Community networks have proven that it is possible to connect distant, remote, rural or disadvantaged areas to the Internet through radio frequency technology, by allowing people without a high-level of technical skills or resources to deploy their own network infrastructure. This kind of initiatives have been set-up in different places around the world, such as Greece, Nepal, Argentina, Catalonia, India, Ghana, South Africa, Venezuela, Italy, and other countries. They have been growing slowly but steadily, reaching out to people that were not being connected by any type of service provider, be it private or State owned.
AlterMundi, as part of that “network of networks”, has developed over the years a set of tools that have lowered the technical barrier for people to deploy network infrastructure. But there are still some tools that need to be improved, some that need to be built from scratch and some others that need to be documented better in order to allow a bigger audience to take full advantage of this solutions and to reach out to other communities of interest that could potentially deploy community networks in their regions.
Community Networks have been depending since their inception on modifying existing off-the-shelf routers to adapt them to their particular needs.
Software development originated in Community Network groups and the Free Software movement as a whole, has pushed the barrier of innovation and helped comercial enterprises develop new products over the years.
This virtuous relation between hardware vendors and the community has been threatened by new regulation from the Federal Communitations Commision (FCC) – U.S.A. – which has led vendors to globally close up their routers to third party modifications, hindering open innovation and effectively closing the door to Community Networks in terms of access to the hardware they depend on.
The Libre Router project will design and produce a high performance multi-radio wireless router targeted at Community Networks needs. Global South reality and that of Latin America in particular will be specially considered in terms of cost and legal viability.
Do you wanna read more about the project?
HERE you can find an article of GlobalVoices in 5 different languages
The community networks in Argentina: