Mobile telephony CNs in the global South


From tic-ac videos

We are happy to invite you to “Exploring mobile telephony CNs in the global South”. This is the first of a series of the “Community networks tech-talk” webinars that will focus on the different aspects of life within community networks (CNs) through dialogue facilitated by key community network builders.

In this webinar, we will have the opportunity to discuss the experiences of different initiatives in the global South that have explored mobile telephony infrastructure as the technology choice for their community network. As a community-led solution, 2G and 3G mobile telephony is a unique proposition, so come to the webinar to be inspired by the locally-driven experience of some of the women that have been able to see (and to build) its implementation through.

Some of the examples:

We invite you all to join the conversation by bringing your reflections and questions before, during and after the event. In this way, we can create an ongoing dialogue space that will help us all build a better and shared understanding of this topic that not a lot of people know about but have interacted with in an a way or another.

Please remember to RSVP right below by clicking on “Going”.

Here is the recording:

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Guests of this conversation

Penélope Partida Martínez

@Penelope is an Electronic and Communications Enginner by ITESM Campus Monterrey with more than 18 years working experience in the telecommunications industry in Mexico. In 2007 she got a Master degree in Mobile Communications at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona, Spain, where besides being a student, she participated as a teacher in workshops to bring ICTs to the elderly.

In 2015 she colaborated with Fundacion Envia in Oaxaca through computer workshops given to entrepreneur indigenous women. And participated with Calpulli Educational Center, where the computer workshop was given to the mothers of the little students.

Since 2018, she started as an external consultant for Telecomunicaciones Indígenas Comunitarias, A.C. and REDES A.C. helping them develop telecom networks for Tosepan Cooperative and other communities. From march 2020 on, she is working as Operation Manager for TIC A.C.

Lilian Chamorro

@lilichara has a bachelor’s degree in electronics and telecommunications engineering and a postgraduate degree in engineering project management. She has worked with Colnodo since 2004, researching, implementing and managing ICT for development projects related to community networks, gender, education and e-government, among others. She is part of APC’s Women’s Rights Programme, with which she has participated in different activities and events discussing and promoting the participation of women in technology. Currently she has been leading special projects, particularly in the community networks area, managing projects in Buenos Aires, Cauca and Mani Casanare, working with community leaders on the building of their own community networks and exploring sustainability strategies with a gender focus. Lilian also works with different funders, allies and universities developing activities related to project implementation, technical issues, capacity building, and social, financial and legal sustainability, aimed at the consolidation of a conducive ecosystem for community networks in Colombia.
She has collaborated also with community networks in various countries in Latin America.

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Let’s use this space to interact before, during and after the event!

Are there any questions you would like this webinar to focus on?

You can post them here now, or during the event… and you all are also welcomed to reply and discuss about them.

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Principles of participation

Please review the principles of participation.
If you’ve gone throught them and agree with them, give a like to this response.

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Thank you for sharing these principles. They are great and fully agree with it. One of the things that could be added is the dimension of time. These principles work well during the participatory moments with an underlying assumption that it seizes to exist after the event/meeting/engagement. If we think of participation as a way of decentering not only the process but also power then how would we think of principles for participation? Just putting out this thought. Would love to hear what everyone thinks.

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hi Shreyas, thank you for sharing these thoughts that invite us to think more about decentralizing power. these principles were designed for “events” so by design they were tailored for “moments”. they also change in the moment and have been used as a fluid and moveable skeleton and have been morphed by folks who take part of the same spacetime… can you kindly share what a principle for time might sound/look like?
having said that, we are committed to carrying values of equity and dismantling power hegemony across spacetime and i am excited to hear what everyone else thinks about your invitation for reflection!

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Thank you all
I too agree with the terms.

