I'm at the Muniwireless Conference in Santa Clara, CA, today. The conference is mostly for corporate vendors and consultants hoping to sell to municipalities. That means it's a good opportunity to peek behind the curtain at the processes that go into making these large scale networks that are reshaping our cities' communications landscapes. And in that sense, the conference accurately represents where community organizations are in the process (i.e., not behind the curtain).
We're going to change that. Sascha Meinrath and I, along with Dharma Dailey and the support of Becca Vargo Daggett, Richard MacKinnon, Ben Scott, Harold Feld, Esme Vos and many others, are launching a new organization, The Ethos Group.
Ethos is a wireless consulting firm emphasizing the social justice implications of wireless technology. We plan to work directly with community organizations to develop strategies to advocate for the local network that best serves their needs. Where possible, we will consult directly for municipalities to ensure that the community perspective is prioritized in the process rather than tacked on at the end.
Sascha, Dharma, and I have all been working on wireless issues within different organizations: I with Media Tank for the past year, Dharma and Sascha for much longer than that with Prometheus Radio Project and Free Press respectively. It's been hard to constantly argue for the importance of these issues, especially where it may seem outside of the core mission of the organization.
Our movement needs an organization that is solely focused on the world of wireless broadband. Our view is that any organization that cares about media and communication rights needs to factor in the impacts of the wireless future. Now they have a one-stop shop to guide them through that.