Wireless Community Networks: Towards a Public Policy for the Network Commons

Belli & De Filippi (eds), Net Neutrality Compendium: Human Rights, Free Competition and the Future of the Internet, Springer, 2015

16 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2016 Last revised: 16 Oct 2016

See all articles by Primavera De Filippi

Primavera De Filippi

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas

Félix Tréguer

French National Center for Scientific Research; Sciences Po - Center for International Studies and Research (CERI)

Date Written: September 30, 2015

Abstract

The history of communication technologies is populated with conflicts between centralization and decentralization. While many of these technologies started or have existed at some point of their development as a decentralized structure, often replacing older technological paradigms, nearly all progressively evolved into concentrated clusters of power as a result of industrialization and of the reaffirmation of state sovereignty, following a Schumpeterian process of “creative-destruction”. However, when the needs of citizens turn out to be systematically overlooked in existing power dynamics, decentralized initiatives may emerge as an attempt to disrupt the dominant hegemony and allow for the democratic re-appropriation of technology – a process that the philosopher Andrew Feenberg calls “subversive rationalization.”

In this paper, we focus on an ongoing – though too often neglected – phenomenon of decentralization in telecommunications networks. We show that current telecoms regulation significantly overlooks the contribution of community networks in fostering political and socio-economic objectives associated with broadband policy and we propose a number of policy recommendations to overcome this gap.

Keywords: communication technologies, wireless community networks, internet policy, regulation, competition

Suggested Citation

De Filippi, Primavera and Tréguer, Félix, Wireless Community Networks: Towards a Public Policy for the Network Commons (September 30, 2015). Belli & De Filippi (eds), Net Neutrality Compendium: Human Rights, Free Competition and the Future of the Internet, Springer, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2725434

Primavera De Filippi (Contact Author)

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 06, 75231
France

Félix Tréguer

French National Center for Scientific Research ( email )

Paris
France

Sciences Po - Center for International Studies and Research (CERI) ( email )

56 rue Jacob
Paris, 75006
France

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