When it comes to the internet, our connections are generally controlled by telecom companies. But what happens when those companies don’t have service in the area where you live or when the services is poor because you in live in a poorer community. A group of people in Detroit is trying to change that. Motherboard met with the members of the Equitable Internet Initiative (EII), a group that is building their own wireless networks from the ground up in order to provide affordable and high-speed internet. EII is in collaboration with the Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP), Allied Media Projects (AMP), Grace in Action Collectives, WNUC Community Radio, and the Church of the Messiah’s Boulevard Harambe Program. The goals of their initiative are to:
- increase Internet access through the distribution of shared Gigabit Internet connections in three underserved neighborhoods;
- increase Internet adoption through a Digital Stewards training program that prepares residents of those same neighborhoods with the skills necessary to bring their communities online; and
- increase pathways for youth into the opportunities of Detroit’s burgeoning Innovation District through intermediate and advanced digital literacy trainings.
These initiatives and goals of the collaborative program will help to prevent the creation of a digital class system, and grow their communities capacity to respond to rapidly changing digital opportunities and threats in Detroit.