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Image: Screenshot from AlterMundi's video about the community networks meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, May 2019.

Welcome to the 19th monthly round-up of developments impacting your local access networks.

1. Events and conferences
  • Until 30 June 2019, the call for travel support to attend the Internet Governance Forum 2019 annual meeting is open. The IGF, a global multistakeholder platform of the United Nations that facilitates the discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the internet, will happen in Berlin from 25-29 November 2019. Read more.

  • [En español] El Congreso Latinoamericano de Telecomunicaciones tendrá lugar desde el 1 al 5 de julio de 2019 en Córdoba, Argentina, en el cual habrá múltiples participaciones de redes comunitarias de Latinoamérica. Leer más.

  • From 7 to 11 July 2019, the International Association for Media Communication Research Congress takes place in Madrid and will include a presentation on community networks in Latin America that will be hosted by CITSAC on 8 July 2019. The day before, there will be a workshop titled “Paths towards technological autonomy: Planning and implementation of community projects”. Read more.

  • From 8 to 14 July 2019, BattleMesh, the conference on wireless networks and open source software, will be held at “Le 6B”, 6-10 Quai de Seine, 93200 Saint-Denis, France (very close to Paris). It will bring together people from across the globe who are interested in community networks, including wireless mesh network technologies, fibre infrastructure, do-it-yourself internet access providers, and more generally how to create and maintain a thriving community of people involved in building their own networks. You can watch their latest teaser video here and read more here.

  • From 9 to 17 July 2019, the International Telecommunications Union gathers for the Global Symposium for Regulators 2019 in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the Development Bureau, introduces it in this video. Watch here.

  • On 16 and 17 July 2019, the Alan Turing Institute will be holding a workshop entitled “Data science for bridging the digital divide and beyond”. This workshop will offer a forum to explore challenges related to this topic, as well as how data science can feed into the wider debate. It will bring together expertise in internet infrastructure, social factors, policy, regulation, and economics, all with the goal of addressing the global digital divide and leveraging the positive ramifications of doing so through data-centric research. Read more

  • From 18 to 21 July 2019, DWeb Camp will take place. DWeb Camp is a retreat for those who want to create a decentralised web where their values are baked into the code, a place where diverse people can freely exchange ideas about the technologies, laws, markets and agreements we need to move forward. Read more

  • [En español] Del 24 al 26 de julio de 2019 se llevará a cabo el 14° Taller Internacional de Regulación en Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, donde Peter Bloom de Rhizomatica dará una charla sobre “Marginalidad TIC – 5G” y Carlos Rey-Moreno de APC sobre “Redes comunitarias”. Leer más.

  • From 2 to 5 August 2019, The Offline Camp will take place, including a weekend of collaboration amongst the Offline First community. Read more.

  • [En español] Del 6 al 8 de agosto de 2019 se desarrollará el Foro de Gobernanza de Internet para Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Este año será en La Paz, Bolivia. Leer más

  • From 16 to 19 July 2019, the Asia Internet Governance Forum will take place in Vladivostok, Russia. The agenda is public, with a session on community networks. Read more

  • From 21 to 25 August 2019, the Chaos Communication Camp will gather “thousands of hackers, technology freaks, artists and utopians” for five days in the Brandenburg summer to “communicate, learn, hack and party together”. Read more

  • From 22 to 22 September 2019, the Our Networks conference will take place in Toronto, Canada, focused on all aspects of the decentralised web, from mesh-networking to P2P applications to commons governance. The theme for this year is “RE: Infrastructures, channeling all your imaginings about what kind of infrastructures (of regeneration, of repair, of resistance, and refusal) can best serve our communities as we move forward in solidarity and hopefulness”. Topics could include, but are in no way limited to: practices of reparative networking, remediation practices for communication infrastructures, uncooptable computing reconfigurations, reconstructing technology after refusal, regenerative approaches that resist status quo tech. Read more.

2. Community networks in news and blogs
  • The project “Community LTE in Papua” delivered an LTE (CoLTE) network - a lightweight, internet-only LTE core network (EPC) - designed to facilitate the deployment and operation of small-scale, community-owned and operated LTE networks, with a particular eye towards expanding internet access into rural areas with limited and unreliable backhaul. Read more.

  • [En español] La primera concesionaria de una licencia de telefonía celular comunitaria en México, TIC A.C., tuvo un problema con su entidad tributaria. El SAT congeló las cuentas de la organización por supuesta deuda tributaria, a pesar de que la organización hizo todos los trámites correspondientes. Esto demuestra la fragilidad de nuestras organizaciones. Leer más.

