Wifi als service aan de toerist in Fryslân

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1 Wifi als service aan de toerist in Fryslân Theoretisch kader voor de vorming van provinciaal beleid Ing. Job Oppenhuizen Fryslân Ring 7 november 2013 Rapportnr. P2013_08 0

2 Rapportnr. P2013_08 1

3 Inhoud Kader... Fout! Bladwijzer niet gedefinieerd. 1 Inleiding Deskresearch Stand van zaken met betrekking tot wifi-projecten Wifi-projecten wereldwijd Wifi in Nederland Initiatieven op provinciaal niveau Initiatieven in Fryslân Technology assessment Frequenties voor wifi Gezondheidsaspecten van wifi-netwerken Wifi en network operators Alternatieve draadloze communicatietechnieken Draadloze netwerken en vaste breedbandverbindingen Organisatorisch kader Modellen en hun business case EU-regelgeving Begrippenlijst (alfabetische volgorde) Bijlagen: Rapportnr. P2013_08 2

4 Kader Het voorliggende document is onderdeel van een drietal documenten: 1. Theoretisch kader, wat nu voor u ligt. In dit document wordt ingegaan op de theorie waarop de uiteindelijke WiFi-uitrol gebaseerd zal zijn. 2. Praktisch kader. Dit document beschrijft de ervaringen opgedaan in de pilot locaties in Fryslân, inclusief de keuze voor de technische oplossing en de uitvoering. Kortom, in dit document wordt u meegenomen in de lessons learned uit de pilots. 3. Beleidskader. Bouwend op zowel het theoretisch als het praktisch kader van voorgenoemde documenten, gaan we hier in op de uitgangspunten voor een te volgen beleid. Tevens is een voorstel tot een proces voor een uitvoeringsregeling opgenomen. 1 Inleiding De aanwezigheid van internetvoorzieningen op de plaats van bestemming wordt steeds belangrijker voor het aantrekken en vasthouden van toeristen. Wel of niet wifi kunnen gebruiken bepaalt of een toerist voor een camping, haven, watersportplaats of zelfs provincie kiest. Als waterrijk gebied met een tot nog toe trouwe schare zomertoeristen neemt de Provinsje Fryslân dit gegeven serieus. 1 Om op korte termijn tegemoet te komen aan de wifi-behoefte in toeristisch relevante gebieden en om ervaring op te doen met de hiervoor benodigde techniek en organisatie heeft de Provinsje Fryslân dit voorjaar aan Fryslân Ring opdracht verstrekt tot het opzetten en begeleiden van pilots in de watersportplaatsen Heeg en Woudsend (Fase 1), later aangevuld met pilots in de plaatsen Langweer, Appelscha, Sneek en Harlingen (Fase 2). 1 NRIT Media Nieuwsbrief Juni 2013 zie bijlage 1 Rapportnr. P2013_08 3

5 Nederlanders kunnen niet meer op vakantie zonder Internet Social travel is de nieuwe vakantietrend. Tijdens het vakantieverblijf is voor veel Nederlanders een internetverbinding belangrijk om te kunnen blijven en en facebooken. Dit blijkt uit een online onderzoek onder respondenten naar houding en gedrag van Nederlanders voor en tijdens de vakantie. Hoewel volledig ontstressen en ontsnappen aan het dagelijks bestaan de meest genoemde reden voor een vakantie is (34%), geeft de helft van onze landgenoten aan zijn/haar tijdens de vakantie wel te checken. Een derde logt in op Facebook om onder meer te kijken wat vrienden aan het doen zijn. 8% begeeft zich op Twitter. Na ontstressen staat quality time met familie en/of vrienden hoog op de agenda tijdens de vakantie (25%). Volgens: NRIT Media Juni 2013 Reeds in Fase 1 bleek dat de Provinsje Fryslân met dit initiatief tegemoet komt aan de noodzaak/wens om middels het beschikbaar stellen van free wifi Fryslân aantrekkelijk te houden als bestemming voor toeristen. Vanuit de pilot locaties is door de winkeliers enthousiasme gemerkt bij de toeristen; ook de campergebruikers in Langweer waren positief. Uiteraard is Fryslân als vakantiebestemming groter dan de pilot locaties. Ook elders in de provincie zijn toeristisch relevante locaties waar de beschikbaarheid van wifi in de openbare ruimte meerwaarde heeft. De pilots in de voorgenoemde locaties hebben de aandacht in de media en ook van andere geïnteresseerde toeristische plaatsen getrokken. In de pilotfase zijn de volgende criteria bepalend geweest bij het maken van de keuze voor een locatie: Openbare ruimte waarvan gebruik wordt gemaakt door toeristen en passanten. Een betrokken collectief zoals een winkeliersvereniging, ondernemersvereniging, VVV of dorpsbelang. Verscheidenheid in locaties: dorp, stad, waterrijke of bosrijke omgeving, et cetera. Om het beschikbaar stellen van wifi op meerdere toeristisch relevante plekken in de provincie te kunnen faciliteren, wil de Provinsje Fryslân goed en doeltreffend beleid opstellen. De coöperatieve vereniging Fryslân Ring heeft opdracht gekregen om op basis van de lessons learned in de provinciale pilots, de ontwikkelingen in techniek en ervaringen elders, advies uit te brengen dat als uitgangspunt kan dienen voor het te formuleren beleid. Rapportnr. P2013_08 4

