// Sascha Meinrath (USA)

Photo By Faith Swords
Sascha Meinrath

THU.25.10.2007 @ DOM IM BERG

Lecture: Open Tech & the Rise of the Intranet Era: Policy, Reality, & Democracy

We are living through a critical juncture in telecommunications history -- an era  where fundamental changes in how we communicate are radically transforming civil society and democratic deliberation.  We have the means and ability to build a global public sphere where anyone, anywhere can take part in shaping the society in which we want to live.  Yet only 1 billion people have ever been online and only 2 billion have ever accessed a cell phone.  The reality is that our policies and economic models disenfranchise the vast majority of all people on earth.  Broadcast and spectrum regulations are often decades out of date with current technologies and decision-makers are woefully ignorant of the capabilities (or even existence) of better alternatives.  Corporations utilize proprietary technologies to capture markets and lock consumers into expensive path dependencies.  Telecommunications companies build centralized network architectures for command and control -- and which function to create artificial scarcities and exorbitant prices.  Within this volatile context, progressive thought leaders are pushing for reforms that would radically alter the future of communications, the role of media activists and end-to-end broadband users, and participatory democracy worldwide.  This talk will provide a glimpse into one of the least understood facets of the global movement for economic and social justice -- the battles taking shape at the intersection of power-politics and technological revolution.

Sascha Meinrath has been described as a "community Internet pioneer" and an "entrepreneurial visionary" and is a well-known expert on community wireless networks (CWNs) and municipal broadband.

Leading news sources, including the Economist, the New York Times, the Nation, and National Public Radio, often cite Sascha's work in covering issues related to CWNs. Sascha is the Research Director for the New America Foundation's Wireless Future Program.

Additionally, he coordinates the Open Source Wireless Coalition, a global partnership of open source wireless integrators, researchers, implementors and companies dedicated to the development of open source, interoperable, low-cost wireless technologies.

He is a regular contributor to MuniWireless.com, the leading source for municipal wireless news and information, and a regular contributor to Government Technology's Digital Communities, the online portal and comprehensive information resource for the public sector.

Sascha has also worked with Free Press, the the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), the Acorn Active Media Foundation, the Ethos Group, and the CUWiN Foundation.

Sascha holds a Bachelor's Degree from Yale University and a Master's Degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, both in psychology. He is a Telecommunications Fellow at the University of Illinois in the Institute for Communications Research, where he is finishing his PhD on community empowerment and the impacts and interactions of participatory media, wireless communications, and emergent technologies.