  • A group of community networks from all around the world gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, for a learning and bonding experience. Read more here, and here (in Portuguese, by Coolab), and here (in Spanish, by AlterMundi).

3. News on policy and regulation
  • The WATRA regulator training workshop hosted by APC will be taking place between 26-28 June 2019 in Lome, Togo, where enabling community networks and small operators regulation will be discussed. Read more.

  • [En español] Habitantes de Cuba podrán utilizar redes privadas en su comunidad y navegar por internet con conexión remota desde sus casas. Si bien la regulación es un gran avance frente a la existente con anterioridad, hay varios detalles que han sido mencionados para su mejora. Leer más aquí y aquí.

4. Research
  • New release! The report "Bottom-up Connectivity Strategies: Community-led small-scale telecommunication infrastructure networks in the global South," conducted by Nicola Bidwell and Michael Jensen for APC and Rhizomatica, documents the benefits of, and challenges facing, small-scale, community-based connectivity projects. APC researchers visited 12 rural community networks in the global South in 2018 and studied a number of others through desk research and interviews. This research provides information that can be used for evidence-based policy making that will contribute to creating a more enabling environment for small, community-based local access networks. Read more.

  • This report by Research ICT Africa includes many recommendations around spectrum for community networks, and is a great read to unpack some of the issues reflected in community networks, such as urban-rural, gender, age and meaningful access. Read more.

5. Reports and publications
  • [En español] Peter Bloom de Rhizomatica publicó excelentes artículos sobre las implicancias de 5G para las redes comunitarias y se encuentran disponibles también en español:

    - Hablando de mi generación (5º). Leer más

    - La tecnología 5G no reducirá la brecha digital y podría incluso empeorarla. Leer más.  

    - El derecho a la red: Sobre capitalismo y redes de próxima generación. Leer más.  

  • [En español] R3D en México hace eco del documento “Elementos fundamentales para una política de cobertura plena de telecomunicaciones en México” producido por REDES A.C., proponiendo estrategias para ampliar la conectividad en zonas no atendidas. Leer más

6. Articles on technologies related to local access networks
  • This study directed by the University of Tenessee found out that better broadband lowers unemployment rates. Read more

  • The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance president Martha Suárez provides an update on the different approaches and projects around the world related to dynamic spectrum, highlighting the problems that remain to be solved. This is relevant because it provides a strategy to access more spectrum, the scarce resource used for wireless communications and a critical element in many community networks. Read more

7. Tools and toolkits
  • “Setting up Wireless Networks – A Course for Barefoot Wireless Engineers” is a two-module course developed by Digital Empowerment Foundation that covers wireless planning as well as maintenance, among other concepts. Read more.  

8. Funding opportunities
  • Until 8 July 2019, the Social Justice Fund has openings for grants directed at grassroots activist projects, giving priority to those with small budgets and little access to more mainstream funding sources. They focus in confronting institutionalised repression against racial, ethnic, gender-based and LGBTQ communities, and supporting progressive workers movements and the erradication of poverty among others. Read more.

  • All throughout 2019, Google has an open call for policy fellowships on Europe, Middle East, Africa, US and Latin America. Fellows will have the opportunity to work at public interest organisations at the forefront of debates on broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and creativity, consumer privacy, open government, government surveillance, data security, data innovation, free expression and more. Read more.

  • With no end date, Ford Foundation’s JustFilms supports artist-driven film and new media storytelling projects that explore aspects of inequality, as well as the organisations and networks that support these projects. Read more

  • [En español] Hasta el 30 de junio, Telefónica busca soluciones innovadoras y sostenibles en todo el mundo para acelerar su proyecto de conectividad global “Internet Para Todos”. Leer más.

  • With no end date, Mozilla Open Source Software Fund supports open source projects used by or related to Mozilla’s mission. Read more.

  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation supports early-stage research for which private or government funding is hard to obtain and early-career (tenure-track) researchers. Read more.

  • Internet Society has opened their Beyond the Net programme, through which they support the development of community networks by granting seed money for their creation and growth. Read more

9. Previous editions
  • Previous editions of this newsletter are available here


This newsletter is part of the project titled, “Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves?” carried out by APC in partnership with Internet Society and Rhizomática, with support from Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in 2017/2018 and funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in 2019. 

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June 2019. Association for Progressive Communications (APC)