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Press releases 12 December 2013

The Internet Society’s Wireless for Communities Project Recognized with Two Awards

Connecting rural and remote communities to the Internet

[Singapore – 12 December 2013]  – The Internet Society today announced it has won two awards for its Wireless for Communities (W4C) project.  The W4C project is a partnership between the Internet Society and the Digital Empowerment Foundation with the goal of connecting rural and remote communities to the Internet using a community-focused approach.

The W4C project recently won the PublicAffairsAsia Gold Standard “Internet for Good” Award, which recognizes excellence in the use of the Internet as an interactive engagement tool by the public, employees, community groups, or charities in promoting charitable, community, or volunteer initiatives. PublicAffairsAsia celebrated the 2013 Gold Standard Awards in Hong Kong on 5 December 2013.

The Internet Society and Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) initiated W4C in 2010. Through this project, the community receives training on how to establish and operate community wireless networks, with a train-the-trainer program that equips participants with information on how to design, deploy, and operate wireless networks using Wi-Fi technology.  The project also trains the local community on Internet use, digital literacy, and micro-entrepreneurial skills.  A pilot was implemented for the remote community of Chanderi, India in October 2010 and has proven to be very successful.  This wireless network covers the local community, including schools, cybercafés, and the medical center, and provides a practical means for connectivity in this rural environment. Since then, the project has been deployed in six other locations in rural India.

“Wireless for Communities is very important to the Internet Society, and reflects our mission of ensuring an open, accessible Internet for everyone,” said Rajnesh Singh, Internet Society Regional Bureau Director for Asia-Pacific. “This has been an amazing project – from its conceptualisation and pilot infrastructure deployment in 2010 to its recent expansion to several more communities.  It is inspiring to see the profound impact on local communities and how it enables access to things most of us take for granted such as healthcare and education.”

In addition to the PublicAffairsAsia Gold Standard Award, the W4C project also won the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) “Connecting at the Roots” contest to promote the transformational power of broadband in the “Broadband for Communities/Schools” category.   This award recognizes the importance of broadband and its impact on a nation’s socio-economic development. Winners were announced at the ITU Connect Asia-Pacific Summit on 18 November 2013.

About the Internet Society
The Internet Society is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought leadership from around the world. With its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development among users, companies, governments, and other organizations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone. For more information, visit www.internetsociety.org.

Media contact:  Wende Cover, cover@isoc.org, +1-703-439-2773

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