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Community Networks and Local Access Monthly Newsletter – Number 4

An Internet Society training workshop for operators of community networks in Nairobi, Kenya on 22 May 2017. Photo by Internet Society and used under a BY-NC-SA license.

This newsletter is part of the project titled, “Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves?” developed by APC in partnership with Internet Society and Rhizomática, with support from Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It is republished here on Rising Voices as part of a partnership with APC. Click here to see the original post on APC's website.

1. Get involved

  • [En español] Se encuentra abierto el período de consultas para la definición de temas de la agenda de la undécima versión del Foro de gobernanza de internet en LAC. Uno de los aspectos incluídos en la consulta pública para definir temas se relaciona a acceso: Mejores prácticas y experiencias en la operación de redes comunitarias. pueden ingresar a la consulta y priorizar este elemento de la agenda aquí. La participación en la consulta puede realizarse en español, portugués o inglés y hay tiempo hasta el 6 de abril de 2018.
  • The Internet Society is inviting applications for its Fellowship to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The fellowship programme allows technologists, engineers and researchers from emerging and developing economies to attend an IETF meeting. The IETF is the internet's premier standards-making body, responsible for the development of protocols used in IP-based networks. IETF participants represent an international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers involved in the technical operation of the internet and the continuing evolution of internet architecture. Fellowships will be awarded through a competitive application process. The current selection round is for the following meeting: IETF 102, 14-20 July 2018, Montreal, Canada. Information on the IETF fellowship programme (including expectations, selection criteria, etc.) can be found here. The application links for the fellowship are as follows:

1. First-Time Fellows (individuals who have never been awarded an Internet Society Fellowship to the IETF) 
2. Returning Fellows (individuals who have previously been awarded an Internet Society Fellowship to the IETF) 
 
Before applying for the Internet Society Fellowship to the IETF 102 Meeting in Montreal, please read the self-assessment guide and ensure that you are able to satisfy the requirements of the checklist. Applications will close on 1 April 2018 and successful candidates will be notified on 20 April 2018. They encourage you to apply for this opportunity or pass this information about the programme to individuals in your network who have a keen interest in the open standards development activities of the IETF. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Niel Harper at harper@isoc.org.

  • Ford-Mozilla Fellowship application now open! Mozilla just announced the 11 organisations that will host the new cohort of Ford-Mozilla Fellows. If you are a technologist and activist interested in online privacy, net neutrality, digital inclusion, and cybersecurity, apply to become a Ford-Mozilla Fellow today! You can apply to become a Ford-Mozilla Fellow for 2018 here.

2. Calls for grants

  • The Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF Asia) has opened a call for Internet for Development Grants for Community Networks and Gender Empowerment & Innovation. Applications will close on 30 April at 11:59 PM UTC. This year, the grants will be awarded in the following categories:

1. The ISIF Internet for Development Grants for Community Networks will be allocated to projects/organisations working to achieve affordable, locally owned and managed communication infrastructure, deploying creative low-cost solutions that use wireless technologies, GSM and/or fibre connections. Find all the information needed to apply here. USD 53,000 is available, as follows: a USD 30,000 scale-up grant for one existing project looking to expand, and a USD 23,000 small grant for one new project.
2. The ISIF Internet for Development Grants for Gender Empowerment & Innovation will be allocated to projects/organisations working to achieve gender equality on the internet. Read more here. USD 53,000 is available, as follows: a USD 30,000 scale-up grant for one existing project looking to expand, and a USD 23,000 small grant for one new project.

  • The Women Connect Challenge offers up to USD 150,000 in funding The application form can be found here.

  • AFRINIC is announcing the call for applications for the 2018 FIRE Africa Innovation Grants. Read more. Grant applications close on 6 April 2018. This year, the grant categories are:

1. Women empowerment in ICT: New projects from organisations led by female entrepreneurs focusing on practical solution(s) that use technology to address specific challenges faced by women and girls. Three grants, each amounting to USD 11,000, will be allocated in this category.
2. Building community networks: New projects relating to research and implementation of low-cost solutions in the form of locally owned and managed communications infrastructure that uses technologies such as wireless communications/technologies to build community networks. Two grants, each amounting to USD 15,000, will be allocated in this category.

