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Community Wireless Networks Address Missed Connections: “Access” as Digital Insurgency (Pt. 2)

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Introduction

This is Part 2 of a two-part blog post series exploring the efforts of 3 urban-based community wireless networks (CWNs) – NYC Mesh, Equitable Internet Initiative (Detroit), and PeoplesOpen.net (Oakland). The aims of these grassroots efforts are provide neighbors with internet access.

Part 1 explored the expanded notions of access and inclusion these CWNs employ in building out their community and technical networks. This inquiry ultimately revealed an inherent reworking of social, material, economic and political relations by CWNs in ways that challenge the dominant capitalocentric relations of power that govern internet access more broadly.

“In sum, CWNs’ create a new digital economy that is shared, co-owned, and managed by members of the CWN. They employ non-discriminatory definitions of “who” can be a community member. They rely on and adapt the built environment in building their community. Their existence as a community brings into being an example of a community enacting internet access as a human right.”

Part 2 continues this inquiry, further exploring the potentiality of CWNs through the active reworking of relationships and relationship-building processes undertaken by one Detroit-based CWN – the Equitable Internet Initiative.

Continue Reading on Tagging the Tower, a blog by the GC Digital Fellows, of the GC Digital Inititatives at The Graduate Center, CUNY.