Bowen to discuss broadband and ‘green jobs’ April 20

A little-known chapter of the National Broadband Plan entitled
“Energy and the Environment” opens the door to a future of
unprecedented grassroots innovation around “green energy” and “green

But in the year since the NBP's publication, industry lobbyists in
Washington have quietly begun closing that door, with the
environmental community none the wiser.

On April 20 at Asheville Green Drinks, Wally Bowen of the Mountain
Area Information Network (MAIN) will discuss how the environmental
community can help preserve the freedom of “green” activists and
entrepreneurs to innovate and organize at the grassroots.

The free River District event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the 7 Star
Factory, 191 Lyman Street, near the old candle factory and city

“Smart-grid technologies are already being deployed,” said Bowen,
“but no one is asking whether or not the smart-grid will only serve
the interests of Wall Street or be open for business on Main

Just returned from an April 9 talk at the National Conference on
Media Reform in Boston, Bowen will discuss the critical role that
broadband policy plays in empowering, or limiting, grassroots
planning and innovation for sustainable communities.

The long-time community activist founded MAIN in 1995, and it
remains one of the nation's longest-surviving nonprofit ISPs. Bowen
also led the local effort to secure public, education, and
government access (PEG) channels in the city and county cable
franchise negotiations between 1996 and 2000. He then lead a
statewide effort to preserve PEG funding when the state legislature
removed local government authority over video franchises in 2006.

Bowen is also a long-time advocate for liberating the public
airwaves from decades of corporate control, and he was instrumental
in passage of federal laws to license low-power FM radio to
community-based nonprofits. MAIN was awarded an LPFM license in 2002
and launched MAIN-FM 103.5 the next year.

He also led a successful nationwide effort in 2008 to rally rural
citizens and organizations to pressure the FCC to open up vacant TV
channels – the so-called “white spaces” – for faster broadband
services, or “wi-fi on steroids.” MAIN launched its wireless
broadband service in 2003 and remains the only nonprofit wireless
ISP in the Asheville area.

For more information contact Joseph B. Malki at 828.216.5769. END


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