Rapporteur: Marco Lotti, Geneva Internet Platform
- Community networks provide Internet access for and by remote communities. When establishing community networks, it is crucial to build digital capacity both in terms of installation and maintenance of technical infrastructure and in terms of developing digital literacy programmes that ensure users’ meaningful participation on the Internet.
- There are many existing challenges in establishing community networks, particularly on the regulatory, funding, and connectivity side, just to name a few. However, technical aspects go hand in hand with a strong network of community support: Both the technology and the sense of community are crucial elements in ensuring the success of community networks.
- On the human side, communities’ trust and participation in the networks are a tangible challenge. Therefore, it is crucial that the network is established through a community-owned process and that once in place, it is used for the benefit of the whole community. When establishing a new network, it is crucial to involve the members of the community in the process so as to develop community-tailored solutions. Showing the benefits of the network to community members and obtaining community participation at every step of the process are some of the solutions.