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People In Detroit Are Creating Their Own Internet

Since having access to the internet has become one of the basic utilities that are needed to have a normal life, right along the lines of clean water and housing, there have been many organizations that have tried to expand the high-speed internet access all over the United States. Meanwhile, the corporate giants are trying to navigate all of the technical challenges that come with a high-speed internet connection. Microsoft, for example, has a great and a very ambitious plan to increase the access that people have to the internet by using television bandwidth.

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However, there is a much more locally-minded effort to expand the access that people have to the internet in Detroit, Michigan, which is called the Equitable Internet Initiative (EII). This organization works with two pieces of infrastructure. The first one is a church, which also functions as a hub for the Wi-Fi as well as the internet service provider called Rocket Fiber, which offers a high-speed fiber internet. There are trained EII volunteers, that use wireless access points in order to beam the main connection from the church across the open air, and therefore provide internet to locations where getting a physical hookup is impossible.

This organization focuses on the people who live in a home which has low or no internet (specifically, 10 Mbps or less), seniors, children and anyone who is pursuing any educational opportunities. They are also focusing on spaces where they are able to get a high amount of people on the internet at the same time, which means that they are focusing on homes that house multiple families, as well as large public areas.

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Unfortunately, the organization has some financial concerns. They started out with a federal grant, but then when that money was spent, they made a deal with Rocket Fiber and made the organization and their attempts viable again. However, their partnership doesn’t cover the costs of the increasing internet connections as time passes. So one way that the group hopes to prove their worth to future investors is by creating apps. They’ve already created apps that teach people coding basics, such as HTML, CSS, Javascript as well as Node.js. Their current goal is to make people feel like they are a part of the organization so that the users will be compelled to want to take care of it.

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