6 In dit rapport wordt aan de hand van de opeenvolgende stappen Theorie, Uitvoering en Beheer een voorstel gedaan voor een methodiek tot beleidsvorming. Als theoretisch kader wordt een overzicht gegeven van de mogelijkheden van wifi, op basis van initiatieven wereldwijd, in Nederland en in de eigen provincie. Techniek en business modellen zullen kort en bondig aan de orde komen. Dit rapport wordt afgesloten met een advies ten aanzien van: techniek(en); business model; Rapportnr. P2013_08 5

7 2 Deskresearch Middels deskresearch heeft Fryslân Ring actuele informatie verzameld ten aanzien van de huidige stand van zaken op het gebied van wifi. Daarbij willen we een overzicht geven van de toepassing en het gebruik van wifi; de toegepaste technieken alsook de mogelijke organisatorische modellen. Een goede basiskennis van de wifi techniek, ontwikkelingen en mogelijkheden voor de toekomst zijn onmisbaar om de Provinsje Fryslân in staat te stellen weloverwogen keuzes te maken. 2.1 Stand van zaken met betrekking tot wifi-projecten De wereld is sterk in beweging, zeker als het gaat om internet dekking. Voor wifi is dat niet anders. In dit hoofdstuk zullen we het gebruik van wifi vanuit verschillende invalshoeken belichten aan de hand van een aantal voorbeelden uit eigen land en daarbuiten, uiteraard aangevuld met onze eigen ervaringen in Fryslân Wifi-projecten wereldwijd Wereldwijd is wifi aan een sterke opmars bezig. De digitale mens wil overal toegang hebben tot de digitale snelweg. Op verschillende internet fora (als voorbeeld MuniWireless 2 ) worden wifiinitiatieven beschreven. Hieronder volgen een aantal voorbeelden. Tel Aviv, Israel In Tel Aviv is gratis wifi voor toeristen gerealiseerd, specifiek langs de stranden en op de uitgaansplekken in het centrum. Het achterliggende doel van dit initiatief is de toerist te helpen de dure roaming tarieven te omzeilen. Makati, Filippijnen Op de Filippijnen is een andere toepassing voor wifi in gebruik. Daar wordt wifi gebruikt voor het doorgeven van video surveillance beelden. Ook deze toepassing vereist veel dataverkeer en kan met wifi prima worden ondersteund. 2 Rapportnr. P2013_08 6

8 Long Beach, Californië Long Beach Californië heeft alle parken in de stad van wifi voorzien. De bezoekers worden aangemoedigd om de wifi ook te gebruiken voor het rapporteren van vandalisme en graffiti. Taiwan Om in verschillende steden in Taiwan toegang te verkrijgen tot het free wifi-netwerk, moet de toerist zich melden bij een van de lokale toerist informatie kantoren. Op deze kantoren krijgt de toerist een inlogcode voor de gratis wifi-verbinding Wifi in Nederland Wat gebeurt er in Nederland met betrekking tot wifi-netwerken? Fryslân Ring heeft een inventarisatie gemaakt van initiatieven en mogelijkheden. In Nederland zijn verschillende andere initiatieven voor gratis wifi 3. In deze paragraaf gaan wij in op de initiatieven van BullsEye en Wireless Leiden. Bij deze inventarisatie maken we gebruik van de begrippen open en gesloten modellen. Voor een open model geldt dat dit voor iedereen toegankelijk is en geen beperking kent ten aanzien van het kunnen downloaden van programma s (apps) en media. Voor een gesloten model geldt dat enkel gebruikers (klanten) van de betreffende operator toegang hebben tot de wifi-dienst, dan wel dat de wifi-dienst alleen toegankelijk is onder voorwaarde van het bekijken van één of meerdere advertenties of als betaalde service (Pay per Use of soortgelijke modellen). 3 Rapportnr. P2013_08 7

