Vision

The Internet should be like the sidewalk connecting people, students, teachers, nonprofits and businesses without a toll booth controlled by private monopolies. Let’s network with each other to share our experiences and learn how to create our own infrastructures. Some people think they can expand Broadband Internet by giving people fish. Others offer to teach people how to fish. Let’s talk about how we can change the fishing industry!

Mission

We are improving Broadband Internet networks in Michigan by creating a network of people to share knowledge and resources from physical assets to personal connections. We are recruiting people into projects that turn knowledge into infrastructure.

Projects

Project 1: BASK Imagination Station

Broadband And Solar Kiosk (BASK)

We have begun to plan a completely wireless scale model of a house powered by solar electricity and an informational kiosk connected to Broadband Internet with a MINI MESH DEPLOYMENT PACKAGE. Our goal is to set this up in the area between Community High School and the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. We are approaching the Merit network to use a connection. People at the kiosk will also be able to use a touchscreen to access the Internet, in addition to audio for interacting with Google assistant.

Project 2: Form Collaboration Hubs

Identify influencers across different counties in Michigan and recruit them to start a hub in their community. Each hub should include a team of people with all the knowledge and abilities necessary for learning the skills to build a Community Owned Internet Network. An IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system has begun using Twilio to enable connections and a Help Desk. Our phone number is: DAO-COMMONS

Project 3: Partner with Broadband.Institute

The Broadband.Institute is being built with LearnDash as a platform cooperative to connect teachers and learners. It is being formed as a separate nonprofit.

Job Skill Certification: Certificates of learning will be provided for jobs such as network engineers, network operators, installers, support staff, marketing and member recruiting.

Ownership and Governance: Unlike peer to peer (P2P) platforms such as Uber or AirBnB, Broadband.Institute will be distinguished by its ownership model. Instead of a few people at the top of a hierarchy reaping profits at the expense of under- or uncompensated participants, the Institute is being built as a cooperative where both teachers and learners can acquire tokens that determine their level of ownership and decision making power.

Ongoing work and some history

We are in the process of forming a nonprofit that will become a member of the Internet Society. This website was launched on August 7, 2020. We have a number of other related websites where you can learn more about us, or even become a member of our social network.

Community Owned Internet Networks

Broadband.Institute

NeighborSquad Network

NeighborSquad Network (Kind of like Facebook without the disinformation ads)

NeighborSquad Intranet (Project management, to do lists, etc.)

NeighborSquad was begun in 2012 in Brooklyn, NY. The initial mission to help cord cutters included showing young people how to build HGTV antennas with recycled coat hangers and three dollars in electrical parts. Here is a video from 2013.

About me

Dr. Ron Suarez

When I lived in New York City I was a member of NYCmesh. I got to meet the founder of Althea in the NYCmesh Slack workspace and then he crashed at my apartment in Brooklyn during a visit to NYCmesh folks. Althea enables routers to pay each other for bandwidth, making it easy for communities to set up networks which are faster and cheaper than the existing ISP monopolies. NYCmesh is a volunteer organization that asks participants for donations between $20 and $60 per month.