Fresh Air – Free Networks | The Second Freifunk Summer Convention – FSC04

Mon Aug 09, 2004 slashdot notes:

“More than 150 participants (including Matt Westervelt, Seattle Wireless) from 30 countries will discuss on how to overcome the digital divide building wireless community networks. The freifunk.net summer convention 2004 takes place from 3rd to 10th September in Djursland, Denmark. The convention’s location is well chosen — DjurslandS.net (in Danish) itself is probably the most ambitious wireless community network of the world. About 200 volunteers installed more than 100 masts on the remote area’s 32 000 sq mi. Using the wireless standards 802.11a/b/g about 1’500 households enjoy a symmetric 1-2 MBit internet connection via WI-FI (the WI-FI network has 8 direct uplinks to the danish backbone and several DSL fallbacks). The wireless4development track organized by wire.less.dk will show other projects how to follow the DjurslandS.net example. The convention starts off with a 3 day program including VoIP, development for the meshcube and antenna building and finishes off with a 5 day hands-on workshop.”

fresh_air_-_free_networks

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

The freifunk.net summer convention 2004 is the next upcoming event in a series of meetings and workshops of “free networking'” enthusiasts, activists and professionals.

EARLIER MEETINGS

the BerLon (Berlin, London) meeting October 2002,
the Copenhagen Interpolation March 2003,
the freifunk summer convention Berlin September 2003
and the WOS3 in June 2004.

WHY MEET IN DJURSLAND?

During last years summer convention in Berlin Nils and Bjarke from http://djurslands.net showed us in an impressive presentation how to provide broadband internet access to one of Europe’s least populated regions. With selfbuilt antennas, a reused fiber backbone and lots of enthusiasm they managed to set up one of the biggest free networks so far. Read more about the DJURSLANDS.NET.

Why not plan the next summer convention in Djursland we thought to share some of these experiences. Further information on the Djurslands project can be found in this article: ArticleOnDjursland. Also have a look at MorePictures.

CORE GROUPS AND PROJECTS INVOLVED IN THESE MEETINGS WERE e.g.

consume.net, UK http://consume.net
freifunk.net, Germany http://freifunk.net
c-base.de, Berlin http://c-base.org
bootlab, Germany http://bootlab.org
djurslands.net, Denmark http://djurslands.net
wire.less.dk, Denmark http://wire.less.dk
picopeering agreement workgroup, http://picopeer.net
wavelan-berlin, Germany http://wavelan-berlin.de
hacklab, Sweden/spain, …

WELCOME

to this year’s freifunk.net summer convention. The international, three-day event has taken place in Djursland – Denmark and was followed by a five days hands-on workcamp. Read the StoryBehind on how it all started and why this years event was held in one of Europes most remote areas.

FIVE CONFERENCE TRACKS

were offered with lectures, workshops and discussions on:

  • wireless community networks
  • wireless4development – wireless in the developing world
  • wireless technology – like Radios, APs, Antennas, MeshNetworking, VoIP etc.
  • social and political aspects of FreeNetworking
  • The Community First Mile: Strategies for broadband access

YOU SHOULD PARTICIPATE!

“We need to think of ways to bring wireless applications to the developing world, so as to make use of unlicensed radio spectrum to deliver cheap and fast Internet access.”
Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, 2002

MEET THE PEOPLE WHO PUT IT IN PRACTICE

People from more than 30 nations have come to Djursland to experience free networking hands on. A contribution of 10 Euro per day was charged for:

  • 3 meals per day, Internet, power
  • basic accomodation (campsite, gym) and facilites

More comfortable AccommodatioN were also available (yet not included in the convention fee).

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  • Please check for latest news and important informations at Important Information
  • Deadline for registration and payment was Monday, 30.08.2004

NOTE: The conference language is English, therefore all lectures and workshops will be held in English.

If you have an interesting topic to present in Djursland or would like to offer a lecture or workshop, please use the CallForPapers page to add your ideas.