9 Een aantal voorbeelden van initiatieven in Nederland: Bullseye 4 Eén van de aanbieders op de Nederlandse markt is Bullseye. Deze organisatie biedt gratis wifi aan voor de gebruiker. Het businessmodel dat ten grondslag ligt aan deze dienst is gebaseerd op het feit dat het aanleveren van bezoekers en dus het genereren van gericht internetverkeer in principe geld oplevert, het zogenaamde peering-model. De gebruiker komt via het platform van Bullseye op bijvoorbeeld YouTube terecht. Met YouTube en andere dienstenaanbieders zijn afspraken gemaakt over een fee voor elke gebruiker die via het wifinetwerk binnenkomt. Dit peering model wordt binnen de internetwereld wel vaker gebruikt. Voorwaarde voor het peering model is schaalgrootte, zowel wat betreft het aantal eindgebruikers als het platform zelf. Het laatste nieuws 5 over Bullseye was dat dit netwerk zou worden uitgerold in de 37 grootste steden van Nederland, uiteraard vanuit de verwachting dat dit ook de steden zijn die het meeste verkeer en dus inkomsten genereren. Bullseye heeft in de persberichten aangegeven dat de uitrol zou starten in de tweede helft van Op dit moment is er echter nog geen ervaring met dit netwerk en is (voor zover ons bekend) nog in geen enkele stad een netwerk van Bullseye in de lucht. Op de website van Bullseye is na de aangekondigde landelijke introductie geen verder nieuws meer gemeld. Wireless Leiden Wireless Leiden is een publiek initiatief waarin lokale personen en bedrijven hun internetverbinding beschikbaar stellen voor gratis wifi. Dit initiatief is onderdeel van het onderzoek 6 van de Technische Universiteit Delft naar de betrokkenheid van individuen bij een gratis wifi-initiatief. Het al of niet succesvol exploiteren van een gratis netwerk is volgens dit onderzoek grotendeels afhankelijk van de kosten versus de baten en de inzet van de verschillende stakeholders in dergelijke projecten. Zie verder bijlage 2 (Thesis Report wifi networks TUDelft) Infrastructure_Systems_and_Services/Sectie_Economie_van_Infrastructuren/Onderzoek/Wi- Fi/THESIS_REPORT_End_version.pdf Rapportnr. P2013_08 8

10 2.1.3 Initiatieven op provinciaal niveau In Nederland zijn op provinciaal niveau een aantal initiatieven. Zeeland loopt voorop en heeft een werkend wifi-netwerk 7 voor toeristen. In Noord-Holland ondersteunt de provincie wifi-initiatieven middels een subsidieregeling. In de provincie Drenthe is men gestart met een onderzoek naar de haalbaarheid en noodzaak van een wifi-netwerk voor toeristen met als doel: het toerisme te stimuleren, bestaande toeristen vast te houden en nieuwe toeristen aan te trekken. Voorbeelden van provinciale initiatieven: Free Wifi Zeeland Free WiFi in Zeeland is een initiatief van VVV Zeeland, ondersteund door de provincie en als eerste gemeente Veere. Naast deze deelnemers is ook de provinciale kabelmaatschappij Delta als internetleverancier betrokken bij het initiatief. Opvallend in het concept van Free WiFi Zeeland is de inhoud van de startpagina waar de gebruiker terechtkomt; die wordt beheerd door de VVV. Noord-Holland De Provincie Noord-Holland heeft onlangs een subsidieregeling 8 gepubliceerd. De regeling ondersteunt wifi-initiatieven van gemeenten door het beschikbaar stellen van financiële middelen. Van sturing op een uniforme omgeving met dito inhoud is echter geen sprake. Dit is een groot verschil met Zeeland en met de pilots in Fryslân. De kracht van Zeeland (en dus ook die van Fryslân) is de uniforme omgeving: de toerist komt altijd op de openingspagina, waarop alle activiteiten in de provincie, stad of dorp worden vermeld. De kernelementen uit de regeling zijn als volgt: Aanschaf en installatie van wifi-apparatuur ten behoeve van wifi-punten in de provincie Noord-Holland en het beheer hiervan uiterlijk tot en met 31 december Voor wifi-apparatuur is het subsidieplafond vastgesteld op ,-. Per subsidieaanvraag bedraagt de subsidie 50% van de subsidiabele kosten tot maximaal , https://webloket.vind.sdu.nl/189/product/producten/15459 Rapportnr. P2013_08 9

