Building a Sustainable Community Network in Sarantaporo Greece

For over a year now we in the Sarantaporo.gr Non Profit Organization have been in contact with Internet Society in meetings, over online interactions, and through in-person collaboration with people of the organization who visited our village last summer. From the beginning we saw that Internet Society is an organization which we share a lot of common elements with in terms of vision, and that its network is a natural space for our Community Network to be a part of.

In September 2017 we applied for the Internet Society Beyond the Net Funding Programme to approach the organization more closely and pursue funding to finance our Community Network. We are very happy to announce that our proposal was successful and will be funded with $ 30,000 USD through 2018 and 2019. This grant arrives very timely, in a period of transformation for our Community Network.

Continuously growing since 2010 to expand from Sarantaporo to even more villages in the region, today Sarantaporo.gr Community Network has reached a point where it is no longer possible to keep growing under the previous model, which was heavily dependent on the volunteering work of the nonprofit’s core team. Local inhabitants need to step in and take responsibility of their villages’ local community network. Towards this direction we have been working very hard for the past few months to plan and start implementing a new sustainability model which will guarantee the Community Network’s quality, longevity, inclusivity, and open access for all.

The Internet Society support will help us address three main challenges, which are an integral part of our sustainability model:

  • The technical challenge. Replacing aging legacy equipment with equipment that is modern, much more effective and robust, will enable us to provide higher quality service of improved bandwidth and stability and much better experience for the end users. We have already witnessed that this results in increased interest from locals not only to use Community Network, but also to actively take part in running it.
  • The training challenge. While infrastructure and access are the basic prerequisites, training is the second pillar towards bridging the digital divide. Training extends from basic computer usage for the local inhabitants of the region to advanced networking issues for members of the Sarantaporo.gr. A number of training workshops have been planned and will be delivered in the coming period. At least 80 people from the region will be trained. Of great importance to us is the sustainability aspect: training people who will be able to train others in their village or neighbouring villages.
  • The community building challenge. Our intervention in the region has provided local communities with a modern communication infrastructure as a commons, which strengthens the community bonds with remote relatives and friends. At the same time the Community Network is a Community per se, which needs to be nurtured to sustainability. Building together our Community Network, sharing knowledge, and planning in a participative manner are the building blocks of our approach to achieve this.

A significant added value in working with Internet Society is that we are joining a global network of Community Networks. In our recent trip to Geneva to participate in the 12th Internet Global Forum 2017, we worked with Community Networks from all over the world to found the global CN Special Interest Group, which serves as a vehicle to develop, strengthen, and promote the Community Network model, draft common strategies, share experiences and expertise, and debate policy and regulatory issues.

Since the beginning of the new year 2018 we have already started our first steps in our roadmap by acquiring and deploying the first two batches of new devices. The results are promising already: more people are joining our local teams, quality of service is improving, and it seems that a significant dynamic is being built up that facilitates our next steps. In February we will visit the villages for the New Year’s “Vasilopita”, in beginning or mid March we will organize our first workshop along with other events and in April we are planning our first “guerrilla” network node deployment in the village of Tzoumerka, where we will deploy the community Internet and share our knowledge with a group of locals. We are confident this will be an exciting journey for our community!

 

Do you have a great idea? We are interested in your project! We’re looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how to make their community better using the Internet. Internet Society Beyond the Net Funding Programme funds projects up to $ 30,000 USD.

Follow Beyond the Net on Twitter!

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IoT community to meet ZTEsoft in Nice at annual Together Summit

Nice in the South of France will play host on May 14th to the 6th Annual ZTEsoft Together Summit. This year the theme is Transforming with You and ZTEsoft‘s chief marketing officer, Fu Jianjun and guests will focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and telcos’ digital transformations.

IoT Now is pleased to be supporting the Summit, and editorial director & publisher, Jeremy Cowan will be the moderator for the one-day event. Here, he talks to Fu Jianjun to find out what delegates can expect.

IoT Now: This is the 6th annual ZTEsoft Summit. How will this year’s event differ from previous years?

Fu Jianjun: The ZTEsoft Summit is our annual opportunity to strengthen the links with our user community, to exchange ideas and experiences, create a common vision and insight based on our industrial viewpoints, lessons learned and future plans and to help operators to get the most out of our solutions and capabilities.

Nice is the backdrop for the 6th annual ZTEsoft Together Summit.

In the past few summits, we communicated with our customers more focus on the thoughts about “What to do” with digital transformation, and in this summit we will focus on “How to do” together with our customers.

This year ZTEsoft comes with a strong value proposition allowing our customers to become Native Digital Players by embracing the very same business models and technologies that have paved the success of the internet giants. We reaffirm our engagement with the industry by providing the best blend of cloud and internet technologies together with a deep insight of industry core business and challenges.

IoT Now: A key part of your audience is network operators and digital service providers? What Digital Transformation and IoT information and support are they looking for in 2018?

