Internet access in return for sharing it with others.
Too often the democratising properties of digital and internet access are limited by commercial viability. In Spain, the digital divide is growing – both within the country, between urban and rural populations, and between Spain and the rest of the EU.
guifi.net is a telecommunications network that offers a way to bridge the growing gap between those who can and cannot afford to access the web. Guifi is the creation of one of a growing number of communities which are taking internet access into their own hands. This community runs along the whole of the Costa Brava in Spain, the beautiful stretch of coastline from Benidorm up to the border of France.
guifi.net is a peer-to-peer network where people can get access to the internet in return for sharing their access with others. And, because guifi is based on sharing, if you choose, you can share the cost of your connection with others as well, making it more affordable to connect. For example, a young guifi.net member could use the network to remotely manage the desktop of her father-in-law, who was less digitally literate. But the same principle applies to companies. An organisation with multiple branches could link their intranet across different locations, saving money through sharing back-office systems and resources such as telephone lines. The same applies again to local councils and administrations. For example, the local governments of seven Garrotxa villages on the Costa Brava have already made an agreement to deploy guifi.net across their territories, providing publicly free internet to all their citizens.
As the net becomes increasingly carved up by corporations so peer-to -peer networks like guifi.net are building, community by community, an internet for the people.
Image 'Working from home' courtesy of Rob
Last updated: 09th of May, 2014