11 2.1.4 Initiatieven in Fryslân In Fryslân zijn op meerdere plaatsten wifi-initiatieven ontstaan, zowel gratis als betaalde varianten. In dit hoofdstuk worden een paar voorbeelden genoemd ter illustratie, waaronder WiFree in Sneek, de passantenhaven in Joure, het Medisch Centrum Leeuwarden, de Prinsentuin en de binnenstad van Leeuwarden en als laatste het initiatief op Vlieland: VlieFi. Een aantal voorbeelden van initiatieven in Fryslân: Sneek WiFree 9 In Sneek is een aantal jaren terug het initiatief WiFree gestart. Op meerdere locaties in Sneek zijn zenders geplaatst en kan de toerist via een code toegang krijgen tot het wifi-netwerk. De samenhang van het netwerk met de lokale ondernemers moet zorgen voor de dekking van de kosten. De reclame inkomsten van de lokale ondernemers dienen de exploitatie te dekken. Dit is in de praktijk echter op kleine schaal moeilijk vol te houden. Op meerdere plaatsen zijn dit soort initiatieven dan ook een stille dood gestorven. De situatie van WiFree in Sneek is op dit moment niet helder. De website bestaat nog maar is al enige tijd niet meer bijgewerkt. Passantenhaven Joure De passantenhaven in Joure biedt al wifi sinds Sinds kort wordt dit gratis aangeboden. De reden hiervoor heeft te maken met de ervaring die men heeft opgedaan met de uitgifte van de wifi-code kraskaarten. Het bleek in de praktijk dat het uitgeven en verkopen van deze kaarten veel werk is en uiteindelijk weinig resultaat oplevert. Daarnaast is de keuze voor een gratis wifi-service of een betaalde variant een criterium voor een passant om te blijven liggen of door te gaan naar een volgende plek. In de praktijk wordt in Joure de wifi-voorziening in de wintermaanden uit gezet, omdat het wifi signaal niet alleen passanten maar in de donkere avonden vooral ook de lokale jeugd aantrok. 9 Rapportnr. P2013_08 10

12 MCL in Leeuwarden Het ziekenhuis in Leeuwarden en Zorggroep Noorderbreedte rollen wifi uit op zorglocaties in de provincie. In de eerste plaats voor toepassing door de eigen werknemers: in het MCL zijn bijvoorbeeld rol-pc s op de afdelingen en op locaties van Zorggroep Noorderbreedte wordt gepilot met tablets en Ipads. Over dit gesloten bedrijfs-wifi worden dan vaak één of meer open wifi-netwerken voor de bezoekers aangeboden. Deze vrij toegankelijke netwerken hebben een wisselende performance. Het aantal gebruikers en de beschikbare bandbreedte zijn factoren die hier invloed op hebben. Leeuwarden (Prinsentuin en binnenstad) In het najaar van 2011 heeft de gemeente Leeuwarden vergunning verleend voor de plaatsing van wifi-zenders in de Prinsentuin. Deze zes zenders zijn inmiddels operationeel. Voor de actie rond het glazen huis is sprake van de plaatsing van nog eens 50 zenders in de binnenstad van Leeuwarden. De status daarvan is voor ons op dit moment nog niet bekend. VlieFi In het voorjaar van 2013 is op Vlieland een wifi-netwerk opgeleverd waarmee eilandgasten in de druk bezochte gebieden beschikken over een goede internetverbinding op hun mobiele apparaten. Het netwerk is opgebouwd via een snelle glasvezelverbinding vanaf het vaste land met de modernste apparatuur en technologie. Gasten van het eiland kopen toegang tot het netwerk voor de periode van een dag, een weekend, een midweek of een week. Met de aanschaf van VlieFi krijgen gebruikers automatisch de mogelijkheid om de Vlieland App op hun mobiele telefoon te zetten waarin op allerlei gebieden de laatste informatie over activiteiten en bezienswaardigheden. Hiermee is VlieFi een prachtige service voor de eilandgasten. Het netwerk wordt gevoed vanaf de hoofdzender op de vuurtoren. VlieFi streeft ernaar de eilandgasten vanaf aankomst met de boot tijdens hun verblijf op Vlieland zorgeloos gebruik te kunnen laten maken van een snelle internetverbinding. Zo kan dat nu al in de gehele dorpsstraat, rond de vuurtoren, in de jachthaven, op het havenplein bij de aankomst van de veerboot, bij Badhuys, op het strand bij Badhuys en op Camping Stortemelk. Rapportnr. P2013_08 11

