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Tuesday, December 19 • 12:10 - 12:40
Financing and building sustainable community networks - the Coolab experience (WS111)

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Proposer's Name: Mr. bruno vianna
Proposer's Organization: coolab
Co-Proposer's Name: Mr. marcelo saldanha
Co-Proposer's Organization: Instituto Bem Estar Brasil
Mr. Adriano BELISARIO, Civil Society, Coolab
Mr. Rafael ZANATTA, Civil Society, IDEC

Session Format: Flash Session - 30 Min

Country: Brazil
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Country: Brazil
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Speaker: Adriano Belisario
Speaker: Rafael Zanatta
Speaker: Marcelo Saldanha
Speaker: bruno caldas vianna
Speaker: Paulo Duarte Paulo Roberto Duarte de Souza Júnior

Content of the Session:
In this session we will make a short presentation of the Coolab experience and some partnerships with other NGOs that works with community providers. Coolab is a collective dedicated to the creation of free networks in Brazil. We provide loans and support for the communities to create their own infrastructure. When these loans are returned we can invest in new communities. This way we believe we can create a sustainable practice for bridging the digital divide.

Coolab's methodology itself provides empowerment of the community by ensuring that the design and installation is made by neighbors after a week of immersion and training.

In March 2017, Coolab was selected as most novel project in Mozilla’s Equal Rating challenge, which allowed us to start operations with a 30.000 USD endowment.

Relevance of the Session:
We see community networks as a most valuable tool to regain control of the Internet infrastructure, as well as the most democratic method for closing the digital divide. By taking control of the communications infrastructure, communities not only are able to decide on local connectivity governance, but they enables neighbors in different technical fields. Local networks foster the local economy more than the ones created by government or corporations, by creating local jobs and driving maintenance costs; they’re more efficient and resilient. Being able to design, build and manage their own infrastructure is a great incentive to the overall empowerment of the community and vital for shaping the future of the Internet as an open, accessible and democratic arena.

Tag 1: Digital Divide
Tag 2: Community Networks
Tag 3: Capacity Building

Marcelo Saldanha and Adriano Belisário will put the debate about legal issues in the case of brazilian regulations and how those regulations talk about community connectivity and democratization of the telecom
Laura Tresca will talk about the capacity building and the methodology used by coolab to create and make ignitions in the communities, including some examples of community networks created and their infrastructures
Rafael Zanatta will talk about the part of the methodology and the model created by coolab through a cooperative process
Paulo Duarte will talk about initiatives that Nupef and coolab creates together

We'll propose a gender balanced panel with different stakeholders.

Onsite Moderator: Bruno Vianna
Online Moderator: Bruno Freitas
Rapporteur: Adriano Belisário

Online Participation:
We want to offer an online experience as close to the onsite one as possible. The online moderator is very familiar with the issues debated and he will have time to prepare himself further in the months before the event. He will take questions and comments from the online audience and propose them at the most appropriate moments.

Discussion facilitation:
As the time is very limited, we will have the speakers talk very briefly, in a concise form. There will be no physical separation between speakers and audience; we will dispose chairs in a circle mixing all participants. This will, we believe the audience is more encouraged to engage.

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: No
Link to Report: 

Additional Speakers: 

Nils Brock, journalist and researcher (Phd at the Free University of Berlin) in the field of communication politics and media development. Freelance writer and correspondent in Latin America for 12 years (eg. Jungle World, welt-sichten, Nachrichtenpool Lateinamerika, NPLA). Co-founder of Flujos.org media collective in Mexico in 2007. Since then, he has had several experiences as media trainer and producer. International aidworker for AMARC Brasil (2012-2017). Since September 2017 project coordinator and media developer for NPLA in Berlin, Germany.


1. Introduction – 10 minutes

2. Presentation of Coolab proposal and results so far – 30 minutes

3. Open for participants’ questions – 20 minutes

4. Sharing of participants experiences on sustainable networks – 30 minutes

5. Debate on community-based ustainable networks – 45 minutes

6. Next steps and conclusions - 15 minutes


Session Organizers

Tuesday December 19, 2017 12:10 - 12:40 CET
Room XXVI - E United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)