Secure, stable access to information via the internet is the fresh water equivalent of our time: broadband networks are the 21st century bridges between our communities and economic opportunity.
A reliable, affordable Internet connection has become an essential public good for communities fighting to keep pace with the ever-changing economic, social and environmental landscape; community owned broadband networks spur economic development, increase digital equity and income equality, advance research, encourage innovation and create new growth opportunities — all alongside generating local tax revenue and lowering the price of Internet access.
That’s why we’re launching the Neighborly Networks Accelerator designed to supercharge community broadband ambitions. As part of the program, communities will have access to industry experts, service providers, Neighborly financing at a competitive, below industry rate cost and the Neighborly Capital Network.
According to FCC estimates, approximately 19 million Americans — 6 percent of the population—still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. In rural areas, nearly one-fourth of the population —14.5 million people—lack access, and in tribal areas, nearly one-third of the population is being left behind.
In every single state, some portion of the population does not have access to broadband, and some residents have no Internet access at all. Even with significant federal and state subsidies in recent decades, incumbent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have failed to provide equitable and affordable broadband access.
“For too long, we’ve operated in this sub-optimal status quo; for too long, residents in communities across the country have been disconnected from access to information and cut-off from economic opportunity,” said Neighborly Founder and CEO, Jase Wilson. “We believe communities can and should own their own broadband networks and we want to bring together all the experts and services they need to make their broadband ambitions a reality.”
The Neighborly Networks Accelerator will guide communities through a beginning-to-end program. Admission to the program is free and will include:
- Tools to map, multiply & accelerate community engagement, including demand aggregation technology and marketing collateral to build a grassroots movement
- Education sessions with leading experts who will share best practices for generating local support, working with civic leaders, overcoming legislative barriers, and designing, building and maintaining a network
- Access to industry partners, including ISPs, network engineers, network builders, local utilities and advocacy groups at a local and national level
- Neighborly financing at a competitive, below industry rate cost, and access to the global Neighborly Capital Network
We believe communities across the country can and should build their own networks to secure universal access to information, build resilience and boost self reliance.