The local sphere of telecommunications systems and services deployment and economies ought to be considered as the:

First Mile

(not Last Mile)

Most telecommunications service providers and government regulators currently refer to the home, office, neighborhoods and communities as the "Last Mile". They indicate that providing "Last Mile" enhanced connectivity, especially in rural areas, is not economically viable. They have their economic models backwards. The greatest source of value in most peoples’ lives is local, derived from self, family and community. In a globally networked and communicative society, local environments have the opportunity to aggregate and generate new economic resources, value and benefits. The local realm must be considered the "First Mile".

The commonly applied term, "Last Mile" represents a supply-side driven concept. It is a top-down, national and corporate, technical and engineering perspective on telecommunications infrastructure deployment and services delivery. It is based on legacy hierarchical thinking, intent and actions.

The "First Mile" is based on a demand-side driven understanding. It describes a local geographic orientation for telecommunications infrastructure and services deployment, with a democratic social and economic perspective, that focuses on the difference these systems and services will make in the quality of peoples’ lives. The "First Mile" is rooted in realizations about the newly emerging ‘hyper-archical’ nature of networked economies, local-global relationships and actions and social change; with the provocative intent that the Information Revolution must ultimately be a "people’s revolution".

First Mile Strategies

A strategy for the reconsideration, restructuring and revitalization of the telecommunications and digital media industries, of government regulations and of national policies.

A strategy for the revitalization of local communities through economically and culturally innovative, public-private partnerships and initiatives.

A strategy to build globally networked Information Societies of culturally diverse, economically vital, socially responsible, and ecologically healthy communities of learning.



Richard Lowenberg began using the term 'First Mile' in the early 1990s, and first published it in the 1995 Rural Telecommunications Investment Guide, his commissioned web publication funded by the US Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration.
(scroll down the page/chapter on Technology for specific reference).