Community Networks: Sharing Collective Connectivity For Everyone?

Can we see communication as a commons? Can citizens use community networks to become more autonomous? How is it going now? How can legislators like the EU support this?

Commons Network is proud to organize a workshop on community networks in the European Parliament, together with our friends at netCommons and MEPs Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D) and Julia Reda (Greens/EFA/Pirate Party).

Community Networks (CNs) are a growing movement of organizations that operate local communication infrastructures, most of which give free or affordable access to the global Internet. There are more than 150 of these organisations across the EU, currently providing broadband connectivity to tens of thousants of EU residents. These networks are operated as a commons: Rather than being driven by for-profit motives, their key focus is on providing access to telecommunications while striving for democratic governance, social inclusion, education, and human rights with respect to digital technologies.

But despite their stunning achievements, policy-makers at the national and European levels have so far mostly neglected their existence and specific regulatory needs. Worse, regulation is often hampering these initiatives, and the draft of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) risks worsening the situation. This workshop, co-sponsored by MEPs Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D) and Julia Reda (Greens/EFA), will gather CN practicioners, policy-makers and researchers to discuss the way in which EU policy can help European CNs thrive.

The workshop will be on the 17th of October, and we’ll start at 9 am. Commons Network director David Hammerstein will deliver closing remarks. Please watch this website for further developments, or stay in touch through our Twitter or Facebook to support community networks (and defend communication as a commons).

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    Jean-Jacques Rousseau