Thank you, Djursland! by Arun Mehta, mehta{at}vsnl{dot}com

Early September I was your guest for the freifunk.net summer convention. It came this year to Glesborg, because last year, at the Berlin convention, many mouths fell open when the project Nils Chr. Sorensen and Bjarke Nielsen talked so modestly about, turned out to be the most spectacular example of an entirely new way to look at telcommunications.

This years’ event was the best convention I have ever attended in my life. Typically, it doesn’t matter whether such an event is in Manila or London: all you get to see is the airport, the hotel, and some restaurants. In Glesborg the Djurslanders were with us in and outside the meetings. The men drove us around, the women baked cakes for us. Every tiny request was fulfilled. You set a high standard in hospitality indeed!

So I am hoping you will forgive us, “Sky of Blue”, that we were staring at our laptop screens, instead of dancing, when your excellent band played for us on Saturday night, and for numerous other occasions when we may have been thoughtless, for our minds were on bigger things. To understand what I mean, you need to first read http://www.netparadox.com/fccletter.html, an open letter to the US telecom regulator, and the surrounding discussion. Several dozen of the top telecom and Internet experts of the world have stated unequivocally, that “Internet-based end-to-end data networking … is causing the immediate obsolescence of the vertically integrated, circuit-based telephony industry of 127 years vintage,” and that they think this is a good thing, which the regulator should do nothing to stop.

Scandinavia is no stranger to innovation in telecom: Nokia and Ericsson have been world leaders in the last decade. However, the business model their client telecom service providers follow, is fatally flawed. This, of course, should not come as news to the Djurslanders, who unsuccessfully begged no less than 35 Internet service providers, to connect Djursland’s farms with broadband. But you can thank your stars that they turned you down, for what Djursland has become, is an unlikely dark horse: the current leader of a pack of Davids, that will tear the Goliath telecom companies down.

You are, however, technology leaders in a field that is changing very rapidly, so this crown will not rest on your heads very long, unless you do something about it. But how is a rural area beset with so many problems to compete in technological innovation with companies that can throw around billions, as they did in the dotcom boom?

The problems in Djursland were plain to see, and the best illustration was inadvertently provided by a beautiful check-out girl at the local departmental store. I asked her hesitantly if she spoke English, and her manner in saying “of course” suggested that she had spoken the language all her life. How many languages did she speak, I wondered. A quick count on her fingers provided the answer “Seven.”

I cannot think of a better place in the world than Djursland to bring up children, but these days kids are rightfully ambitious, and who can blame them for leaving after their school education, when far more challenging opportunities beckon their ample talents?

I have a humble suggestion for addressing these problems: you could set up a cutting edge research laboratory and training institute for community wireless networking in Djursland, where we already have an excellent site for trying out new technologies in the field. People from other parts of the world could participate in the projects undertaken by the lab from wherever they live, and also teach at the training institute. A special focus of the institute could be to investigate how the availability of ubiquitous broadband in rural areas could be used to rejuvenate the agricultural economy: maybe make agriculture “sexy” again. Such an institute could provide your kids with an excellent reason to stay, and can be set up for very little money. The hard part is attracting faculty. But guess what: all those delicious cakes we devoured could just turn out to be an excellent investment for you — these youngsters are the top telecommunications experts of the world today, and they would be happy to teach and participate in projects via the Internet. When the need arises, it also will not be hard to attract them to this idyllic country for face-to-face interactions either. What motivates me to bring you this suggestion, is this remarkable word of Danish I picked up, “Boevl.” I am told that it is often used negatively, to suggest a headache of a problem that nobody else will take care of for you. But Bjarke and his team found a positive use for the word, in the form of a ‚Boevl environment’, a weekly gathering of people with computer problems, who took charge of their own problems. The difference between an activist and a normal person, I always say, is that when an activist looks at a problem, she sees an opportunity. For 21st Century Vikings, Boevl could become their motto. If only it were easier to pronounce.

After the Djursland’s Summerconvention the local community received a lot of public attention and almost 1 Mio. EUR public funding from the EU.

Archived Website: http://freifunk.net/sc2004/

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