Sarantaporo DIY Wireless Network
= a mesh network deep in rural Greece
(based on interview with film director Ilias Marmaras)
"Sarantaporo is a village located far up in the mountains of Central Greece, closer to Albania and Macedonia than to Athens. Several years ago, some of the residents had the idea to make a website about the area for the residents of Sarantaporo and nearby villages. The aim of the website was to share knowledge about their fragmented mountain communities. However, when the site went live, the creators realized a slight flaw in their plan -- many people didn't have Internet access.
Being so remote, the major telecom companies never extended internet access that far into the region. The locals, however, created their own access to the internet via a wireless mesh network with the technical and financial help of AWMN and the European Union, respectively.
The network covers a large area and provides access not only to the mainly agricultural communities, who use it to share local farming knowledge and more, but also to local doctors, who are now able to reach national health service servers and prescribe medicines. In addition, there is free WiFi throughout the entire area, for any travellers to the area who might want a relaxing mountain holiday with good Internet.
The people inhabiting this remote area of Northern Greece are known as Akrites, considered “border dwellers” from the time of the Byzantine Empire. During the many wars with their neighbors, the Akrites were often sacrificed in order to protect and extend Greece's national boundaries. Now, with their autonomous network, they work to create a single community that spans not only their regional district, but the neighboring one to the north.
What these people are sharing is not just an Internet connection, they are also commoning their access. When you have a problem with your Internet connection, you don’t call Comcast to come fix the line, you look on the map and you see your nearest node.
Besides maintaining the network in a DIWO (Do It With Others) manner, and creating an atmosphere of cooperation among far-flung communities that were previously strangers, the Sarantaporo network is incorporating different groups of people into the community, like Farmer’s Cooperatives and techies. It is also creating an intergenerational space for learning." (http://www.shareable.net/blog/sarantaporo-residents-create-commons-in-rural-greece-through-a-diy-wireless-mesh-network)
"The film, Building Communities of Commons in Greece, aims to document the story of Sarantaporo and the concept of commoning through the autonomous wireless mesh network that the local community has installed in their mountainous village." (http://www.shareable.net/blog/sarantaporo-residents-create-commons-in-rural-greece-through-a-diy-wireless-mesh-network)