Happy
VG

···

On Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 9:42 PM cynthiaek via Community Networks noreply@communitynetworks.group wrote:

cynthia
27 April

hi Shreyas, thank you for sharing these thoughts that invite us to think more about decentralizing power. these principles were designed for “events” so by design they were tailored for “moments”. they also change in the moment and have been used as a fluid and moveable skeleton and have been morphed by folks who take part of the same spacetime… can you kindly share what a principle for time might sound/look like?
having said that, we are committed to carrying values of equity and dismantling power hegemony across spacetime and i am excited to hear what everyone else thinks about your invitation for reflection!


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In Reply To

Ssrivatsa
27 April

Thank you for sharing these principles. They are great and fully agree with it. One of the things that could be added is the dimension of time. These principles work well during the participatory moments with an underlying assumption that it seizes to exist after the event/meeting/engagement. If we …


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Hi all, I understand these principles are useful guides and reminders. And it is shared here so that the participants review it before the event.
I ll take a few steps back here as I have quite unintentionally diverted the attention and purpose of sharing the principles here. My apologies for doing that.

Hi Cynthia, Most of my thoughts are from a place-based network and dabbling with poltics of participation in Human Settlements study in Global South. What I was wondering is if we each look into our own shared experiences within our local community networks then what would the principles of participation look like and how do we practice it? As compared to a global network where prescriptive ways of sharing principles is aimed at being common denominator for all to practice, we are embedded locally and the manner in which conversations take place may or may not be the same. While these principles can be seen as relevant in the local, in our experience the local cultures find them alien. The notions and implications of what is respectful or care or privilege are different in different societies and it takes time for people engaging with each other to figure it out. Some of us in our network are exploring non-prescriptive ways of thinking, sharing and practicing principles of engagement, where we derive it from the engagement as much as possible. so in a way it is situational, retrospective and descriptive. My curiosity was if anyone else had any thoughts on prescriptive ways of framing principles. Like I said not sure if this topic is relevant here. Would be happy to hangout and converse anytime :blush:

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Love these principles, thank you!
And so beautifully portrayed.

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Hi, very interesting and relevant point (also happy to take it to another thread if that is more appropriate). I have also had the experience of being personally very aligned to these principles, but find it difficult to bring them into the local context in which we operate as a CN. I relate to your sentence “in our experience the local cultures find them [the principles] alien.” It is not so much that people will reject them, but that they bring other priority values (eg, the dominance of elders). In contrast these kinds of principles are seen as “an outsider” set of rules that they will conform with because I propose them, and because my position has intrinsic power (skills, resources, language etc.). So instead of creating participation (my intention), I end up enforcing external rules (not my intention). I find it very important as a CN practitioner to keep exploring and navigating these power relations, so thanks for bringing this up.

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Agreed with the principles. Thanks

Thanks everyone for the lively conversation about the principles, it is through experiencing and talking about them that we got to them.

Live Session

The webinar starts in less than one hour.

To join the webinar, please go here:

Feel free to connect earlier to do audio test and feel comfortable in the platform. We will be using BigBlueButton Free Open Source Webinar platform for this, so if you have used it before you will feel right at home, and if you haven’t don’t worry, it is similar to any other webinar platform you’ve used and I will be there to support you.

We will have two notetakers, that will take notes live in here: collaborative notetaking

Questions will be done through this same forum thread. Please reply to the thread (with the orange reply button at the bottom).

I will bring the questions to the moderator and guests, and will be getting snippets of the responses as replies to the questions. Later if time is available, I will also cut excerpts of the video recordings to accompany the text response.

Please keep both the video and the forum open at all times so you can participate in the webinar.

See you in a bit!

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Pasting here some links from the webinar chat:

@vassilis:

A list of CBRS capable devices: CBRS capable devices in the market | Celona Help Center

Regulation issues (and achievements!):
@kathleen:

Article from Mexico: Indigenous-led telecommunications organization wins historic legal battle in Mexico · Global Voices

Article from Colombia: Indígenas y excombatientes se unen para llevar internet al Cauca | EL ESPECTADOR

Info:

Photo report of RED Inc: RedINC: oportunidades, conectividad y la esperanza de un territorio rural de Colombia - Colnodo

info on the UW community work: Allen School News » UW researchers work to decrease the digital divide in the Puget Sound region

What has been your role in setting up the mobile telephony in your community network?