  • The Prototype Fund has launched the fourth call for applications. This year the focus is on “Power to the Users” and they are looking specifically for open source tools that foster digital sovereignty, safety and trust. They also fund projects from the fields of civic tech, data literacy, software infrastructure and data security. Women and other underrepresented groups in tech are especially encouraged to apply. Find more information on www.prototypefund.de and @prototypefund, or contact bewerbung@prototypefund.de for questions.

3. Events and conferences

3.1 Upcoming events

  • The next re:publica Festival will take place in Berlin, Germany, at STATION Berlin from 2 to 4 May 2018. Read more. Within the session titled “Tech for Good” there will be a workshop on community networks, date and time to be determined. More about the workshop here.

  • This year the “Wireless Battle of the Mesh” and the “Wireless Community Weekend” have joined forces to create a new event, called “Mesh is in the Air”, merging the best of both events and co-located in Berlin from 7 to 13 May 2018. More info here.

  • State of Our Networks 2018 Beyond DIY: Do It With Others will take place from 13 to 18 July 2018 in Toronto.The theme this year focuses on how we Do It With Others (DIWO) as opposed to just ourselves. They are inviting proposals for talks, workshops, discussions, demonstrations and interventions to explore these questions. Topics could include, but in no way are limited to: decentralisation is not enough, making equitable network infrastructures, rebuilding or repairing existing infrastructure, being/becoming network neighbours, and skill- and capacity-building for maintaining alternative networks. The deadline for proposals is 27 April 2018. Check out the full call for participation for submission instructions here.

3.2 Resources from past events

  • IETF 101 in London:

GAIA meeting: 
Agenda
Presentations
Community networks was also discussed at the plenary session. A summary of the session including the slides and the recording is available here.

  • Digital Equity Laboratory launch (March 20): The lab launch included a symposium titled “Technology and its Discontents: Building Power for a New Paradigm”. Read more.
  • The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) hosted a high-level meeting on the topic “Digital Inclusion for Development in the Americas” on 12 March 2018. Read more.

  • At the recent World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum, two workshops specifically focused on community networks, and a high-level policy statement was read to promote them:

Session 1 description. Video of the session.
Session 2 descriptionVideo of the session.
High Level Policy Session on Inclusiveness – access to information and knowledge for all.

  • European Parliament workshop on community networks (released 23 March 2018): A collection of presentations on community networks and telecom regulation, co-organised in October 2017 by netCommons and Commons Network, have now been released on video. The YouTube videos can be found here and an advocacy guide here.
  • Roger Baig Viñas from guifi.net gave a presentation at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) President’s Meeting 2018 in Barcelona. The presentation, titled “Understanding Community Networks to Explore Collaborations with Libraries”, can be found here.

4. Community networks in news and blogs

  • You might not expect to find Canada’s best internet in a rural setting, but folks in Olds, Alberta play by their own rules. Read more.

  • Bringing the internet to Idjwi Island, Congo, by Euan Millar. Read more.

  • Blog post from a visitor to the Zenzeleni mesh network in the Transkei. Read more.

  • [En español] Como parte del proyecto de Conectividad comunitaria indígena desarrollado con el apoyo de Internet Society, se publicarán una serie de artículos sobre los avances y reflexiones que se van dando en torno a las #RedesComunitarias. Aquí un texto sobre la visita realizada a Abasolo, Chiapas en septiembre pasado con Boca de Polen y el Colectivo Ik’ ta K'op. Leer más.

  • [En español] Redes inalámbricas comunitarias: la instalación del séptimo nodo. Leer más.

  • [En español] Redes inalámbricas comunitarias: visita a Xatsitsarie. Leer más.

  • María Álvarez Malvido explores community networks in Mexico in a recent article for ISOC. Read more.

  • Tim Berners-Lee on how to bridge the digital divide: “We must support policies and business models that expand access to the world’s poorest through public access solutions, such as community networks and public WiFi initiatives. We must invest in securing reliable access for women and girls, and empowering them through digital skills training.” Read more.

  • The public TV network in Greece dedicated a whole 45-minute programme to Sarantoporo.gr. Read more.

