The Economics of Community Networking: Case Studies from the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

The Economics of Community Networking: Case Studies from the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

Mark Surman (Commons Consulting, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-69-8.ch027
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Abstract

It was a special moment. Non-profits were still figuring out the fax machine. No one had heard of the Internet. A few brave souls were stringing computers together, hanging modems and activists off the other end. The information — and the shifting political tide — were beginning to flow. News and passion trickled from the ANC headquarters in London to every nook and cranny of South Africa. Meetings were planned and new social movements dreamed over a few modems and a 286 in Toronto. Lobbying tactics, grand visions and messages home all emanated from a little computer room as thousands of environmentalists converged on Rio. At the center of all this was a band of computer activists calling themselves the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). The APC is a global coalition of nonprofit organizations who supply Internet content and connectivity services to civil society. APC was founded by a group of seven organizations who had all been providing e-mail and on-line discussion forums to non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) since the mid-1980s. This group included Alternex in Brazil, GreenNet in the UK, Nicarao in Nicaragua, IGC (PeaceNet and EcoNet) in the U.S., NordNet in Sweden, Pegasus in Australia and Web Networks in Canada. APC now includes 25 member networks located on six continents.

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