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Photo: Altermundi.

AlterMundi is, in the words of its members, “a network of activists, working with people with no knowledge of networks or information technology so that they can construct and maintain their own communications systems.” In other words, a group of Argentinians taking the internet to small towns and villages in their country using free/libre software and low-cost hardware. In March 2016, they decided to join the APC Network.

APCNews: Why did AlterMundi decide to apply to become an APC member now?

We have been interested in APC’s work for a long time. We share its vision and it feels like a natural step for us to join now that we are a mature collective, with important experiences and technology to share.

APCNews: Your relationship with APC began in 2007, through our project on capacity building for wireless connectivity in Latin America and the Caribbean (TRICALCAR – Tejiendo redes inalámbricas comunitarias en América y el Caribe). Did this influence your decision to join our network?

Guido’s experience with TRICALCAR was part of our early history. The fact that APC has vast experience training communities to build their own communications infrastructure relates in a direct way with our own work in this area. We have been developing technologies to enable regular people to solve their communication needs but most importantly, we have been sharing this network model through hands-on workshops in Argentina and Latin America. We believe our relation with APC will be very synergetic.

APCNews: What would you say is the most outstanding quality of the APC network?

The organisations and the people that form APC. Its long and coherent history and worldwide recognition for fighting relentlessly towards the achievement of its goals through real on-the-ground work, as well as high-level debate of the subjects that matter.

APCNews: What will AlterMundi bring to the network? What would you define as your added value?

We hope we’ll be able to bring a fresh perspective on community networks as well as a number of tools and resources we have built over the years to potentiate the impact of such networks in the internet ecosystem.

APCNews: How do you expect this membership to impact on your local work?

We began taking part in policy discussion in Argentina during the development of the Argentina Digital Law. We were able to get one line on community networks included in the final text, but there was much more to improve. We hope the interaction with other organisations, the collective participation in international events and governance forums, will help improve our chances of being heard in the future, not only in our country but in the region and in the world, regarding internet policy

APCNews: Any message you would like to share with the network and APC

I’d like to generally propose that we start talking more about extending the internet infrastructure to everyone instead of talking about access. We need to focus on interconnectivity, on local infrastructure and services, on a first-mile perspective. The term “access” poorly describes this.

Read also: AlterMundi: Community networks embody the original spirit of the internet.