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Community Networks

We are at our very best when we can connect. To schools, to jobs, to opportunity, and to each other. The Internet is a network of interconnected networks of all sizes and makes this possible.

But not everyone is online. Some places – whether it’s a remote village in Nepal or New York City – need a new plan when it comes to connecting. Complementary solutions to connect. Solutions where the people who use the Internet are also empowered to build it. 

Community Networks are a way to bridge the connectivity gap.

Community networks happen when people come together to build and maintain the necessary infrastructure for Internet connection. Internet by the people, for the people.

In the Patagonia region of Argentina, residents of El Cuy built a network that continues to grow to meet the community’s needs and connect hundreds to the Internet.

Learn more about this community’s path to Internet connection.

What We Do

The Internet Society works to help community networks succeed. We do this with communities, our partners, and any stakeholder interested in connecting. We:

Work Together

We work with prospective communities that want to build a network and put them in contact with people who have built community networks. Together, they learn from past challenges and understand what models work best. This can take the form of meetings, webinars, and summits. These engagements also provide an opportunity to connect with local technical community (businesses, nonprofits, universities and others) and build future partnerships.

Help Advocate for Sound Policy

We have tools and information to help promote sound policies at the national, regional, and international level that help create conditions for community networks to thrive.

Not a policy expert? No problem. We can also help train you and your community to advocate for themselves for community network friendly policies.

Read our Policy Briefs

Offer Training

We offer training sessions around the world and online, so you can learn how to build, run and maintain your network, and also have an understanding of Internet policy.

Assist in Deployment

Once a community is ready to start building their community network, we provide assistance to help you deploy, including technology donations, introductions to others in the community, and financial support.

Build Partnerships

Our work with communities around the world is possible thanks to several partners who are working to bridge the digital divide. Learn more
Interested in becoming a partner? Contact us.

What You Can Do

There's a number of ways you can get involved: 

 

Learn from People Who Have Built a Community Network

Learn from People Who Have Built a Community Network

Half the world lacks Internet access. Working together we can connect the world.

Learn how
Attend a Community Network Event

Attend a Community Network Event

Learn what it takes to build and sustain your own community network at a local summit.

Attend an event
Develop Your Technical Skills

Develop Your Technical Skills

Take one of our online trainings to develop your technical skills.

Take a training
Start a Community Network

Start a Community Network

Together, we can connect the world. One community at the time.

Start building

Community Networks News

Closing in on Equity: Truist EPIC Grant Seeks to Expand Potential in Communities through Broadband Access
Closing in on Equity: Truist EPIC Grant Seeks to Expand Potential in Communities through Broadband Access Thumbnail
Community Networks 25 January 2021

Closing in on Equity: Truist EPIC Grant Seeks to Expand Potential in Communities through Broadband Access

The image was shared around the world.­ Two little girls hunched over their laptops on a concrete sidewalk, accessing...

Indigenous Communities Must Have Internet Access on Their Own Terms
Indigenous Communities Must Have Internet Access on Their Own Terms Thumbnail
Community Networks 20 January 2021

Indigenous Communities Must Have Internet Access on Their Own Terms

A shorter version of this article was first published in the Toronto Star. With the recent launch of the...

Internet Society unveils internet access funding for underserved US communities
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In the News 20 January 2021

Internet Society unveils internet access funding for underserved US communities

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Community Networks Resources

Leading image copyright: © Internet Society / Nyani Quarmyne / Panos Pictures