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Growing the Internet 24 August 2017

Take a Brief Survey to Support Community Networks

Dimitris Boucas
By Dimitris BoucasGuest Author

The Internet Society has worked with NetCommons to promote community networks. They are a conducting a survey to examine users’ concerns about Internet use and explore the potential of alternative Internet provision.

The netCommons project funded by EU (EU Horizon 2020 project netCommons: Network Infrastructure as Commons) aspires to study, support, and further promote community-based networking and communication services that can offer a complement, or even an alternative, to the global Internet’s current dominant model. It involves a collaboration of six organizations, namely the University of Trento in Italy, The Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in Spain, the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, the University of Westminster (UK), the Athens University of Economics and Business in Greece, and the non-profit organization Nethood in Switzerland.

Community networks provide citizens with access to a neutral, bottom- up network infrastructure, which increases the transparency of data flow, but they also represent an archetype of networked collective cooperation and action, mixing common or communal ownership and management of an infrastructure with a balanced set of services supported by the local stakeholders. In this way, they are a departure from the standard Internet, which is dominated by commercial Internet providers, global corporate platforms and limited user capacity in controlling their data.

Community networks, however, require multiple resources, skills and tools if they are to be sustainable. They face legal, socio-economic and political challenges and can benefit both from theoretical and legal insights and from practical efforts and tools.

This is the reason why the netCommons project follows a dual approach to achieve the maximum possible impact. On the one hand, the project works at the local level, mingling with the communities that implement and manage community networks to gather relevant information, elaborate it, and then return to communities advanced conceptual and technical tools helping them to grow and thrive. On the other hand, netCommons seeks to offer to governments, regulatory bodies and other decision-makers guidelines to implement measures that nurture participation, co-operation, on-line information, freedom, democracy, peer production, the public and common good, as well as the role of community networks to assist such processes.

Survey on attitudes of Internet users

The team of researchers of the University of Westminster working for the netCommons Project are conducting an online survey to examine users’ concerns about Internet use and at the same time explore the potential of alternative Internet provision. Such concerns will provide useful input to policy makers and regulators who hold significant responsibilities over the telecommunications and Internet landscape, and consequently need to take informed steps towards the evolution of this landscape.

We are looking in particular for respondents (Internet users) who are academic/research staff, students, IT product/services professionals, or administrative/clerical staff at universities or research institutes.

We would be grateful if you could take some time (about 20 minutes) to complete the survey.

The survey will be available online until 30 September 2017.

If you need more information please email: [email protected]

Many thanks for your collaboration.

Prof Christian Fuchs
Dr Maria Michalis, Reader
Dr Dimitris Boucas, Research Fellow
University of Westminster, UK

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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