 +
 +You can't effectively tell someone about the advantages of email. They
 +have to experience these advantages firsthand to understand. And the
 +same is true for each successive level of empowerment:​
 +
 +-   ​Online searching for Information
 +-   ​Self-directed lifelong learning via Internet
 +-   ​Online group discussions for public problem solving
 +-   ​Self-publishing on the World Wide Web
 +-   ​Entrepreneurship via Internet global marketing
 +-   ​Electronic Democracy; participation in Government
 +-   ​Transnational activism; supporting global causes regardless of
 +    nation'​s boundaries
 +
 +Grand collaborations
 +--------------------
 +
 +The emerging state of Internet and personal computer technology have the
 +world poised for the emergence of not only widespread community
 +networking, but also for transnational "Grand Collaborations."​ If AT&T
 +were to join its infrastructure with the International mission of the US
 +Agency for International Development,​ matched by a training program and
 +research development initiative funded by the Kellogg Foundation,
 +worldwide citizen interest would be instantaneous.\
 +\
 + The WWW makes it inevitable that simple entry level self-directed
 +learning programs will allow quasi-literate persons in any culture to
 +simply point and click their way through short learning experiences that
 +will produce near-immediate tangible benefits regarding
 +self-empowerment,​ familial protection, and community/​cultural support
 +such that individuals can quickly learn how to become self-directed
 +lifelong learners. Basic literacy can be taught through web-based
 +instruction on CDROM, preparing learners for Internet navigation.
 +
 +Universal service Infrastructure \*Plus\* Infostructure?​
 +--------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +\
 + ​Following on the theme of universal phone service, much deliberation is
 +taking place as to what degree of Internet access constitutes
 +"​affordable and appropriate"​ universal service.
 +
 +-   The medium with the highest potential social benefit is also the
 +    most affordable and accessible.
 +
 +Ironically, the most powerful of all online capabilities is very nearly
 +the cheapest; Internet email. Offline readers are software programs that
 +allow anyone, anywhere with a computer and modem the ability to send or
 +receive messages, written offline or for reading offline, at a cost of
 +under one cent per page.\
 +\
 + This has yet to be recognized as the most powerful ubiquitous
 +communications capability in human history. Functional with web-pages as
 +well, the latest offline readers stay connected only long enough to send
 +and receive essential information,​ allowing the time consuming, and
 +potentially costly, reading and writing to take place economically
 +offline.
 +
 +Value vs volume
 +---------------
 +
 +The value of information most needed by citizens is generally not
 +related to the need for the highest bandwidth. "Human bandwidth"​ is what
 +is most needed and is not limited to large volumes of data. "Human
 +bandwidth"​ is the value of the relationship between learner and mentor.
 +The information most people desperately need is generally not volumous,
 +but context sensitive; requiring human assistance to determine what
 +specific information is needed by an individual at a given time.
 +
 +A logical place to begin
 +------------------------
 +
 +Organization of communications is the key, giving citizens the feeling
 +they have a voice in an understandable and motivating context with as
 +little '​training overhead'​ as possible. Offline reader disks can be sent
 +in the mail with 'plug and play' instructions,​ even for very narrow,
 +specific applications.\
 +\
 + As flat rate Internet becomes locally available in more and more
 +communities,​ and as the bandwidth increases due to better hardware and
 +software, cabling and wireless, the multimedia capabilities become
 +potentially more ubiquitous.\
 +\
 + ​Thematic programs might engage citizens in responding via automated
 +email upon receiving a disk in the mail, urged to participate by an
 +email message from the governor.\
 +\
 + ​Another program might involve indigenous youth in environmental
 +protection programs based on connecting remote sensing devices via
 +Internet, or performing monitoring projects worldwide.\
 +\
 + ​Another might unite mothers worldwide around issues of childcare, or
 +link women around women'​s rights.\
 +\
 + ​Another might unite small business persons globally in creating a small
 +business international trade matching system, which are already emerging
 +in many forms. Similarly, gathering for coordinated dissemination what
 +various countries and communities are doing "​that'​s working"​ with
 +telecottages,​ televillages,​ teleservice centers, and telework centers,
 +would be of great interest to many.\
 +\
 + ​Rallying citizens globally around specific causes, with specific
 +training and action goals is becoming far more feasible than ever
 +before.\
 +\
 + The importance of the social info-structure,​ locally as well as
 +globally, is that it is fundamentally relationship-based,​ and is
 +inherently a mentoring and encouragement process based on personal trust
 +in another.\
 +\
 + A great deal of optimization of current low-bandwidth technologies has
 +yet to take place, particularly in support of the great deal of
 +conceptual preparation for emerging high bandwidth capabilities
 +necessary to prepare people to optimize them once they inevitably become
 +available. It can take years to conceptually and culturally adjust to
 +full potential of email, alone.\
 +\
 + Our current culture, despite the best public education system in the
 +world, is basically a preliterate passive video culture yet to recognize
 +its proactive literacy potential made possible by the sheer power of
 +exchanging ideas via writing. Most of us read very little and write much
 +less, if at all.\
 +\
 + Words are block sculptures of reality and writing is fundamentally a
 +thinking process. We retain twice as much of what we read compared to
 +what we hear or see. The words of great men and women have endured
 +throughout history. Reading a great book can make images and people live
 +within us in a way more uniquely personal than movies or television,
 +though many of us have never fully experienced this.\
 +\
 + We can today automatically search volumes of text for specific phrases,
 +in seconds. The written word has many powerful advantages over video
 +information which are today not well recognized due to our cultural bias
 +toward video and our low literacy levels. Video has many powerful uses,
 +but video communications is not likely to prove more powerful than the
 +written word for a great many purposes.