How has sustainability of the network been ensured?

Are you worried of changing politics → policies that would deprive you of spaces you’ve already managed to open?

@infrared : Did you have any issues with antenna radiation considerations from local inhabitants?

@infrared does General Access to CBRS spectrum in Seattle provide you with enough spectrum to offer broadband services?

Were there any discoveries or unanticipated responses ?

How high are the fees that people pay and how do they compare to local commercial providers (in nearest localities that do have coverage)?

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@Sarbani_Banerjee_Bel:

What has been your role in setting up the mobile telephony in your community network?

How has sustainability of the network been ensured?

What has been your role in setting up the mobile telephony in your community network? How has sustainability of the network been ensured?

Penelope: My role in TIC, I am the coordinator for the operations so I set the logistics to visit the communities. The community owns the network and we support of getting the eqipment
building the capacity to manage the equipment, and continued support for the technical, social, legal issues that arise.
Every community became an opertaor, and sustainability comes when the number of users are big enough that every user pays a monthly fee, divided into 3 areas:
1) half of the fee remains int he community for things like electricity, the internet services (in and out-going calls), and sometimes the person who helps wiht administration of hte system
2) goes to operational team, that I lead to make the support possible
3) small common fund, insurance, in case there is an emergency… for repair and service the network.
We are not completely sustainable because the quantitiy of users is not yet there, but we are working towards that.

Esther: Each community is an operator. How is different from a commercial telco?
PEnelope: the concession status is a social indigenous operator. It is for every community with their mobile system.

Esther:

what are the legal requirements around that.

Penelope: we can only operate in areas where there are no commercial options. And we have to comply with the paperwork, like being consistently operating.
To report every month or semester how many networks we have. Because every community is part of TIC. So have to keep reporting to government, how many frequency and assignements.

does that status maintain if other commercial operators come in?

P: we are still working, but we do see commercial operators are now coming and we are trying to cope with this new challenge.
We have this other base social structure and dynamics and in cases where the telephony is seen as a community owned, they will lose some of the advantages of having their won telephone system. We are bringing consciousness of the people, about the options and to control their own expenses and the benefits.

What has been your role and sustainability been ensured?

L: when we began with the ‘dream’ in Colombia, we were working with Julian, tring to understand the technology and how to explore this opportunity and talking to the communities and the necessities in the communities.
wiht Rhizomatica team, we worked on some technical aspects, like some basics about the tech.
When more people came to work with us, then I led the team and speaking to the gov’t abou the project and explain what we are doing. My role changes depending on the necessities.
We learn alot of things when we were working with the communities.

About sustainability, we worked with the community on a financial model, it was so hard when we began because not everyone was convinced about the project.
It took some time to get the network to work, and get them to belive in what we were doing.
they were willing to pay

Then we issues with electricity and it didn’t work well, and then some went back to their region. It is a process to combine organisation and technical issues together.
Much of the work that the community did was on a voluntary basis, so the operations was not expensive because the community brought their time, energy, work, food,
and many collaboratie to get the network working, but we are also trying to work on a better model to sustain it.

Esther: Roles: Like LIlian, I take on any role that is needed.
First was to form a non-profit. In order to work with the city, and ably for grants, we formed a non-profit.
We got initial funding - federal covid relief. At the county level, we were going to focus on low-income and marginalised groups, majority unemployed, older persons
My role from the non-profit, we applied for the start up grants to buy more equipment. Our lab can set it up, we reach out to partner organisations, and tell them
we have the equipment, and capacity. So we have 2 partners, API Chaya. The group reduced violence in the local areas. They also are trying to improve internet connectivity
Black Briliance - a coalition of Black organisations across teh county. they organise with people of colour communities and they have connections wtih the city. We ran training virtually
they helped with recruitment of trainees. So I taught the training.
How do we set up an MOU? We have to come up with a structure of how fees will be used. We are discussing this in the community meetings
We have lots of volunteers. We do not have deployed networks, but we are discussing those quesitons.