There is a movement just starting up - it is not very well developed yet - that has as its vision the establishment of an independent layer of connectivity between end users, by means of directly networking (mesh network) Wifi or similar wireless connections. The connectivity layer is owned by users, who form a cooperative which takes care of the technical details such as choice of equipment and installation, and which acts as a representative of its members towards internet access providers, negotiating one or more high bandwidth internet connections which are then made available to all the members of the cooperative network.
The idea here is that end users can, through their own network, connect with each other without having to go through the internet access provider. Local traffic does not have to exit the local network. In this way, we can communicate and exchange information directly with our neighbors in a networked environment, and we only have to access the rest of the internet if we wish to access information that is not locally available, or to communicate with people who are distant.
The members of cooperatives so organized have at their disposition unlimited local connectivity (to which they contribute by running their own router) and they have a high performance connection to the world through one or more high bandwidth connections that are paid by for by all. The price of connection will be lower than that of every separate end user having an adsl or similar connection and it will be better performing than an adsl line.
This would add a robust and sustainable local layer of connectivity and communication to the internet, and it would make the net much more resilient against centralized control and even against unforseen catastrophic events. Once a local network is functioning, data can be cached, making each neighborhood more independent and more resilient to outside interference.
Examples of this are the Italian Progetto Ragnatela and Mark Wallaces' "The Connective"
Progetto Ragnatela facebook page:
Progetto Ragnatela English description:
The Connective homepage:
This is just a sampling, and there may be numerous such initiatives. A few of them are linked in my description of Progetto Ragnatela.
This was written to explain how local connectivity could be a useful element in developing the concept of a desirable digital commons infrastructure as developed by the Free Culture Forum (http://fcforum.net/
) on their wiki here: