Community networks and local access monthly newsletter – number 26

Image: Coolab Camp, an event held in November 2019 in Monteiro Lobato, São Paulo, used under a CC BY-SA 3.0 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.

Events and conferences

  • In the presence of so many unknowns, how can alternative network infrastructures support the creation of radically equitable futures? That is this year's OurNetworks event question. Read more.

Resources from past events

  • Coolab shares how the Coolab Camp was an immersive, collaborative event for learning about hardware, software and care. Read more.

Community networks in news and blogs

  • IBEBrasil speaks about when internet access goes beyond service provision to become a community-managed common good. Read more.
  • Many community networks have responded to the Reg4COVID ITU call. You can find them here. Read more.
  • Nic Bidwell speaks about AlterMundi in “Wireless in the Weather-world and Community Networks Made to Last”. Read more.
  • Ensemble Pour la Difference shares their story about facilitating technical learning and livelihood opportunities for young men and women on a remote island in the DRC. Read more.
  • Servelots uses community mesh radio to demystify technology through storytelling. Read more.
  • In its “Position paper in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”, the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms Coalition highlights the role of community networks such as Zenzeleni, TunapandaNET and CYD Malawi. Read more.
  • BOSCO Uganda: “NO MORE ISOLATION”, an event that brought national stakeholders to a remote community to raise awareness of the potential of local access networks. Read more.
  • Beyond Connectivity: Networks of Care. Read more.
  • From the Gram Marg Rural Broadband project: “Pink… the colour of my internet”. Read more.

News on policy and regulation

  • APC's submissions to the open consultation for the 6th ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum include one for the Forum to consider a more substantial role for communities in providing connectivity. Read more.
  • The report “Progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society at the regional and international levels: Report of the Secretary-General”, released this month at the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development, recognises the contributions made by global civil society organisations in making recommendations for innovations in spectrum management to support community networks. Read more.
  • The recently launched Roadmap for the High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation recognises that “Some policies have been shown to promote connectivity, including regulations aimed at creating an enabling environment for smaller-scale providers, including broadband cooperatives, municipal networks and local businesses, by putting in place practices such as facilitating licence exemption and tax incentive schemes.” It also establishes the objective to “d) Promote the development of enabling regulatory environments for smaller-scale Internet providers, along with local and regional assessments of connectivity needs.” Read more.


  • ICTD 2020 conference “Women and the Sustainability of Rural Community Networks in the Global South”, presented by Nicola J. Bidwell. Video and academic paper are available. Read more.
  • ICTD2020 conference “Connecting Isolated Communities: Quantitative Evidence on the Adoption of Community Cellular Networks in the Philippines”, presented by Niall Keleher. Video and paper are available. Read more.
  • In a recent academic article on community networks by Rich and Pather, the researchers use the Global Information Society Watch 2018 edition on community networks to analyse the 11 Asian community network cases featured and operationalise a conceptual framework called People, Technology, Organization and Environment (PTOE). Read more.

Tools and toolkits

  • What system do you use to administer the services you offer on your community network? Here are some options. Read more.
  • A discussion about which internet domains you use in your local networks. Read more.

Funding opportunities

  • The Pollination Project invests in grassroots projects by people who seek to create a more compassionate world. Read more.
  • Close the Gap is donating computers to projects with a focus on both individuals and their communities. Read more.

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