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I-Nets in Other Cities.

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   Welcome to the Web site for the Pittsburgh I-Net.

A group of local community leaders is proposing that the City of Pittsburgh require TCI of Pennsylvania, Inc. to build an Institutional Network (I-Net) as a condition of renewing TCI's franchise agreement in Pittsburgh.  An I-Net is a telecommunications network, provided in conjunction with a cable company's cable television network, that can serve government buildings, schools, libraries and community groups -- both for their internal communications needs and for access to the Internet.

The group's general goal is to produce a fiber optic network that reaches all City neighborhoods -- for the use of institutions and community groups dispersed outside the central business district.  The I-Net can provide a less expensive, more flexible network for city buildings, schools, libraries and other institutions.  Community groups can gain access to a high-bandwidth system for Internet access and community development work.  The I-Net can, thus, promote equity and affordability in the availability of new technologies and services.

AT&T's recent acquisition of TCI adds another dimension to the franchise renewal.  If AT&T follows through with its announced plans, the new Pittsburgh franchise could serve as a showcase for the delivery of advanced telecommunications services.  The proposed Pittsburgh I-Net can ensure that advanced services are extended to institutional and community uses, helping to provide information equity for the City's residents.

The community leaders have been meeting since February to develop a proposal to present to the City's negotiators.   The meetings follow the approval of the concept by the City's Cable Communications Advisory Committee.

This Web site is part of the Network Democracy program of Information Renaissance, which has been participating in the community meetings.  The site has been created for the use of community groups in Pittsburgh and anyone interested in the public regulation of cable franchises.  The site contains background information to educate people about I-Nets.  It also provides a forum for people to ask questions, share information and make comments -- to the other participants and to City officials.

We invite you to participate in the site's interactive mechanisms and upcoming meetings to develop the I-Net proposal.

Quick Questions Ask questions of community leaders, technical experts and members of City Council. Learn what other people are saying. Respond to short surveys relating to community needs.
Fast Facts Find answers to common questions about I-Nets and the cable franchise renewal process. Examine survey results. Learn about new technologies and services that can be provided on a new cable system.
Debate & Discuss Join a discussion  on the cable franchise renewal. Express your views and see what other people have to say.
Briefing Book Read  about the efforts of the Working Group of community organizations in Pittsburgh.  Read background information on I-Nets and descriptions of what other communities are doing with their cable systems.   

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This page last updated on 26 June, 2000.