International Summit of Community Wireless Networks

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"The first National Summit for Community Wireless Networks in 2004 was a seminal event that helped launch what we now call the Community Broadband Movement. A convening of over two hundred technology experts, policy analysts, university researchers, and on-the-ground specialists deploying state-of-the-art community broadband projects came together to discuss technology, policy and organizing issues as well as the practical solutions to problems facing community broadband. Participatory meetings and workshops helped the leaders of community broadband initiatives build a strategic plan for expanding the deployment of networks and lobbying the federal government to create policies that expand broadband access, open more unlicensed spectrum, and break the duopoly market power of cable and DSL that stifles economic growth and social opportunity through technology.

Since this first Summit, tens of thousands of community and municipal broadband initiatives have been deployed around the globe, but many communities are being left out of this communications revolution. "The global coalition of developers, communities, industry, and advocates working together over the past decade has created one of the most disruptive and far-reaching technological innovations of our generation, yet few know about it and fewer still have taken advantage of this opportunity," says Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Initiative and the Summit's founder. "The International Summit for Community Wireless Networks is the nexus around which this movement swaps notes, strategizes, and organizes its agenda for development and implementation of ubiquitous, affordable broadband networks." (