13 2.2 Technology assessment In dit deel van dit rapport gaan we in op de technologische mogelijkheden van wifi. Daarnaast geven we mogelijke alternatieven aan. Voor een toelichting op gebruikte technische begrippen verwijzen we graag naar de begrippenlijst achterin dit document Frequenties voor wifi Binnen een wifi-netwerk vindt informatieoverdracht plaats middels radiogolven, ook wel radiofrequentie straling genoemd. Daarin is wifi niet uniek. Talloze alledaagse toepassingen zoals navigatie in de auto, AM- en FM-radiouitzendingen of mobiele telefonie maken eveneens gebruik van radiofrequentie. Om te voorkomen dat deze toepassingen elkaar in de ether in de weg zitten, wordt er gebruik gemaakt van toegewezen frequentiegebieden. Zo communiceert navigatieapparatuur binnen een lager frequentiegebied dan bijvoorbeeld FM-radio of mobiele telefonie. Draadloze (vakjargon voor wifi) netwerken maken gebruik van zeer hoge frequenties, de zogeheten UHF- en SHF-band (Ultra High resp. Super High Frequency). IEEE De vakterm is afkomstig van het Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), en om precies te zijn groep 11 van het standaardencomité. Die heeft in 1997 onder nummer 802 een verzameling standaarden voor draadloze netwerken neergelegd. Dat resulteerde in de aanduiding IEEE , waarbij a de eerste standaard werd. Aanvankelijk werd gebruik gemaakt van de zeer hoogfrequente 5,8 Ghz band. Bij de daaropvolgende b specificatie werd voor de vrije 2,4 Ghz band gekozen; vanwege de lagere kosten (er is geen vergunning nodig) en een groter bereik, omdat een lagere frequentie langere en dus verder dragende radiogolven oplevert dan een hoge frequentie. Rapportnr. P2013_08 12

14 Single-band In huis moesten b netwerken de 2,4 Ghz band delen met magnetrons, radiografisch bestuurbaar speelgoed, bluetooth-apparatuur en andere producten. Door met verschillende kanalen binnen de band te werken, werd voorkomen dat de televisie op ruis sprong als een lid van het gezin een beker melk in de magnetron opwarmde. Maar helaas is het aantal kanalen niet onbeperkt. Een fabrikant als Toshiba deed nog een poging door laptops op de markt te brengen waarbij de gebruiker kon kiezen tussen een frequentie van 5,8 of 2,4 Ghz. Echter, de derde wifi-standaard onder de naam g maakte snel opmars en evenals zijn voorganger werkte deze enkel op de 2,4 Ghz frequentieband. Dual-band In 2009 werd de vierde specificatie geïntroduceerd: IEEE n. Dit zogeheten n-netwerk is de huidige standaard voor wifi en ondersteunt gelijktijdig zowel de 2,4 Ghz als de 5,8 Ghz band, die inmiddels ook vrij van licentie was geworden. Deze dual-band levert twee voordelen op: een vertienvoudiging van de maximale doorvoersnelheid van data binnen het netwerk ten opzichte van de voorgaande standaard (802.11g) èn minder kans op verstoring door andere apparaten of naburige wifi-netwerken omdat er een grotere bandbreedte qua frequentie beschikbaar is. De maximale snelheid van datadoorvoer op een draadloos n-netwerk is in theorie meer dan 500 Mbps. In de praktijk wordt deze snelheid echter zelden of nooit gehaald en liggen de prestaties tussen de 60 en 90 Mbps bij een frequentie van 2,4 Ghz en tussen de 80 en 140 Mbps bij 5,8 Ghz. Keuze voor single-band Voor algemeen internetgebruik zoals het bezoeken van websites en verkeer is de snelheid van datadoorvoer bij een frequentie van 2,4 Ghz ruim voldoende en is vanuit dat oogpunt dual-band (vooralsnog) geen noodzaak. Wanneer een wifi-netwerk echter te maken krijgt met verstoring door andere apparatuur of concurrerende wifi-netwerken die eveneens een beroep doen op het beperkte aantal beschikbare kanalen, biedt de 5,8 Ghz band een mogelijke oplossing. Een relevante afweging daarbij is dat laptops, smartphones en andere apparaten dan wel toegerust moeten zijn voor communicatie op (ook) deze frequentie. Dat is op dit moment lang niet altijd het geval. Omdat bovendien zoals eerder aangegeven een laagfrequenter 2,4 Ghz wifi-netwerk het voordeel van een grotere reikwijdte van het signaal biedt, hebben we voor de uitrol in de locaties binnen de pilotfase in Fryslân gekozen voor singleband wifi-netwerken. Rapportnr. P2013_08 13

