Sustainability and Community Networks

Fuchs, Christian (2017) Sustainability and Community Networks. Telematics and Informatics, 34 (2). pp. 628-639. ISSN 0736-5853

SDCommNet_preprint.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (305kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Community networks are IP-based computer networks that are operated by a community as a common good. In Europe, the most well-known community networks are Guifi in Catalonia, Freifunk in Berlin, Ninux in Italy, Funkfeuer in Vienna and the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network in Greece. This paper deals with community networks as alternative forms of Internet access and alternative infrastructures and asks: What does sustainability and unsustainability mean in the context of community networks? What advantages do such networks have over conventional forms of Internet access and infrastructure provided by large telecommunications corporations? In addition what disadvantages do they face at the same time? This article provides a framework for thinking dialectically about the un/sustainability of community networks. It provides a framework of practical questions that can be asked when assessing power structures in the context of Internet infrastructures and access. It presents an overview of environmental, economic, political and cultural contradictions that community networks may face as well as a typology of questions that can be asked in order to identify such contradictions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Acknowledgement: The research presented in this paper was conducted with funding provided by the EU Horizon 2020 project netCommons: Network Infrastructure as Commons,, grant agreement number: 688768
Subjects: University of Westminster > Media, Arts and Design
SWORD Depositor:
Depositing User:
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2016 11:46
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 22:02

Actions (login required)

Edit Item (Repository staff only) Edit Item (Repository staff only)