Internet Society: Summit seeks to connect Communities in Africa to the global internet


Image description: Woman looking at computer. Image source: Kondoa Community Network

The Internet Society and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in partnership with the University of Dodoma announced today  Tuesday, October 29, that the Fourth Annual Community Networks Summit would be held in Dodoma, Tanzania from 28 October – 2 November 2019.

Community Networks are “do-it-yourself” telecommunications networks built by local communities and are a way to get connectivity underserved urban, remote and rural areas where commercial service providers may not find it viable. 

In Tanzania, there are 43.7 million voice telephone subscriptions and only 23.1 million Internet users

This gap is also reflected in Internet access in rural and urban areas, with 86% of rural dwellers unconnected compared to 44.6% in urban areas.

To help address the growing need for communication and broadband access in rural areas, the University of Dodoma and the Internet Society (ISOC) Tanzania Chapter collaborated to build a Community Network to bring Internet access to Kondoa, a rural and underserved area in Dodoma region of Tanzania.

The network connects educational institutions in Kondoa and provides fast Internet access to community members around the host institutions. 

“Internet has been a game-changer to schools in Kondoa, teachers are able to access teaching and learning resources which has raised the performance of students,” says Jabhera Matogoro, Assistant Lecturer and PhD Student from the University of Dodoma. “The Kondoa Community Network which connects three schools and over 2000 students has taken learning to another level,” he adds.

Community Networks are built and operated by the communities themselves. “In order to be resilient and achieve sustainability, members of the Community Network play a critical role in the building of the community network infrastructure. We help provide the training and know-how that is needed, but ultimately it’s up to the communities to run the network themselves,” explains Michuki Mwangi, Senior Development Manager for Africa for the Internet Society.

The fourth annual Summit aims to promote the creation and growth of community networks, increase collaboration between community network operators in the region, and provide an opportunity for them to engage with other stakeholders including content providers, regulators and policymakers. Previous Summits have been held in South Africa and Kenya.

Critical to the success of Community Networks is access to licensing and spectrum. Policymakers and regulators play a key role in ensuring innovative approaches to making spectrum available. The University of Dodoma secured a two-year authorisation from the local regulator to use TV UHF spectrum in Kondoa. The results from the pilot indicated that television white space is a feasible solution to connect the unconnected population in rural Tanzania.

“Community Networks in the continent are thrilling in spite of enabling policy and regulatory environments, event like this one, and innovations such as the ones used by the Kondoa Community Network should make regulators and policymakers rethink the way they support to these type of connectivity models within their national frameworks,” adds Carlos Rey Moreno, Local Access Policy and Regulation Coordinator for the Association for Progressive Communications.

Donate

Since you are here…

…. we have a small favour to ask. For 21 years The Post Newspaper has been reporting on Local, Regional and National news in Cameroon. Over the years, we are proud to have guided and supported some of the best Journalists in the country and we continue to do so.

The Post newspaper has built its reputation on original Journalism to be the Best and most trusted English language newspaper in Cameroon.

At The Post newspaper, we have advanced our Journalism and embraced innovation and new technology.

To maintain our online presence and keep you up to dates and bring you the full facts on what is real happening in Cameroon, we would appreciate your support.

If everyone who reads our reporting on this platform, who likes it, helps to support it, our Journalists can continue to bring The Post independent journalism to the world.

Every little helps, you can support The Post – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here