The Mountain Area Information Network is warning costumers and supporters that it will lose “a major part of its Asheville network on May 1″ if Asheville City Council doesn’t act at its April 24 meeting. However, the meeting agenda includes no mention of MAIN or related issues. Here’s the messages MAIN sent to its supporters:
Dear Friends of Progressive Media:
Many of you know that the non-profit Mountain Area Information Network has worked for many years to provide an alternative to AT&T and Charter for Internet access.
Today this mission is in jeopardy. If the Asheville City Council does not act on April 24, MAIN must vacate a City-owned cell tower and shut down a major part of its Asheville network on May 1.
Many of your friends and neighbors will lose Internet access. And MAIN’s ability to upgrade and expand our broadband service will be greatly limited, making Asheville even more dependent on AT&T and Charter.
We need your help.
Please review the notice to MAIN subscribers below and then call or e-mail the members of City Council.
Ask City Council to allow MAIN to continue providing nonprofit Internet access via the City owned tower.
For a More Democratic Media!
MAIN Staff and Board of Directors
Here’s the letter MAIN sent out to its service subscribers:
Dear MAIN Subscriber:
We are writing to inform you that your Internet service via MAIN may be terminated May 1, 2012. The reason is that your service from MAIN is delivered via a cell-tower owned by the City of Asheville, which could require MAIN to vacate the tower on May 1.
We apologize for the possible disruption of service, but we are hopeful that it can be prevented.
The decision to have MAIN vacate the tower was made at the staff-level. MAIN is currently requesting a policy directive by the Asheville City Council to prevent this action, and we need your help.
On March 21, the MAIN Board of Directors passed a resolution (see below) asking the City Council to grant MAIN access to this cell-tower for 36 months. This in-kind support has a commercial value of approximately $60,000 (including past-due rent).
We want to be clear: MAIN is NOT requesting any funding from the City of Asheville.
As you know, the City of Asheville routinely awards grants and subsidies to for-profit companies to locate or expand facilities in our community. Recently the City awarded $3.5 million in incentives to New Belgium Brewery. Last June, the City awarded approximately $2 million in subsidies to Linamar, a Canadian auto-parts manufacturer.
While MAIN is a nonprofit, we believe our unique public-service mission merits a small fraction of the support provided these for-profit enterprises. In return, MAIN is prepared to invest a minimum of $25,000 to upgrade and expand our broadband network in Asheville.
MAIN also plans to seek additional private funding as well as federal broadband support proposed in the National Broadband Plan. The $60,000 value of City tower space would qualify as “in kind matching support” to attract future broadband investments in our community.
As you know, MAIN is the only organization in Asheville dedicated to bridging the broadband Digital Divide for individual households and small businesses, a goal shared by the regional Economic Development Coalition to which the City belongs.
The Asheville City Council meets on April 24, just six days before the May 1 deadline.
Please contact Council members and urge them to support MAIN’s request for continued access to the City-owned cell tower. Again, this request is ONLY for tower space. MAIN is NOT requesting any funding.
Thanks for supporting MAIN’s unique
MAIN Board of Directors