Federating Community Networks: A case study from France

TitleFederating Community Networks: A case study from France
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsFélix Tréguer
EditorBelli, L.
Book TitleThe Community Network Manual: How to Build the Internet Yourself - Official Outcome of the UN IGF Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity
PublisherFGV Direito Rio Edition
CityRio de Janeiro
KeywordsAlternative Internet, Community networks, Telecommunications

Coordinating various Community Networks (CNs) with different models and governance features can be a challenge. In France, an acknowledged success of the CN movement was the creation in 2011 of Fédération French Data Network (FFDN), a federation uniting CNs across the country. When FFDN was established, interest in grassroots communication networks managed as a commons was booming, and rather than growing existing ones, swarming (i.e. the creation of several independent local organisations) was deemed a better strategy. Although communities in other states have explored other forms of coordination, this process of federation provides an interesting model for ensuring the coordination of various CNs with different models, and for establishing solidarity and fostering resiliency in the face of the many challenges entailed buy the maintenance and defence of CNs. This chapter posits that, despite some difficulties, FFDN represents an interesting precedent for other national and regional CN environments willing to foster collective cohesion. We start by offering a brief history of the CN movement in France up to the creation of Fédération FDN in 2011, before surveying the federation's main organisation features and accomplishments.