current_CTC_resources

In November 2010, the following update was written:

16. Current resources: from telecentre.org to DexCon 2010

While a good number of programs presented above are no longer in operation and the heyday of explosive growth and development for CTCs has passed, at least in the U.S., there continue to be new developments and programs for what still remain as basic institutions to be supported wherever there is an interest and concern with equity, access, and technology resources for those least likely to get them.

On the international scene, telecentre.org, founded in 2005 and noted as the home for Meddie Mayanja, whose research on Social Enterprise approaches involving telecentres provides the seventh case study, works with more than 200 networks in 70 countries. Though little known in the U.S. — they have an unlinked partnership with TechSoup as the only US member — with sponsorship from three social investors: Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) — and Microsoft — the organization is the UN’s Global Alliance for ICT & Development flagship partnership initiative and one of three Global Knowledge Partnership programs.

In the U.S., though it does not appear to be a continuing effort, news about the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and the public computer centers supported by the stimulus funding is available at www.broadbandusa.gov — at the BTOP portal and through the searchable applications database —the centers supported here are the most recent ones to receive support on a federal program basis.

Friends of CTCNet on googlegroups — groups.google.com/group/ctcnet-listserv —continues to be a place where many people who care about CTCs post their queries and news about resources and programs related to them.

The Community Technology Network has been busy for some time developing and bringing together CTC resources at ctnbayarea.org/resources.  The continuing development of community cable media centers bears following with the Alliance for Community Media; the recent special issue of the Community Media Review edited by Chuck Sherwood highlights important developments in the Bronx, rural California, and elsewhere.[1]

e-Democracy.org has taken over two related and relevant discussions lists recently — locals online, as the last chapter will conclude, has taken over much of the vitality and focus that once belonged to the Association for Community Networking, though the absence of concern and activity involving CTCs is one indication of its limitations.  To the degree that those concerned with CTC development had a substantial overlap with those involved with the Digital Divide Network (with a link thanks to the Wayback Machine at www.archive.org), e-Democracy has assumed responsibility for continuing that effort, too, with the digital inclusion network.

Concurrent with finishing this work, the Chicago Community Digital Excellence Conference, DexCon2010, was held on October 29, promoted in its outreach as “The CTCNet Conference Updated For A New Era”:

  • For more than fifteen years, hundreds of tech activists and tech visionaries gathered each year for the annual CTCNet Conference. The conference was the signature event of Community Technology Centers Network, a federation of more than 1,200 CTCs at its peak, dedicated to the spread of neighborhood technology and digital access for all…
  • The issues which sparked the creation of CTCNet still resonate today. There is still a divide in terms of access, knowledge and training that separates the creative knowledge workers from the disconnected and underserved. There are still too few computers in schools, too few teachers versed in how to teach students using digital tools, too many areas disconnected from high speed broadband…
  • At our conference you will hear about those issues but our focus is to look toward a future of open stewardship and collaborative interoperability driven by the benchmark standard of digital excellence…

On October 30, following upon DexCon2010, its organizers held “a working session to establish an organization and network in service to the field encompassing Community Technology, Community Media and Community Networking.”  Emphasizing that “this is not a relaunch,” the Rebuild and Reboot Movement and Network is doing post-meeting planning and organizing on bettermeans.com.  DexCon2010 follow-up can be found on the Digital Excellence site at www.digitalexcellence.net as well as with the continuing work of the Chicago Digital Access Alliance. The follow-up with both gatherings will undoubtedly be part of any CTC resource update in the near future.

Benton Foundation (www.benton.org) Communications-related Headlines provide updates on important informing developments, policy issues, and other related news.


[1] The Alliance and the Community Media Review archives unfortunately make it a point not to put its most recent content online until one year after publication — readers here can find the summer 2010 issue on this work’s resource site. [ed. note October 2011: These links no longer work; the summer 2010 CMR issue is available in the resource storage box.  Also, for a somewhat more recent update on CTCs and Telecentres, see the query and responses about them in the September 2011 postings of the CTCNet google group.]

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