 +
 +Citizens minigrants, recognition and showcases
 +----------------------------------------------
 +
 +Citizen minigrants programs are needed to reward with recognition those
 +who have used online communications to provide community service;
 +demonstrating how to extend one's limited energies. We need showcases
 +and storytelling on how citizens have been able to find small business
 +contacts via networking and how "real benefits for real people"​ have
 +been realized!\
 +\
 + Many third world cultures will be leapfrogging over the industrial age
 +directly from the agricultural age to the information age. Cultural
 +protection, and entrepreneurship via sharing cultural accomplishments
 +are key issues. Cultural transition in the face of contact with ideas
 +from 'the outside,'​ pose dramatic risks as well as opportunities.\
 +\
 + ​Ongoing training programs are needed, to teach all citizens how to
 +become self-directed learners, but more importantly to be able to teach
 +others what they'​ve been able to learn. This is what community-building
 +at all levels is fundamentally about.
 +
 +Testimony by Frank Odasz to the Federal Communications Commission
 +-----------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +I'd like to commend the Info-ren folks on their quality organization and
 +moderation of this discussion. This is the best- run electronic public
 +input initiative I've seen.\
 +\
 + In about 1867 when the first transatlantic telegraph was installed
 +wonderfully flowery visions of our global human family being joined
 +together were ushered from many a pulpit. Most of these visions have yet
 +to be realized, even with today'​s technologies. The point is there'​s a
 +big difference between espousing theoretical benefits and demonstrated
 +practice/​realization of specific benefits.\
 +\
 + ​Beyond basic physical connectivity,​ universal service needs to focus on
 +the social infostructure by which people become aware of the validated,
 +not assumed, benefits of connectivity at all levels.\
 +\
 + ​Effective citizen engagement in lifelong learning and purposeful public
 +problem solving, that improves lives, is a key issue. We need ongoing
 +evaluative metrics to measure what's really happening after connectivity
 +is made available. Caring and connectivity are two related types of
 +bandwidth which must interact with common sense.\
 +\
 + The following quote, from another listserv, points to the need for
 +attending to the specifics of each community. IF each community and
 +school'​s public enjoyed widespread understanding of what's at stake, and
 +what real benefits are possible, I suspect MOST would quickly find local
 +funding to get the job done.\
 +\
 + QUOTE from an Australian:​\
 + Why can't governments decide on a "​minimum level of services"​ that must
 +be available in every rural community and then stick to it?\
 +\
 + The question was asked in the context of ongoing withdrawal of services
 +both government e.g. health and private enterprise e.g. banks) in rural
 +areas?\
 + My immediate reaction was that because of the diversity between
 +individual communities,​ prescribing a minimum level of services would be
 +impossible and largely inequitable. I believe the services available in
 +any given community should depend on the population demographics,​
 +history, local economic conditions and social characteristics pertaining
 +to that community.\
 +\
 + ​Moreover,​ any attempt to prescribe a minimum level without appropriate
 +consultation and input by local residents is grossly undemocratic and
 +doomed to failure.\
 + ​ENDQUOTE.\
 +\
 + NPTN filed with the FCC an interesting suggestion that funding go to
 +those communities who have organized their various constituent
 +institutions around a shared vision for shared connectivity. In their
 +view "​community networks"​ are the proper model; joining schools,
 +libraries, local government, local businesses, healthcare, etc. As a
 +k-100 lifelong learning society all institutions and aspects of
 +communities need to be part of this major societal change...plus the
 +fact that sustainability is most attainable through such
 +collaborations.\
 +\
 + Case study: In Dillon, Montana, while waiting for our big telco to get
 +around to offering flat rate Internet locally, the local Photomat owner
 +closed the Photomat and opened Blue Moon Technologies to offer unlimited
 +local Internet for \$20/month. If he can do it, why can't most
 +communities?​ Our town of 4,000 now has three local Internet providers.\
 +\
 + NOTE: Ken Phillips of www.open.org in Eugene, Oregon has a sustainable
 +model of a community network offering unlimited local access for
 +\$5/month.\
 +\
 + What Dillon still lacks in our schools, libraries, businesses and local
 +government, is a vision for what the Internet can mean, and any
 +collaboration to acquire and disseminate Internet expertise and
 +benefits.\
 +\
 + We have a majority who don't know what's already available, and who
 +won't attend free demonstrations of Internet benefits. Our majority of
 +citizens are "​Will-nots"​ who frankly don't care about any of it.
 +(Another govt/telco scam at milking profits from gullible citizens.)
 +They literally don't yet see how it can impact their lives in a positive
 +way.\
 +\
 + Most of the telcos (and Congresspersons,​) discovered Internet within
 +the last two years, yet don't allude to the need for discovery by us all
 +as to the validated benefits and emerging social dynamics of online
 +citizen engagement.\
 +\
 + We need a national teleliteracy awareness campaign focused on measuring
 +'real benefits for real people,'​ not more hypeway glitz.\
 +\
 + ​Footnote:​ Many telcos and online businesses consider themselves in
 +direct competition with community networks generated from the bottom-up
 +and plan to replace them with their top-down monopolistic enterprises.
 +Will this trend bring us a society of solo browsers, or a citizenry
 +engaged in purposeful public problem solving and an electronic
 +democracy? The citizens themselves will ultimately decide based on their
 +level of participation.
  
partnerships/articles/win.txt ยท Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)