Community wireless networks digitally connect communities, and allow neighbours to share Internet access or use locally hosted applications. Neighbours are linked from rooftop to rooftop using wireless equipment.
Ownership and management duties are distributed among the community.
Community networks are built by a coalition of community anchor institutions, community-based organisations, council representatives, and individuals working together to plan, design, and deploy a network.
Digital Stewards are community members that take care of the network.
How does it work
A network can distribute and share Internet access from one gateway.
Or, from multiple gateways.
A network can distribute local applications from one local server.
Or, from multiple servers.
What skills do we need?
Community wireless networks require many different skills. For example, artists and designers popularise the network, electricians and handy-people teach others how to mount access points on buildings, organisers talk to people about the network and hold public meetings, technologists create local applications, community members host equipment on the roof or in their window. Everyone has an important skill to offer.
How do we get started?
First up will be to fill out the form to your right and submit when your ready. CWT has a step by step manual that we can help you facilitate your local community network, whilst also supplying the Fibre connectivity.
Each network will have their own process, but these steps are an example of how you might get started:
1.Identify Community Partners and Define Common Goals
The essential step is to decide which partners will develop, plan and maintain the network.
2.Outreach and Planning
Surveys, community meetings, and transparent or participatory budgeting can ensure that the network gets local support. Manage expectations by presenting the project as a collaborative effort, not a free service.
3.Plan the Network Together
Plan the initial network to connect key locations in the community.
4.Organise Digital Stewards to Manage the Network
For long-term sustainability, think early on about who will handle maintenance and troubleshooting.
Certified installers will be required at least to cover of the Health & Safety Issues however, there is no reason such an installer cannot be a volunteer.
Who can we partner with?
- Public institutions (post offices, museums, schools, universities)
- Public gathering spaces (parks, coffee shops)
- Community-based organisations
- Local governments
Looking to start your own Community Network?
The Community Wireless Trust works with communities to expand fibre connectivity from the local schools into the community – wirelessly.
Talk to us about how we can help you create a CommunityNet for your community.