Notes from the I International Workshop on Research in ICT for Human Development, at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, and held in Fuenlabrada, Spain, on May 13th and 14th, 2010. More notes on this event: ict4hd10.
Ramon Roca: Guifi.net: Success Case of Participative Communications Networks
A different model based on:
- Social inclusion and geographic equilibrium;
- Return of investment not based on commercial margins;
- Benefit from network structures.
Guifi.net is a network of networks according to the “XOLN” (Xarxa Oberta Lliure i Neutra: Open, Free and Neutral Network) commons participated by individuals or institutions; where participations add up, interconnecting and creating an IP traffic public network.
It is important to stress the fact that the network is a commons: anyone has a predominant position in the network despite the fact that some people can contribute with more resources to it: thus, the community avoids that some users implicitly had more power than others. A foundation manages the network, which is open, free, neutral and collectively “owned”.
Browse the slides to see how it works  and the software applications included :
Some outcomes of the public network: though the penetration in e.g. Osona (a rural area in Catalonia, where Guifi.net is more present) is lower than the European and Spanish averages, the number of people that accessed the Internet from home is much higher than the European and Spanish averages, at much of these results can be directly attributed to the penetration of wireless networks through Guifi.net membership. This seriously challenges the e-empowerment model based in subsidising private companies instead of local communities.