Bottom-up Broadband

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= concept and paper

For the related research project, see: Bottom-Up Broadband Project


Typology: Bottom-Up Broadband Access Models

Shared Internet Access

"Sharing Internet access is a first step towards more open networks. This sharing can often result in a win-win situation for all the participants."

Example: "Eduroam is an international WiFi roaming service for members of education institutions. It is useful for visiting scholars and for students using libraries of different universities. All of them can use their home university credentials to access the Internet from the premises of any other affiliated institution. It is useful for the visitor and also for the host institution that benefits from the visit."

Open Access Networks

"Open Access Networks present a layered model in which different service providers can share the same infrastructure. The participating entities agree in a set of rules that govern their collaboration. In a basic model [1], a neutral opera- tor takes care of the infrastructure. Then, multiple service providers offer a multiplicity of services such as TV, telephone and Internet access over the shared open access network. The service providers use a share of their incomes to pay to the network operator for the common infrastructure." (( )

Free Libre Networks

"Free (libre) networks are the network equivalent of free (libre) software. They are community-oriented and governed by rules that emphasize freedom. is an example initiative of a free network." (( )


* Article: Bottom-up Broadband: the Open Source Spirit in Networking Initiatives.


Abstract: "This paper discusses open networks. The open software and open hardware movements are relatively well established and known. Contrastingly, there is little discussion on open network initiatives. Software, hardware and networks are closely knitted together and therefore it makes sense to explore open networks by establishing parallelisms with open software.

The first part of this paper presents a classification of open networks, according to the degree of openness. Then we study the driving principles behind open networks to see that these principles are not that different from those found in open software development. The community-centered approach that has allowed the growth and the success of open software may as well represent the key strength of open networks. We point out the advantages of the peer-to-peer production model found in communities. Finally, we introduce the Bottom-up Broadband project that has the goal to study and promote open networks."

Excerpt: From the conclusion

"In this paper we have discussed open networks and how they are similar to open software. The focus is placed on the peer-to-peer organizational models that have shown to be at the same time flexible and effective. The clearest example of the success of this approach is the deployment of optical networks to interconnect farms in a rural area. In addition to the benefits of having broadband networks, these initiatives also offer advantages in terms of education, research and local economy. Open networking is just a new way of building networks that encourages collaboration instead of competition.

Bottom-up Broadband for Europe has been created to study, document and promote open networks with the ultimate goal of eradicating the digital divide. We are witnesses of a transformation in which the network users take a more active role and participate and guide the creation and development of networks driven by social motivations."

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