A community-centered net ethic [cr-951225]


Richard Moore

Hope you have a great Christmas.


Date:         Tue, 5 Dec 1995
Sender: Allan Bradley <•••@••.•••>
Subject:      The Box Matrix - Revisited
To: Multiple recipients of list CYBER-SOC

In my opinion, the current assessment in the House and Senate as well as
the discussions on telecommunications deregulation lacks a critical
reference.  It is the reference of information distribution as power - a
defined finite set of individual rights that applies to the elemental
workings of our society that defines the communications age.  It goes to
the heart of what defines a democracy (if it would still exist) and the
equal and fair distribution of "information power" as being
un-concentrated.  We stumble to assess what the world will be like in this
new medium.  Who controls it? Who defines it? What jobs will be lost? We
all see it unfolding right before our eyes.  We all know that it is the
mega-frontier in profit generation.  We all know it will be pipes of our
social and economic destiny defining us as a nation and as a world society.
It is the new world in which the computer monitor will be our eyes and the
modem will be our ears through which we will have no choice but to define
ourselves as individuals, or possibly,  for a few others to define our

Through all of this we are like children with magnifying glass attempting
to view the mechanics of cell division.  It is happening, but do we really
understand the fundamental elements on the subject of which we are
attempting to observe?

As a society the brief history of our telecommunications infrastructure
reference in supporting communities, in helping underprivileged, in
educating the poor is less than zero.  A city(that will be unnamed) five
years ago was spending over hundred million dollars annually on
telecommunications equipment and services  in supporting fundamental public
services (Fire, Police, Health, etc.).  The city planners were offered a
deal by an independent telecommunications company.  In that deal the trade
was free equipment and services maybe totalling 10 million and in return
the city would allow their distribution rights to be used by that
independent telecommunications company.  Distribution rights today that are
worth many hundreds of millions of dollars.  Rights that could have
provided inexpensive information access to areas of the city where crime is
rampant, where hopelessness is the standard and fragile economies are
struggling to be apart of the "American Dream".  It was a deal that was
great then, but is a loss to everyone today.

What's lacking is the acknowledgement that the airwaves, physical
telecommunications structures and radio spectrums have to be rooted in the
fundamental public interest given the *total* communities responsible
charter ownership.  It exists to primarily to serve the public not a
private company's bottom line, because these are the new roads to
information as power.  If the people in a democratic society loses this
power, they cease to become a democracy.  This above all is what is at
stake.  Decisions to these infrastructures must be a public community
determination and not a backroom interest deal.

The problem is one of definition in establishing objective public
communications references given a multi-facited de-regulated
telecommunications market.  In my opinion a community infrastructure model
reference must be deployed in which objective long-term attributes in three
(3) fundamental areas must be identified:

1. Community Technology Values.

This constantly changes, but what are the local communities technology
values today, in three years and the next decade.  Are these goals
published? Do the people these technologies will affect know what is at
stake.  It isn't a question of technology or not.  It is a question of
technology when and how?

2. Community Bandwidth

What size pipes are required to service the technology goals set.  What
models are in place to shop for the best deal in getting more bandwidth for
less money. Moreover, having the understanding that community Bandwidth
distribution is an asset not a liability - defining a working community
infrastructure distribution model establishes distribution market values -
(The new real estate market).

3. Community Distribution Values

How do people gain access equally.  If I am a new start-up business in the
community with limited funds, how do I get on the information network on an
equal level with multi-million dollar companies so I have a chance to
compete?  The community has the responsibility in a deregulated market to
allocate fair technology, bandwidth and distribution.  The community is the
public interest agency and is the only way to support and create "new"
growth for the community.  This is the charter responsibility of state,
local and city government, etc.  references and not the private
telecommunications companies or "spin-offs" in a de-regulated market.

As the Principal of a consulting firm dedicated to establishing objective
communications models and tool-sets, it is our perspective that if society
cannot set proper references or define accurate models that are meaningful
to the community at large, then private companies will at their interest.
Whoever sets the reference, establishes the profit and controls the growth.
It is a new world where the axiom of what you don't know can hurt, was
never so true.

Communications deregulation is inevitable, we cannot go back to a
government monopolized structure.  But communications de-regulation is
irresponsible without precise tools and models for society to define it's
own reference interests in the coming communications age.

Allan Bradley

ConsulMetrix, Inc.
Setting the Standards in Technology Consulting


 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland
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