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To ensure that they are sustainable, community networks should consider developing a business model that will guarantee that the network will run with or without outside support from the onset. This includes financial, human resource, partnerships, skills, knowledge, content, technologies, ownership and social sustainability for the community network. This will be the focus of fourth session of the Virtual Summit on Community Networks in Africa, which started in September 2020 and will continue throughout 2021.

The two-hour webinar will take place on 27 January, 12:00 – 14:00 UTC, to explore varying sustainable models and approaches for community networks. You can register here.

Who should attend? 
  • Community network operators

  • Wireless networks researchers

  • Policy makers, regulators and regulatory associations

  • Civil society organisations

  • Community radios

  • Sponsors, funders

  • Other members of the public interested in the topic

More about the Summit

Community networks help connect underserved communities online with locally built and managed infrastructure. However, they are not always available, and they face a diversity of challenges. A 2017 Internet Society report identified 37 community networks initiatives in 12 African countries, at different levels of development.

To foster learning, networking, knowledge and experience sharing on this issue, community network operators in Africa started gathering in 2016 at an annual summit. This year’s summit will be held virtually and will consist of five webinars revolving around growing community networks in the continent.

These sessions, organised by the African Union, Internet Society and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in partnership with other organisations, and sponsored by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, aim to promote the creation and growth of community networks in Africa, along with increasing collaboration between community network operators and providing an opportunity for learning and engaging.

Previous sessions included:

Session 1: The path towards growing community networks in Africa

Session 2: For, with and by the community: Community engagement strategies and ownership for growing community networks in Africa

Session 3: Public funding for community networks

More about community networks

Community networks newsletter

APC’s community networks project: Connecting the Unconnected: Supporting community networks and other community-based connectivity initiatives

Summit on Community Networks in Africa

Bottom-up Connectivity Strategies: Community-led small-scale telecommunication infrastructure networks in the global South

Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves?