"How can the leap to 4G mobile broadband help social change organizers?"
Tate Hausman and Sam Boykin recently contacted me on behalf of Mobile Citizen to ask me that question and to ask for my help in finding the answer.
According to them, "4G allows you to open your laptop / iPad / etc anywhere in network range and have a high speed web connection. Like the 3G service you currently get on your smartphone, but about 5x faster. In many cities, its already here -- I'm sure many of you have seen the bazillion advertisements for it." But, what they're really interested in finding out, is how the leap to 4G can be an opportunity to promote social change.
Here are a few examples they came up with of ways that 4G could help organizations and community organizers:
giving canvassers access to rich data and streaming media on iPads / laptops
registering voters or recruiting volunteers at events
setting up portable predictive dialer phone banks
mobile live streaming video of direct actions, city council hearings, board meetings, etc
Tate and Sam are looking to the NetSquared Community to help them mine ideas for use of 4G for social benefit. And, if your idea is a great one, they hope to help secure funding for development.
Mobile Citizen is a nonprofit project that provides 4G service to schools and nonprofits for just $10 a month. Mobile Citizen may subsidize as many as 20,000 4G accounts in 2011. They have a good sense of how 4G can help schools and social service agencies. Now they are hoping to fund and develop breakthrough ideas or tools that would help social change organizers take advantage of 4G.