EDRi joined a coalition of more than 25 European Community Networks and alternative internet access providers, and 35 civil society organisations in signing a letter in support of Community Networks in Europe. Today, 16 March, the letter was sent to European policy-makers with recommendations to ensure the continuous development of these citizen initiatives, which provide an alternative, democratic and sustainable way of managing telecommunications infrastructures and meet the goals of broadband policies.
Community Networks are a growing movement of organisations that operate local communication infrastructure, built by local communities and organisations in a bottom-up and democratic way. The goal is to provide affordable internet access to everybody. Community networks are especially important with regard to the shortcomings of the current telecommunications policies, which do not ensure the providers competing in the market meet communication needs of underprivileged communities.
Besides better internet connectivity, community networks also offer citizen engagement, resiliency, education, innovation, and the basis for reclaiming our digital sovereignty from the global corporations dominating the digital economy. Community networks have been systematically overlooked by policy-makers, and their values and models are being jeopardised by various policies. With the letter to the European Commission, EU Member State delegations and members of the European Parliament, we hope to facilitate a debate and provide the political framework for sustaining a diverse and democratic environment in the telecommunications sector.
Read the letter here.
If you wish to support the letter and participate in next stages, you are invited to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.