15 2.2.2 Gezondheidsaspecten van wifi-netwerken Over de gezondheidsaspecten met betrekking tot wifi-netwerken is in Groningen door TNO onderzoek gedaan. Twee citaten uit dit rapport 10 : Citaat 1: De Britse gezondheidsdeskundige Malcolm Sperrin vertelde aan BBC News dat de wifi-straling keer lager is dan de straling van een magnetron. Bovendien kan het weefsel van het menselijk lichaam door radiogolven alleen opgewarmd worden indien er van dichtbij contact is. Volgens het Health Protection Agency zorgt een verblijf van één jaar in de buurt van een wifi-zender voor evenveel straling als een gsm-gesprek van twintig minuten. Citaat 2: Vergeleken met andere stralingsbronnen (televisie, radio, telefoons, oppiepers, magnetrons, etc.) valt de straling van een wifi-netwerk in het niet. Met andere netwerken (radio) hebben we al meer dan een eeuw ervaring en mogen we concluderen dat het gebruik van wifi volstrekt veilig is. Half augustus 2013 verscheen er in het nieuws een artikel over een proef 11 van Deense scholieren. Deze proef heeft in Denemarken een prijs gewonnen en is daardoor trending topic op de sociale media geworden. In dit onderzoek hebben scholieren een tweetal testopstellingen gemaakt waarbij tuinkerszaad werd gepland. Een van de opstellingen werd blootgesteld aan wifi-straling, de andere opstelling niet. De conclusie van de scholieren was dat wifi veel invloed heeft op de groei van tuinkers. De resultaten van dit onderzoek hebben flink wat stof doen opwaaien, maar de betrouwbaarheid van dit onderzoek is door meerdere onderzoeksbureaus (waaronder TNO 12 ) in twijfel getrokken. De twijfel over de identieke omgevingsfactoren en het identiek uitvoeren van de proef zijn voor deze bureaus reden om dit onderzoek als niet valide te beschouwen Zie bijlage 3 Praktijk test elektromagnetische straling WiFi netwerk Groningen Rapportnr. P2013_08 14

16 2.2.3 Wifi en network operators Voor het begrip network operator hanteren we de volgende definitie: eigenaar van een telecommunicatie infrastructuur en leverancier van netwerkdiensten over deze infrastructuur. In Nederland zijn de bekendste partijen: KPN, Ziggo, UPC, T-Mobile en Tele2. KPN KPN is als oudste telecommunicatie leverancier één van de spelers als het gaat om wifi-netwerken. Het wifi-netwerk van KPN kenmerkt zich door de HotSpots die op verschillende locaties verspreid door het land zijn aangebracht. KPN HotSpots, zoals de dienst door KPN is genoemd, kent in essentie twee businessmodellen: Betaald De eerste businessvorm is de betaalde variant, waarbij voor gebruik van KPN HotSpots een abonnement moet worden afgesloten. Dit kan op meerdere manieren: als aanvullende dienst op een vaste internetaansluiting van KPN; als extra dienst bij een mobiel internetaccount bij KPN en als laatste is het ook mogelijk om kraskaarten te kopen waarmee voor een bepaalde tijd van internet via een HotSpot gebruik kan worden gemaakt. Onbetaald De tweede businessvorm biedt de gebruiker een gratis variant van de wifi-dienst, waarbij KPN de dienst aan een tussenpersoon verkoopt die hem vervolgens aan de gebruiker aanbiedt. Te denken valt hierbij bijvoorbeeld aan de wifi-mogelijkheden bij tankstations. Deze gratis service wordt dan door de tankstationhouder mogelijk gemaakt. KPN vraagt voor het beschikbaar stellen van de wifi HotSpot geld van de tankstationhouder. Rapportnr. P2013_08 15

