Community-driven networks, providing a range of telephony, ICT and media services, and based on a hard-headed business plan, is a new concept that for the first time can be backed up with emprisal experience on the ground.
Community-driven networks are emerging in Asia, Africa and Latin America, in which the community itself initiates, owns and runs an enterprise to provide low-cost telephony, internet access and local service development.
The business model takes full advantage of low-cost IP technologies, maximizes the value of community resources, builds on service development partnerships with local authorities, e-government and private sector, and incorporates empowering activities such as community radio and video.
Telecoms regulators are collaborating in several of the pilots, to develop technology-neutral and horizontal licenses, open access approach to bandwidth, and innovative ways to address poor communities.
This approach is also in line with empowering approaches to the provision of other services, such as water, electricity, irrigation and resources management.
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