First Mile Broadband

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
Richard Lowenberg
Davis Community Network

The local sphere of telecommunications systems and services deployment ought to be considered as the "First Mile", not the "Last Mile".


Most telecommunications service providers currently refer to the home, office, neighborhoods and communities as the "Last Mile". They indicate that providing "Last Mile" enhanced connectivity, especially in rural areas, is not economically viable. They have their economic models backwards. The greatest source of value in most peoples lives is local, derived from self, family and community. In a globally networked and communicative society, local environments have the opportunity to generate new economic resources, value and benefits. The local realm must be considered the "First Mile".


The commonly applied term, "Last Mile" represents a supply-side driven concept. It is a top-down, national and corporate, technical and engineering perspective on telecommunications infrastructure deployment. It is based on legacy hierarchical thinking, intent and actions.
The "First Mile" is based on a demand-side driven understanding. It describes a local geographic orientation for telecommunications infrastructure and services deployment, with a democratic social and economic perspective, that focuses on the difference these systems and services will make in the quality of peoples’ lives. The "First Mile" is rooted in realizations about the newly emerging ‘hyper-archical’ nature of networked local-global relationships and actions; with the provocative intent that the Information Revolution must ultimately be a "people’s revolution".


(This pattern will cite recommendations made in the newly released National Research Council publication, Broadband: Bringing Home the Bits.)

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