Thanks for this email. It will be nice to collaborate of this
taking ques from the 12 community networks who are part of the APC
community network learning grant. Myself and Ritu have developed a
proposal on these lines. It will be nice if we can take this
Greetings to all,
I have recently returned from a trip to NYC, where I had the opportunity to speak with Dhanaraj Thakur, Research Director at the Web Foundation, about the foundation's "meaningful connectivity" campaign (https://a4ai.org/raising-the-bar-for-internet-access-introducing-meaningful-connectivity/). When I came across this campaign it seemed kind of odd that they define "meaningful connectivity" in technical terms only, so and I pursued a meeting with Dhanaraj to discuss on their project and explore possible synergies with Community Networks.
In short, there is a problem with how we currently define Internet connectivity: when we say that 50% of the global population is online we are also counting people who have been online once for the past three months from any device. This is actually far from being usefully connected. Thus, the web foundation is making an attempt to describe how a "meaningful connectivity" should be measured, by defining four metrics: right speed, adequate device, enough data and frequent connection. To this end they have drafted a measurement framework (https://a4ai.org/meaningful-connectivity/) which they are currently testing in an ongoing research in Uganda, Indonesia, Ghana and Colombia.
The idea proposed from my side was for the Web Foundation to work with CNs around the world to test the framework in a community network environment. This can provide powerful insights to their approach and at the same time offer us a potentially useful tool which we can apply for our impact measurement. At the same time we will have the opportunity to speak about "meaningful connectivity" in terms of empowering local communities to make the most out of telecommunications technology. In any case I think it will be a strong use case with a potential to promote global visibility for all the involved stakeholders.
Dhanaraj was enthusiastic about this and very warm on taking it forward. Although as we speak the Web Foundation does not have the financial resources for such a project, Dhanaraj seemed confident that we can manage to raise some funds through a common proposal.
Some representatives of the Web Foundation will be participating in the imminent IGF in Berlin. I think it is a very good opportunity to set up a meeting with them and discuss about this further.
What are your thoughts on this?
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-- Dr. Sarbani Banerjee Belur Senior Project Research Scientist Program Manager Gram Marg: Rural Broadband Project Department of Electrical Engineering IIT Bombay Powai Mumbai 400076 Mob: +91 9867282979 +91 7045620077 Website: www.grammarg.in Homepage: http://homepages.iitb.ac.in/~sarbanibelur/ Blog: sarbanibelur.blogspot.com https://rising.globalvoices.org/blog/2019/01/20/exploring-models-of-sustainability-for-rural-connectivity-in-indian-villages/