Organization Introduction
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Organization Introduction
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An Introduction by the Executive Directors on the Role of Community Technology and Media Organizations in the Design and Implementation of Telecommunications Policy
Convergence & Collaboration at the Cusp of the New Millenium
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Holly Carter, CTCNet Amy Borgstrom, AFCN Bunnie Riedel, ACM

The Alliance for Community Media (ACM), the Association for Community Networking (AFCN), and the Community Technology Centers' Network (CTCNet) are the three national technology and media associations most rooted in real communities and their development. Our distinct organizations and individual constituents may focus on different technologies, but early on we all realized that technology is not our core value. Our core values are democracy, community, and equal rights for people, including equal access to electronic media.

We have more in common than not when it comes to our desire to shape national telecommunications policies which ensure that low-income, inner city, minority, and rural constituencies have not only a seat at the table, but a voice that counts. We also share a critical understanding of the profound impact of public policy and offer this publication as a stepping stone to joint action.

The astounding emergence of new technologies in recent years and the complex policy environment which has resulted represents both a threat to and an opportunity for our efforts to ensure that the benefits of the digital society are available to all. Policy can create opportunities — and policy can destroy opportunities.

The convergence of profit-driven technology and media corporations has resulted in amassed political and economic power which is threatening to squeeze out mission-driven organizations from providing critical communication tools, training, and access for poor and unskilled American residents. For example, policy can deny tax-exemption for Internet services and subvert local authority over telecommunication franchises.

Yet we represent centers and institutions dedicated with real resources and skills to help people defend their basic rights to economic opportunity, educational parity, health and safety, and democratic participation through technology and media. And this rapidly changing and complex environment represents an opportunity for us to collaborate in new ways, and has created new points of entry into policy processes for new kinds of constituencies. While corporate entitites seem to increasingly control the process, there is also increasing interest in supporting and promoting telecommunications in the public interest. Creative grant programs have been established in the Departments of Commerce and Education to support grassroots efforts. And the technology itself affords an unprecendented opportunity to level the playing field and allow previously unheard voices to be heard.

We applaud the efforts of Peter Miller, coordinator of the CTCNet public policy project and founding editor of the Community Technology Center Review, Richard Civille of the Center for Civic Networking and the AFCN Board, and Dirk Koning, Chair of the Community Media Review editorial board and long-time ACM activist, for suggesting this unique collaborative publication, and helping to focus our efforts where they most count. Our shared hope is that this publication becomes a springboard for collaborative action that makes a difference in our communities.

Holly Carter Amy Borgstrom Bunnie Riedel

Organizational Notes

On June 18th, Steve Snow  officially succeeded Amy Borgstrom as President of the ACM Board.

CTCNet has moved. As of June 1, central offices are at 230 3rd Ave., 4th fl., Waltham, MA 02451, 781/684-0830.

3rd Round CTCNet/ Forum grants for supporting rural communities involvement in telecom policies — see

For more information about the ACM 1999 International Conference and Trade Show held July 7-10 at the Omni Netherland Hotel in Cincinnati — see


In Memoriam:

Joy Artemis

Janel Radkte
1953 - 1999