Lifestyle / Newsletter of 1 Mai 2019

Why communities are building their own internet networks

Devastated by the loss of its automotive industry, Detroit is now a city in crisis, with 40% of its population having no internet connectivity, which presents a number of problems, not least for access to basic services such as banking, education or transport. The problem has a legal basis, as telecoms providers are not under any obligation to invest in infrastructures for low-income neighbourhoods where they generate less profit.


But one community group has decided to turn this around by teaching people in need how to set up their own internet connection. The project, named the Equitable Internet Initiative (EII) is a collaboration between the company Allied Media Projects (AMP) and the Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP), which focuses on overcoming the digital divide.


With prize money of $60,000 from the Mozilla foundation, the EII has managed to provide training to 45 people from three underserved neighbourhoods on wireless network installation. The trainees have installed a rooftop antenna at the community centres in each neighbourhood in order to carry the signal and provide internet connectivity to local residents.

A technology known as “mesh networking” has been growing in popularity since net neutrality protections were abandoned by the US Federal Communications Commission.


The EII also intends to provide web development training to adolescents. The youngsters have already developed an atmospheric pollution data analysis platform and a map of community resources hosted on the EII intranet. The future of the project looks to be well assured!



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