Fu Jianjun: IoT and Digital transformation for operators and service providers are deeply related subjects. With trillions at stake, the best way not to participate in the IoT party is to continue doing business as usual.

The IoT will reach its full potential by using the strength of the ecosystem to innovate and deliver value and to continuously expand the demand and offering across industries and marketplaces.

IoT and also IIoT (industrial IoT) is clearly the future of the industry because its development requires the kind of services and capabilities that CSPs are good at delivering, including End-to-End SLAs (service level agreements), involving not just applications but network services, performance, reliability and security.

As I’ve mentioned, transformation had been engaged in in many cases but there are still key issues to be addressed:
•    What would be the target role of the specific service provider in the IoT/IIoT ecosystem?
•    How to achieve the kind of elasticity and operational efficiency needed to harness the IoT/IIoT opportunity?
•    How to leverage from ZTEsoft joint services and capabilities to harness the IoT/IIoT opportunity and achieve a successful transformation?
•    How to monetise their investments and participate in the digital ecosystems?
•    How to assure a controlled and soft transition to target architectures and business models?

IoT Now: You always place emphasis on the […]

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Community Report: Indigenous Connectivity

The 2017 Indigenous Connectivity Summit (ICS) was the start of a critical conversation about how Indigenous communities can connect themselves to the Internet on their own terms. But it was just the beginning.

An extraordinary community of people came together: Indigenous-owned Internet service providers, community network manager/operators, researchers and policy makers, and Indigenous leadership. Their conversations outlined the benefits the Internet can bring to Indigenous communities, including self-determination, culture and language preservation, economic development, health, and education. These conversations are captured in the Indigenous Connectivity Summit Community Report, which also describes the unique challenges Indigenous communities face to gain sustainable connectivity and recommendations to address those challenges.

We hope that this report serves as a springboard to further Indigenous connectivity in North America and beyond. You can take part by visiting the Indigenous Connectivity page!

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MANRS, Routing Security, and the Brazilian ISP Community

Last week, I presented MANRS to the IX.BR community. My presentation was part of a bigger theme – the launch of an ambitious program in Brazil to make the Internet safer.

While there are many threats to the Internet that must be mitigated, one common point and a challenge for many of them is that the efficacy of the approaches relies on collaboration between independent and sometimes competing parties. And, therefore, finding ways to incentivize and reward such collaboration is at the core of the solutions.

MANRS tries to do that by increasing the transparency of a network operator’s security posture and its commitment to a more secure and resilient Internet. Subsequently, the operator can leverage its increased security posture, signaling it to potential customers and thus differentiating from their competitors.

MANRS also helps build a community of security-minded operators with a common purpose – an important factor that improves accountability, facilitates better peering relationships, and improves coordination in preventing and mitigating incidents.

So, what does the Brazilian ISP community think about routing security and MANRS?

I ran an interactive poll with four questions to provide a more quantitative answer. More than 100 people participated, which makes the results fairly representative.

A sort summary is that while routing incidents are not perceived as the most painful area, the Brazilian ISP community is willing to embrace the collaborative security approach and work on improving Internet infrastructure.

In the past three months, according to BGPSetream, Brazilian ISPs experienced about 1,000 routing events that likely represent incidents. About a quarter of them were route leaks and hijacks; the rest were outages.

From operational experience, 20% of operators dealt with routing security incidents with impact. For the majority, however, such incidents were either infrequent or had little impact. That says something about the perceived risk.

At the same time, improving routing security is important to the vast majority of operators. Almost half are willing to play an active role in promoting best practices.

Almost one-third of respondents already implement the majority of the MANRS Actions and could join the effort.

When it comes to joining the effort, two-thirds feel they would become active adopters of MANRS, once their network has appropriate controls in place.

We look forward to seeing many Brazilian ISPs officially join MANRS, given these survey results! If you’re interested, please let us know. A MANRS Implementation Guide is also available to help you get your network ready.

You can watch Andrei’s full presentation on YouTube in the video below, or at this link.

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New Policy Brief published on Community Networks and Access to Spectrum

Yesterday we published a new policy brief: Spectrum Approaches for Community Networks

Access to affordable and available spectrum is critical for Community Networks. Policy makers can play a key role in ensuring adequate access to spectrum. The policy brief examines the various ways that Community Networks can gain access to spectrum, including:

  • the use of unlicensed spectrum,
  • sharing licensed spectrum, and
  • innovative licensing.

Network operators also play a key role in helping Community Networks. The policy brief outlines recommendations for operators which include:

  • access to backhaul infrastructure at fair rates,
  • equipment and training partnerships, and
  • the sharing of infrastructure as well as spectrum.

Please read our press release for more information about this new paper.  Also visit our World Telecommunications Development Conference (WTDC) 2017 page for more about what our team is doing there in Buenos Aires this week.

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