  • [En español] La Secretaría General de la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA), a través de su Comisión Interamericana de Telecomunicaciones (CITEL), e Internet Society (ISOC), firmaron un acuerdo de colaboración para promover la creación de nuevas redes comunitarias que permitan brindar acceso a zonas rurales y remotas de las Américas. Leer más. [In English] The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS), through its Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), and the Internet Society (ISOC) signed a collaboration agreement to promote the creation of new community networks that provide access to rural and remote areas of the Americas. Read more.

  • Isabek Asanbaev writes on community network deployment in central Asia through the Ferghana Valley IXP in the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Read more.

  • [Em portugués] Caravana CELCOM em Boa Vista do Acará, no Nordeste do Brasil: A Caravana CELCOM reuniu a equipe do projeto CELCOM e outros grupos da Universidade Federal do Pará para levar ações de popularização da ciência e tecnologia para a comunidade do baixo Acará. Continue lendo aquí.

  • [Em portugués] Nuvem, um projeto de autosuficiência tecnológica desenvolvido por latino-americanos e europeus que moram e trabalham na Fazenda Nebulosa, no Brasil. Continue lendo aquí.

  • [Em portugués] Nova rede GSM no Brasil! Comunidade quilombola ganha implantação de projeto de acesso à telefonia celular e internet. Continue lendo aquí e aquí.

5. Relevant articles on technologies related to local access networks

  • To mark International Women’s Day, the Web Foundation asked the members of its Women’s Rights Online network to share their priorities for work to close the digital gender gap and achieve digital equality. Here is a global snapshot of insights from across eight countries.

  • Shine The Light: Celebrating Persistence! The Internet Society has invited everyone to #ShineTheLight on women who have persisted in making the internet a safer and more trusted place. Read more.

  • AmmbrTech announces collaboration with Technical University of Catalonia (UPC). Read more.

  • European H2020 RIFE project deploys affordable 5G network trial in small community in Catalonia. Read more here and here.

6. Regulation

  • CA’s Sh85m plan to link remote areas with mobile voice. Read more.

  • ISPs buy a Wyoming Bill that blocks community broadband. Read more.

  • South Africa’s regulations on the use of television white spaces. Read more.

  • Written submission by Zenzeleni Networks, APC and the University of the Western Cape on the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill in South Africa. Read the submission here and see the presentation here.

7. Reports and publications

7.1 Reports relevant to community networks and local access initiatives

  • The Inclusive Internet Index, commissioned by Facebook and conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, returns for its second year. Expanded to cover 86 countries, up from 75 in 2017, the index provides a rigorous benchmark of national-level internet inclusion across four categories: Availability, Affordability, Relevance and Readiness. This year’s index, which covers 91% of the world’s population, is published alongside a new global Value of the Internet Survey, which polled 4,267 respondents from 85 countries, from Singapore and Switzerland to Cambodia and Ethiopia, to gauge perceptions on how internet use affects people’s lives. Check the main findings, the executive summary and the survey highlights here.

  • The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) will spend millions to build infrastructure to connect remote villages without mobile voice coverage following an order by President Uhuru Kenyatta to surrender unspent billions to the police. Now, CA has announced plans to spend Sh85 million in connecting 23,000 residents in six sub-locations in Baringo County to mobile voice coverage. Read more.

  • Digital Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: Analysis of practices of Orange in Senegal and Safricom in Kenya by Internet Sans Frontiers. Read more.

  • There are a large number of references to community network examples in the output for Phase III of the IGF’s Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion. Read more.

  • APC delivered a statement on inputs to the IGF 2018: “Leave no one behind: Internet governance for access, inclusion, diversity and equality”. Read more.

  • In their report “Universal Service and Access Funds: An Untapped Resource to Close the Gender Digital Divide” The Web Foundation, the Alliance for Affordable Internet and UN Women are calling on governments to invest at least 50% of funds collected for expanding connectivity (USFs) in projects targeting women’s internet access and use, i.e. women-led community networks. Read more.

7.2 Academic publications on community networks

8. Software releases for community networks

  • Open Source, WebRTC and Web technologies for community communication infrastructure. Read more.

  • Potent malware that hid for six years spread through routers. Read more.

  • A meshnet will help this Inuit town monitor the effects of climate change. Read more.

9. Previous newsletter editions

  • Previous editions of this newsletter are available here.

One more thing! If you have comments about the newsletter or information relevant to the topic that you would like us to include in the next edition, please share it with us at localaccess.newsletter@apc.org.

March 2018. Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

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