The great challenge for humanity —a challenge that involves governments, private actors, academia, civil society and society in general— is to connect the next billion individuals to the Internet, those whose access has been identified as a fundamental right, essential for the realization of their freedom of expression, association, access to information and other economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, as well as for meeting the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (resolution A /HRC/32/L.20 of the UN Human Rights Council, 2016).
Despite the above, many regions are still unable to access the Internet. Those installing infrastructure often ignore remote communities from which companies will not derive any commercial benefit.
In Brazil, many rural and urban communities have no Internet access at all. In certain communities in Amazonia, connecting to the Internet is the only way for people to communicate with the outside world, as they lack fixed telephony and postal services as well as any other conventional form of communication. In this sense, the digital divide adds to the pre-existing vulnerability of these communities, thus increasing economic and social inequalities.
In light of this situation, ARTIGO 19 has designed a project to support two communities and help them establish community Internet access providers for the purpose of promoting their digital inclusion and reducing the inequalities generated by the current divide. Based on a pilot that has already been implemented in some communities in Amazonia (Brazil), the initiative seeks to: organize activities and events in the different communities to present the model; plan and install the corresponding networks (donating the necessary equipment); train the population on the safe and secure use of the Internet, and influence regulatory frameworks for the establishment and development of community networks. The organization will also facilitate the creation of support networks comprised of technical experts and the participating communities themselves, who will be able to share their different experiences and optimize their use of the provider.