IGF 2022 DC3 Community networks as human rights enablers

Thursday, 1st December, 2022 (13:50 UTC) - Thursday, 1st December, 2022 (15:20 UTC)
Banquet Hall B

Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity

Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min


The discourse on connectivity is often shaped by a developmental lens, focusing on the digital divide and socio-economic aspects of being connected or not. This session will explore various perspectives of the human rights-based perspective of connectivity and community networks as enablers. There are different aspects to look at: connectivity as a right, network self-determination, connectivity as a tool for exercising human rights (primarily freedom of expression), the right to co-create the Internet, and others - as explored in previous DC3 publications (especially, since the DC3 2017 Report on Community Networks: The Internet by the People for the People), available at  https://comconnectivity.org/

Community networks have the approach to place users (communities and individuals) at the center of not just the deployment of internet technologies, but also their design and development. In this context, users should be able to decide how they would like to be connected, who owns the infrastructure they communicate through, who has access to their personal data they use to access the network (right to data privacy), and even - whether they want to be connected at all?

The IGF 2022 session of the Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity (DC3) will focus on exploring the connection between community networks and human rights. Session participants will provide their standpoints and share experiences and good practices to be consolidated into an Exploratory Paper on Community Networks and Human Rights, elaborated as a 2022 DC3 Outcome.

The session will be fully online.


Luca Belli, FGV Law School

Senka Hadzic, CyberBRICS Project


Ronaldo Neves de Moura, ANATEL

Raquel Renno, Article 19

Nicholas Echaniz, Altermundi

Sarbani Belur, IIT Mumbai

Glenn McKnight, IEEE

Niels ten Oever, University of Amsterdam

Karla Prudencio, Rhizomatica

Jane Coffin, Connect Humanity


Onsite Moderator

Luca Belli and Senka Hadzic

Online Moderator

Luca Belli and Senka Hadzic


Judith Hellerstein


9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities

Targets: SDG 9, target 9.c: Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Community networks offer a significant example of the value of alternative and complementary approaches to expand connectivity, promoting digital commons and helping to fulfil the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Community Networks can be seen as a powerful ally in the fight against digital exclusion and a considerable engine for people-centred connectivity and full enjoyment of all human rights, especially the so-called right network infrastructures consisting in the freedom to develop and organise digital infrastructures.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

The IGF 2022 session of the Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity focused on the rights aspect of community networks. Session participants provided their perspectives and best practices. Some panelists authored and co-authored the official DC3 outcome, a report titled "Community networks as Enablers for Human Rights".

The session started with the launch of the report, presented by Senka Hadzic. The report is a compilation of of four different papers/ chapters, one of which is a collective paper - and a direct result of a collective effort by DC3 members.

The first speaker, Ronaldo Neves de Moura from the Brazilian regulator ANATEL, spoke about ANATEL's  activities related to promotion of community networks  both on a national level, but also when engaging with international bodies such as the ITU. He also highlighted the relevant synergy between ANATELs activities and the work of DC3.

Raquel Renno from Article 19 pointed out that developing countries and marginalised communities are more affected by accelerated digitalisation.

Nicholas Echaniz' talk focused on importance of participation in the digital space. The current landscape ignores meaningful connectivity and tends to create a "second class digital citizenship".

Sarbani Belur shared her experiences on addressing community's needs (on location, coverage, online vs offline) when seeding communities networks in India.

Glenn McKnight And Niels ten Oever focused on infrastructures: Glenn highlighted that electricity is mandatory supporting infrastructure for connectivity, while Niels spoke about the way infrastructures are operated and controlled. He raised the question of private 5G networks being able to get local spectrum licenses, something that community networks spent years advocating for.

Karla Prudencio Ruiz from Rhizomatica in Mexico brought up the assumption that connectivity is always preferred to disconnection, which leads to a situation that the means by which connectivity is being achieved, seem not to matter. People are often not aware of risks and harms when going online.

Jane Coffin wrapped up the session pointing out the need to look at different regulatory models with respect to spectrum, licensing and financing CNs.

In his closing remarks, Luca Belli highlighted the need to be critical, and understand the limits of conventional models.