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Community Networks 5 October 2018

The Presence of Community Networks in Latin America and the Caribbean

Christian O'Flaherty
By Christian O'FlahertySenior Development Manager for Latin America and The Caribbean Bureau

The community of Latin America and the Caribbean has maintained an incessant activity in community networks topics, particularly during September. This work has been reflected in various spaces, highlighting the Latin American Summit of Community Networks that took place in Argentina.

A Work with History

Interest in community networks in the Latin American and Caribbean region is not recent. At least since 2015, the operators of these networks have worked together, exchanging experiences and best practices. Part of the result of this collaboration is found in the documents of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity (DC3). It is worth mentioning that the creation of the Internet Society’s Special Interest Group on Community Networks (SIG CN) was announced during the closing ceremony of the IGF 2017 meeting.

The effort has been reflected in various spaces. This year, several operators of these networks were invited to participate in the Fifth Annual Latin America Spectrum Management Conference, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from September 5 to 7. On the last day of the Conference, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conducted a capacity building workshop on spectrum and community networks.

The Latin American Summit

In addition to their participation in events organized by other stakeholders of the community, the SIG Community Networks called the Latin American Community Networks Summit. The event was held in two phases: a workshop with participants from seven countries in the region, and the summit itself.

The workshop was also organized in Buenos Aires, in the days after the Spectrum Management Conference. In addition to exchanging ideas and best practices, participants visited areas of the city where some non-rural community networks are deployed. The second phase of the summit took place in Córdoba, Argentina, where the participants lived together for six days. The activities were productive, with training sessions and spaces to discuss and agree on common positions.

These and other activities related to the subject are a powerful demonstration of the value of collaboration among stakeholders. The degree of organization and motivation of its participants are remarkable. Congratulations!

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Photo © Dan York

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