Institute for Local Self-Reliance: Director of Community Broadband Networks
Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) in Minneapolis. Mitchell is a leading national expert on community networks and Internet access.
On a day-to-day basis, Mitchell runs MuniNetworks.org, the comprehensive online clearinghouse of information about local government policies to improve Internet access. Their interactive community broadband network map tracks more than 550 such networks. He also hosts podcasts, including Community Broadband Bits and Building Local Power.
In 2019, the Coalition for Local Internet Choice gave Mitchell its “Indispensable” Award and the Blandin Foundation of Minnesota presented him with a “Courageous Leadership” award. In 2015, the White House used Mitchell’s research as building blocks in a National Economic Council report encouraging community networks. He was honored as one of the 2012 Top 25 in Public Sector Technology by Government Technology, which honors the top “Doers, Drivers, and Dreamers” in the nation each year. That same year, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors named ILSR the Broadband Organization of the Year. Christopher helped to found Next Century Cities and served as Director of Policy for its first five years.
He earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Macalester College.
He is also a professional sports photographer, shooting regularly for the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers and other clients in Minnesota. He has also worked as a server administrator, web geek, and in automated quality assurance for software.