In 2002 Ian Thomson, a representative of the Ministry of Research Science and Technology (MoRST), attended the “Global Congress on Community Networking in the Digital Era” in Canada on behalf of the NZ Government.
The Conference identified the following critical principles for Community Networks:
- A stand-alone organisation (usually a Not For Profit) manages the asset, with key players and community representation at the board level.
- The community owns some infrastructure (Ducts/rights of way, cables, electronic equipment, co-location facilities etc).
- The Not For Profit organisation out sources the construction and operation of the network to private industry.
- The network is open to all on equal terms.
Many parallels were made to the provision of good roads. Everyone agrees that good roads are essential to promote economic and social development and although roads are publicly funded, they are built and maintained by private industry.
The Canadians believe that broadband access is just as important to communities in today’s Information Society as roads. They suggest the same governance model be used for broadband infrastructure and that it be open for all to use at minimal costs.
They argue that building new railway businesses (a vertically integrated business model like Telcos) is not appropriate for today’s rapidly changing needs.
Click here for a copy of the original 43-page MoRST report