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Meeting Europe’s Connectivity Challenge. The Role for Community Networks. CEPS Special Report, 4 July 2018

Echikson, William and Zarra, Antonella (2018) Meeting Europe’s Connectivity Challenge. The Role for Community Networks. CEPS Special Report, 4 July 2018. UNSPECIFIED.

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    More than 3.5 billion people use the internet today, up from a mere 738 million in 2000, according to a new report from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). That’s about half the world’s population. But what about the other half? While the ITU says that most of the world’s other internet-less users will be connected by traditional internet service providers (ISPs), many remote and rural regions risk remaining without access – unless they connect themselves. This digital divide exists even in developed Europe, where governments are pouring billions of euros into high-speed internet networks. Community networks can help fill the gap. Built and operated by people from within the community working together and combining their efforts, these networks complement traditional access networks. They provide local access in areas where commercial operators do not find it economically viable to operate. Given the challenges with economic viability in underserved areas, it is crucial to build a sound business model to ensure the sustainability of these projects. Community Networks must overcome serious regulatory, political and commercial hurdles. Regulation is often inadequate – or inappropriate. Needed spectrum remains expensive or unavailable. In response, the European Commission has given its support for these bottom-up projects, recognising Community Networks as one of the four main investment models for bringing internet coverage throughout the continent This paper looks at the challenges and opportunities involved in setting up, maintaining and expanding operations of Community Networks within the European Union and elsewhere in Europe. Based on personal interviews with officials in Brussels as well as telephone conversations with leaders of Community Networks throughout Europe, it draws lessons learned from a selection of projects ranging from Spain in the West to the Republic of Georgia in the East.

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > information technology policy
    Countries > France
    Countries > Greece
    Countries > Spain
    Countries > Sweden
    Countries > Georgia
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for European Policy Studies (Brussels) > CEPS Special Reports
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2018 10:15
    Number of Pages: 21
    Last Modified: 31 Jul 2018 10:15

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