This article originally appeared in the July/August issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
This monthly column has been focusing on the need for and challenges of creating and building fiber-based, open access systems for the development of high-speed broadband networks. As it has been shown, although many aspire and attempt, far fewer than what is truly required have had measurable success to date. It is not such an easy thing to do, and there are many obstacles on the path. But for those who have lost their way, or have not figured out why they need to start out in the first place, it helps to have a beacon, a source for inspiration and direction. The Intelligent Community Forum is just that.
The mission statement from the ICF website reads as follows:
“The Intelligent Community Forum is a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. Whether in industrialized or developing nations, communities are challenged to create prosperity, stability and cultural meaning in a world where jobs, investment and knowledge increasingly depend on advances in communications. For the 21st Century community, connectivity is a double-edge sword: threatening established ways of life on the one hand, and offering powerful new tools to build prosperous, inclusive and sustainable economies on the other. ICF seeks to share the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities in adapting to the demands of the Broadband Economy, in order to help communities everywhere find sustainable renewal and growth. We conduct research, create conference content, publish information and present annual awards, all in an effort to:
- identify and explain the emergence of the broadband economy and its impact at the local level
- research and share best practices by communities in adapting to the changing economic environment and positioning their citizens and businesses to prosper
- celebrate the achievements of communities that have overcome challenges to claim a place in the economy of the 21st century.”
There are several key takeaways here that apply to any and all communities globally, and these points have been covered throughout in this column. The greatest challenge is the threat to the establishment, but the greatest threat for the community is to not take action even if it means having to bring about difficult changes in its way of life. The greatest benefit to all of those communities facing these challenges is that they are not alone. Others have come before them and have overcome the challenges. The ICF proves that and takes it to another level, providing visibility and access to many of the success stories of community broadband networks from around the world. The ICF beacon provides guidance, and it also provides hope. There is a way. Find it, stick to it and get there.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi