The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the work-from-home economy and highlighted the need for fast, reliable and affordable internet. While this has enabled the continuation of work, education, communication and commerce for a few, the reality is different across Africa, where millions of people do not have access to mobile broadband connectivity.
Community-owned networks provide alternative, locally driven and sustainable solutions that are critical in addressing connectivity gaps in Africa. To explore these solutions, the Virtual Summit on Community Networks in Africa is taking place between September and December 2020.
Promoting the growth of community networks in Africa
Community networks help connect underserved communities online with locally built and managed infrastructure. However, they are not always available, and they face a diversity of challenges. A 2017 Internet Society report identified 37 community networks initiatives in 12 African countries, at different levels of development.
To foster learning, networking, knowledge and experience sharing on this issue, community network operators in Africa started gathering in 2016 at an annual summit. This year’s summit will be held virtually and will consist of five webinars revolving around growing community networks in the continent.
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