More than 3.5 billion people are now using the Internet, according to the United Nations agency that oversees international communications, up from a mere 738 million in 2000, according to a new report from the International Telecommunication Union. That’s about half the world’s population.
What about the other half?
While the ITU says most of the globe’s other 3.5 million Internetless users will eventually be connected through traditional Internet service providers, many remote and rural regions risk remaining without connectivity - unless they connect themselves. These community networks are built and operated by people in the community; they are the result of people working together and organizing their efforts.
Most often, communities must overcome serious commercial hurdles to succeed. Regulation often is inadequate, insufficient - or inappropriate.
This event represents the Brussels launch of a new paper commissioned by the Internet Society. It looks at the challenges and opportunities for community networks to set up, maintain and expand operations. It draws lessons learned from a selection of European projects. The overall conclusion is that successful community networks are possible to build, overcoming the digital divide and insuring that the remotest regions benefit from connecting to the Internet.
Participation in this event is exceptionally free of charge. Registration and sandwich lunch from 12.30 - Meeting from 13.15 to 14.30.