17 Twee voorbeelden van andere KPN HotSpot diensten recent in het nieuws: Wifi op treinstations 13 Een ander recent voorbeeld is het bericht dat op diverse grote stations reizigers tijdens het wachten op de trein nu ook gratis draadloos kunnen internetten. KPN blijkt op verschillende locaties de eigen HotSpots onaangekondigd open te hebben gesteld. Op de stations Utrecht Centraal, Rotterdam Centraal, Schiphol en Amsterdam CS, Sloterdijk, Zuid en Amstel (in totaal 48 NS stations) kan iedereen met zijn smartphone, tablet of laptop gratis inloggen. Waarschijnlijk is dit in opdracht of samenwerking met NS (zie ook het artikel in Sp!ts). Na het inloggen op de Hotspot wordt namelijk verwezen naar de website en mobiele site van de vervoerder. Wifi bij Albert Heijn 14 Albert Heijn rust alle filialen uit met gratis wifi voor de bezoekers. De supermarktketen heeft gekozen voor de wifi HotSpots van KPN. Albert Heijn stelt deze service gratis beschikbaar aan de winkelbezoekers, met een maximum tijd van drie uur per bezoek. T-Mobile In het openbaar vervoer is T-Mobile op dit moment de grootste aanbieder van gratis wifi. Dit geldt zowel voor de spoorwegen als voor de busbedrijven. Daarmee is T-Mobile sterk aanwezig in deze markt. Ook hier geldt dat de kosten voor het wifi-netwerk door de vervoersbedrijven worden gedragen. De reiziger ervaart wifi echter als een gratis service. Wellicht interessant om aan te geven dat dit niet zoals in de vorige alinea om een dienst gaat die enkel voor eigen klanten toegankelijk is. Een test in de trein van Leeuwarden naar Heerenveen met twee mobiele telefoons, met in de één een KPN-simkaart en de ander een T-Mobile sim-kaart heeft dit bewezen. Met beide telefoons kon onbeperkt gebruik worden gemaakt van T-Mobile wifi op het spoor Bron: Sp!ts 19 augustus 2013 (http://www.spitsnieuws.nl/archives/tech/2013/08/opeens-gratis-internet-op-treinstations) Rapportnr. P2013_08 16

18 Voorbeelden van gratis internet in het openbaar vervoer: NS NS en T-Mobile bieden gratis draadloos internet in de trein aan. Draadloos internet is nu nog in een beperkt aantal Intercity's beschikbaar, maar dat worden er steeds meer. Een Intercity voorzien van draadloos internet is te herkennen aan het wifi logo aan de buitenzijde van de trein. Draadloos internet in de trein is gratis. Arriva Arriva heeft begin dit jaar alle honderd treinen voorzien van gratis wifi. Daarnaast hebben de bussen in de regio s Zuid-Holland Noord en Zuidwest Friesland gratis wifi. Cijfers over het wifi-gebruik zijn echter niet bekend gemaakt. RET Het Rotterdamse Elektronische Tram (RET) heeft al haar 256 bussen voorzien van wifi. In deze bussen vinden dagelijks meer dan wifi-sessies plaats. De treinen en trams van RET zijn op dit moment nog niet voorzien van wifi. Het bedrijf is aan het onderzoeken wat de mogelijkheden zijn om draadloos internet te installeren in de treinen en trams. Connexxion Connexxion is nog bezig met proeven omtrent wifi in bussen en treinen. De bussen in de regio Arnhem Nijmegen hebben sinds december vorig jaar al wel wifi. De bussen in de regio Eindhoven krijgen in het tweede kwartaal van 2013 wifi aan boord. EBS EBS heeft al haar 211 bussen voorzien van wifi. Verder kan EBS geen cijfers geven over het wifi-gebruik. EBS maakt voor de wifi-verbinding gebruik van een 3G netwerk van Vodafone. Als één van de weinige openbaar vervoer bedrijven is T-Mobile bij EBS niet de leverancier. Rapportnr. P2013_08 17

19 Tele2 Tele2 levert wifi aan de abonnementhouders van Tele2. Dit doet het bedrijf op dezelfde wijze als Ziggo en KPN; namelijk in de vorm van een privé wifi-netwerk via het modem dat bij de vaste lijn wordt meegeleverd. Daarnaast is Tele2 actief op de markt van draadloze communicatie en kan de operator wifi-oplossingen in bepaalde gebieden bieden. Gratis wifi is op dit moment echter niet een dienst die op grote schaal door Tele2 wordt aangeboden. De kabelmaatschappijen In Nederland vertegenwoordigen Ziggo en UPC samen het grootste deel van de voormalige CAI 15 - netwerken. Deze netwerken zijn de afgelopen jaren steeds meer telecommunicatie netwerken geworden en kunnen hoge bandbreedtes verzorgen. Op deze wijze ligt er een logische relatie met een wifi-infrastructuur. In juni 2013 heeft Ziggo WifiSpots geïntroduceerd: een vorm van gratis wifi waarin de netwerken bij de (voornamelijk particuliere) abonnees door middel van het standaard modem worden opengezet voor derden. Dit levert lokaal een verspreid aanbod van wifi zenders op. De WifiSpots staan enkel open voor eindgebruikers van Ziggo die ook thuis hun WifiSpot hebben aangezet. Het netwerk is daarmee in essentie een gesloten model. UPC heeft op dit moment geen actief wifi uitrol beleid. De verwachting is dat UPC Ziggo zal volgen. Naast het gesloten netwerk van WifiSpots van en voor Ziggo klanten, is de kabelaar ook actief met open wifi-netwerken die gefinancierd worden door de betreffende gemeente en waarbij gebruik wordt gemaakt van de straatkasten. Uitbreiding van deze netwerken gebeurt op basis van werkelijke kosten. Deze open variant lijkt op de variant van andere providers zoals eerder gemeld. 15 Centrale Antenne Inrichtingen Rapportnr. P2013_08 18

