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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.

An independent nation in Hawai’i builds the Internet from the ground up, connecting to its sovereignty and to the world.

Learn more about their journey 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 our online training 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

Internet by the People, for the People – a View from the Digital Empowerment Foundation
Internet by the People, for the People – a View from the Digital Empowerment Foundation Thumbnail
Community Networks 20 May 2021

Internet by the People, for the People – a View from the Digital Empowerment Foundation

The Digital Empowerment Foundation believes building community networks is something everyone can do. And people are doing it. Internet...

Risks and Rewards of the U.S. Broadband Funding Boom
Risks and Rewards of the U.S. Broadband Funding Boom Thumbnail
Community Networks 6 May 2021

Risks and Rewards of the U.S. Broadband Funding Boom

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us once and for all that broadband access is critical infrastructure. Without it, communities...

Lambada Community of Tamil Nadu Now Connected to the Internet
Lambada Community of Tamil Nadu Now Connected to the Internet Thumbnail
Community Networks 5 May 2021

Lambada Community of Tamil Nadu Now Connected to the Internet

It’s been decades since the development of the Internet. Yet there are still many people around the world without...

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Community Networks Resources

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