20 SEPTEMBER, 2017 | 9:30 AM TO 5:30 PM

Sanskriti Kendra / Sanskriti Museums

See you at Community Network Exchange 2018


No one can escape from the absolute need of technology in our daily life today.With the development of low-cost hardware for wireless networking-based on IEEE 802.11b, wireless networks are an emerging technology. This technology opens the possibility of building a network without having the problems associated with, and the cost of putting some sort of physical transmission medium in the ground.

In the past five years, increasing penetration of the Internet and digital media, particularity in developing countries, has driven incredible growth in the number of individuals expressing themselves, engaging, socialising and conducting business online. Across the world, there are more than 100 community network models using alternative and bottom-up approach to create community-driven infrastructure as a substitute — or to complement — the classic top-down operator-driven paradigm.

Some of these networks are located in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico), the Africa (South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Congo), Asia Pacific (India, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Australia, Afghanistan, etc.) the US, and Europe (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Croatia). They provide Internet services in remotest of locations of their respective countries, utilising varying technology, tools, regulations and socio-economic &cultural conditions.

CNX 2017

Community Network is a proven technology, with success stories from in Iran, Egypt, Russia, South Africa, Nigeria, Tunisia and Brazil. Digital Empowerment Foundation and AirJaldi in India; Nepal Wireless in Nepal;Mesh Bukav and Mesh Goma in Africa;GufiNet in Spain;Taswireless in Tasmania are just some of the names in the area of community networks.

Community Network Exchange (CNX) aims to develop a platform where community network providerscan share their learning, experience, regulatory, spectrum, licensing, technological barrier and many other issues to discuss it further. It will also give an opportunity to fellows who were part of training & exchange activity to share their learning and experiences and share policy briefing papers, among others.

Towards this goal, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), Internet Society (ISOC) and Association of Progressive Communities (APC) are organising the first annual Community Network Summit 2017 to collaborate within and among community network providers.


Rajnesh Singh, Regional Director of the Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau at the Internet Society recommended that India, Nepal and Bangladesh should experiment or conduct a pilot project with community radio networks and make them community network providers for the first mile connectivity.

Following are recommendations that came collaboratively after the discussion:

  • Sustainability needs to be contextual—it needs to be localised keeping local issues and cultural issues at hand.
  • While some models can be replicated elsewhere, others need to be contextual.
  • The community practise needs to be emphasised so that community networks and community radios can evolve and grow.
  • Understanding and measuring of the socio-economic impact of community networks required to form guidelines for bench marking.
  • Basic datasets need to be collected to monitor to measure the impact on community.
  • To focus on community networks in South Asia and engage more indigenous communities in seemingly developed nations and the Asia Pacific region.
  • To form a consortium on community network practitioners at South Asia level.
  • To conduct a data oriented study of some of the oldest community networks to test their economic and technical viability to learn for future models.
  • Need for a Rights-based perspective—to study how freedom of expression has been impacted where community networks have been set up and the need for privacy protection.




10 Community Networks
7 Countries
40 Participants


To constantly empower communities, especially marginalised and information-dark communities throughout Asia Pacific Region, with the power of information and know-how of community networks.


Training & Exchange

To develop a comprehensive and self-contained guide to strengthen grassroots expertise by training community members in basic wireless technology; to enable individuals (barefoot engineers) to not only to run and manage these networks but to also further transfer their skills to others creating a multiplier effect; to organise country-level exchange programmes for learners and barefoot wireless network engineers who can visit and engage in other country networks and learn from their experiences.

Knowledge & Network

To organise annual CNX Summits to engage community network providers across the world to share their learnings, experiences and technological innovations on one platform; to create a consortium of community network providers and social funds for the purpose of sustainability in Asia; to provide support to community network gatherings and hands-on work meetings at regional level for advocating and addressing regional policy issues and challenges; to share recommendations from the summit at other international forums such as Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), among others.

Policy & Advocacy

To discuss sustainable business models around community networks with sound understanding of social and economic challenges; to identify various issues such as spectrum, technological, regulatory, content andlocalisation, among others, that need to be addressed in the national and international framework of policies; to develop a series of policy briefing papers that focus on regulatory issues that need to be addressed; to make community networks visible to policy makers so that they can be considered as an actor within the telecommunications ecosystem.