Sarantaporo.gr Wireless Community Networks

Sarantaporo.gr Wireless Community Networks

Modern infrastructure by citizens towards citizens

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Last Update: July 11, 2014

Active citizens are successfully developing an essential infrastructure in the remote area of Sarantaporo, Elassona Municipality (Greece) providing Internet access in fifteen villages in the area, as a viable model of the Future edge Internet, the basis for a Digital society and economy for all.

Founded: 2013 Type: citizen sector

The Problem

Remote areas in Greece still face the problem of limited ICT connectivity. The rural digital divide diminishes access to educational and business opportunities, informational resources, and sources of health, administrative, academic and / or professional support. Lacking adequate connections to advanced telecommunications infrastructure and services, rural communities are not able to fully participate in the emerging information economy.

The Solution

In these terms the Sarantaporo.gr project provides priceless output developing infrastructure of open source wireless community network for free access to information, knowledge and services in order to further local economic development - much needed especially in the current critical economical situation. The solution of community network can enhance access to a wide array of professional development opportunities and to quality services (educational, administrative, business, etc.); can foster better efficiency in a range of administrative tasks; can facilitate the connectivity affordability in both remote and low-income areas and develop a sharing mentality in difficult economic conditions as at present.

Example

A local citizen, producer of potatoes, confesses that since Sarantaporo.gr community networks first appeared his trading strategy no longer relies on local wholesalers, which intentionally reduce buying prices. The maintenance cost for his machinery has been dramatically decreased, since he had access to wide market of spare parts and services though internet. His overall annual income has increased. And all this at this expense of buying an inexpensive simple router device, installed on the roof of his house. Furthermore, he says the health care procedures have improved since the doctors and health practitioners can prescribe medicines and check-up online and it is no longer needed to travel to the closest town for those.

Impact

The community networks provide internet access to villages where no other alternative is available. This impact is critical, considering the fact of the very limited private connectivity infrastructure in the area. In this sense the project will contribute to bridging of the digital divide of the local population. The most important expected impact concerns the community-building around the local wireless networks. In particular, more people are expected to participate in the local support teams and also in the decision making processes regarding its use. Furthermore, by becoming part of a larger “European village” the community networks will offer an extrovert gateway for the locals to discover new ways of communicating, in which they can play an important role, by controlling the infrastructure via a community.

Full Impact Potential

Building a community network in terms of infrastructure as a Commons in distant and/or low-income areas allows for the development of equal opportunities in all sectors of life (education, business, services, health care, etc.). This is the model of the future internet, where the bottom-up approach is substantially upgraded.

Budget: $100,000 - $250,000

Financial Sources

Individuals, Foundations, NGO, Clients, Other

Sustainability Plan

Since the community wireless network is infrastructure as a common, it greatly relies on voluntary work both for its development/installation and operation/maintenance. The idea is to develop mentality of source sharing. Our financial plan includes research activities, commercial & educational activities, crowd funding, government & EU funding.

Founding Story

The idea of “Sarantaporo.gr” started back in 2009, when a globally dispersed group of people stemming from Sarantaporo village (Elassona Municipality, Greece), decided to establish an entity which would provide various voluntary services to the local community. The primary aim was to create a communication channel for the creative exchange of views/ideas and to coordinate creative activities/actions, which would benefit the local community. For the communication channel to be established we needed internet access, which back then lacked from the area. Thus, overcoming this problem was the critical point for the initiation of building a community network.

Team Explanation

The association’s members are all involved in the project implementation. We have various educational and professional backgrounds - engineering in the fields of electronics and computer control, telecommunications, electric engineering, production and management engineering, survey and environmental engineering. Some hold MSc degree in fields, such as business administration, project management, marketing, executive development.

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