I've written many times on the Whiteness Of Wi-Fi, and how we as a people need to use technology to our own benefit--not corporate Americas. Now Black business in the city of Inglewood CA have moved forward to create their own Dot.com stimulus plan. Manchester:One (www.m1net.mctorg.com ), a small business collaborative project of the non-profit Manchester Community Technologies (MCT), has install a FREE public Wi-Fi network along the Manchester Blvd business corridor.
"Although Manchester:One is focused on increasing business in one of the major thoroughfares and business districts in Inglewood, this is more than just offering free Internet access.", said Eric Sloan, MCT's Chief Technology Officer and Manchester:One Wi-Fi project manager. "It's all about using this technology to unite community and commerce to attract new businesses, talented people, and provide a valuable tool to support communication for the citizens of this community." Mr. Sloan added, "This is how real economic development and growth is created and sustained; by a strong collaboration between technology, business, community, and city leaders to find the best use for this technology." MCT is working with businesses and city leaders to forge alliances"according to Sloan, the response has been tremendous.
If you've read my article on Municipal Wi-Fi and You (www.blackwebportal.com/wire/DA.cfm?ArticleID=3331), you know many urban cities (think Black) across this country have tried, and failed to create free municipal Wi-Fi networks. MCT hit the same bureaucratic wall, in their five year effort to bring the magic of Wi-Fi to their community. Can anyone explain to me, why in backwoods Hermiston Oregon, they can have free Wi-Fi Internet access for a 600 square mile area, and it takes an urban center like Philadelphia three years of legal battles to offer Wi-Fi to a 135-square-mile at $18 a month (and they still don't have it up yet). I'll tell you why...Corporate America!
Corporate America thinks; if it don't make money, it don't make sense. Forget about the millions, tax payers will save in municipal services, forget about the educational benefits to children and adults; forget about the new jobs that Municipal Wi-Fi will create in the Black community; forget about America being able to compete in a highly connected world. According to Republicans: "The economics are quite clear that the more efficient way is private ownership rather than public ownership." Meaning, government should protect the corporate monopolies of cable and phone companies. Well it's time for a change...and the engine of change has always been small business.
Through the leadership of tech visionary Eric Sloan and the small business collaborative of MCT--Change has come to Inglewood. The Manchester:One concept involves plugging into a business' existing broadband connection and through a mesh network configuration, share and extend the Manchester:One network. Starting at the intersection of Manchester and Crenshaw, MCT plans to grow the Manchester:One network one business at a time, down the five mile Manchester Blvd business corridor to the heart of Inglewood at La Brea and Manchester. MCT will supply the network management.
Participating business will benefit in many ways; Free Wi-Fi connectivity to your patrons, clients and customers; Free Business Listing & Profile; Increased Business (prospects seeking Free Day Passes for Internet access); Web Page advertising your products and/or services; Banner Ads promoting your business throughout the Manchester:One Portal; Radio Commercials on Manchester:One Radio; Video Conferencing & Streaming(Optional)"Just to name the obvious. MCT will be reaching out to the Inglewood business community to join in on this technological collaboration. Together, as one community MCT, is looking to bring the power of technology to small business.
For more information on how to participate in the Manchester:One, or get help building your own Community Wi-Fi Network Project, call (424) 294-0424.