Locally operated service providers might not help Libya or Egypt at first, but they plant a crucial seed: training smart network engineers.The way to build the kind of healthy network that the New America Foundation says is essential for democracy isn't with any single technology, but by cultivating network engineers who actually care about their users. "It's not only about getting data over the link," says Anton Kapela, a network engineer at 5 Nines, an Internet provider in Madison, Wisconsin. 5 Nines runs a 3,000-square-foot data center that hosts websites and applications for local businesses. But it also sells Internet access across the city using a combination of microwave links, copper telephone loops and fiber-optic cables. Kapela and his colleagues treat network monitoring more like gardeners than security guards, constantly weeding out bad links, configuring new ones, and using the outbound traffic to the data center to balance the inbound traffic to their Internet service provider (ISP) customers. 5 Nines works because it's entirely local; both sides of its business share the same physical links to the backbones of the Internet, and customers from both revenue streams will let them know when the links go down.