20 2.2.4 Alternatieve draadloze communicatietechnieken Als alternatief voor wifi zijn een drietal technieken mogelijk: straalverbindingen, satellietverbindingen en 4G netwerken. Straalverbindingen Straalverbindingen worden veel toegepast om van locatie A naar locatie B een verbinding te kunnen maken. Voor de ontvangst van dit soort verbindingen zijn vaste antenne-opstellingen noodzakelijk. Gebruik van deze methode van telecommunicatie vereist dat de eindgebruiker over specifieke apparatuur beschikt. Met een mobiele telefoon of laptop kan zonder speciale ontvangstinstallatie niet op dit soort netwerken worden gewerkt. Dit is dan ook de reden dat straalverbindingen als alternatief afvallen. Satellietverbindingen Een ander draadloos alternatief is de satellietverbinding. Ook hiervoor geldt echter dat het nauw luistert met de apparatuur. Deze wordt voor specifieke doeleinden in bijvoorbeeld maritieme communicatie maar ook voor minder toegankelijke omgevingen zoals berg- of woestijngebieden gemaakt en verkocht. Met hetzelfde bezwaar als bij de straalverbindingen biedt ook satellietverbinding geen goed alternatief voor het gebruik van wifi-netwerken voor toeristen. 4G Als derde en laatste de 4G netwerken als de nieuwste techniek voor mobiel breedband. Wat de snelheid betreft levert 4G in theorie dezelfde prestaties als een wifi-netwerk. Doordat 4G wordt uitgerold door de landelijk actieve mobiele telecomproviders, zal het netwerk landelijk dekkend worden en zullen de abonnementen ook van deze providers komen. Wifi kent een meer lokaal georiënteerde uitrol: een wifi-netwerk bestaat doorgaans uit meerdere netwerken naast elkaar waardoor de kosten en inkomsten vanuit het wifi-netwerk meer lokaal georiënteerd zijn. Met wifi is het dan ook makkelijker om specifieke doelgroepen aan te spreken dan met de 4G proposities van de mobiele operators. De lokale ondernemer, de VVV of het toeristenbureau kan makkelijker met een wifi-netwerk een leidende rol pakken dan met een 4G-netwerk. Een lokale toeristische applicatie daarentegen is natuurlijk ook een optie, deze is netwerk onafhankelijk. Voor alles geldt in de wereld van de draadloze communicatie dat er een relatie is tussen de performance en aansluiting op een vaste infrastructuur. Deze mobiele netwerken hebben altijd een goede aansluiting op het vaste netwerk nodig voor de ontsluiting naar internet en andere toepassingen. Rapportnr. P2013_08 19

21 Een veelgestelde vraag op dit moment betreft de (aangekondigde) uitrol van het 4G netwerk. Is het aanbieden van wifi daarmee nog wel noodzakelijk? Dit is ten dele waar. Echter, 4G is (nog) niet overal beschikbaar: de grote operators starten in de Randstad en van daaruit wordt de rest van het land uitgerold. Bovendien is het een feit dat 4G op dit moment nog lang niet door alle mobiele devices wordt ondersteund terwijl dit bij wifi wel het geval is. 4G komt er absoluut aan, maar de wifinetwerken zullen de komende jaren zeker nog onmisbaar blijken voor het op vakantie of tijdens evenementen kunnen genieten van een snelle, betrouwbare draadloze internetvoorziening. Met name relevant voor toerisme want daar gaat het in het te vormen beleid immers om zijn de volgende zaken: Het 4G-netwerk is eigendom van een commerciële marktpartij en niet van de provinciale/gemeentelijke overheid. Het biedt daarmee geen kans om, zoals in het geval van wifi, ingezet te worden als informatie- en promotiemiddel om gasten langer vast te houden en te verleiden tot extra activiteiten (en dus het uitgeven van geld) ter plaatse. De individuele performance is afhankelijk van het aantal gelijktijdige gebruikers op een zendmast. Als alle recreanten s avonds gelijktijdig in de jachthaven liggen en tegelijk een beroep doen op de dichtstbijzijnde 4G-mast, wordt de capaciteit over de gebruikers verdeeld en zal er van het verwachte supersnel internet op je mobiel weinig sprake zijn; Vooralsnog vormen oudere toeristen een groep die vaak wel een apparaat met wififunctionaliteit heeft, maar die een telefoon met in de regel maximaal een 3G- of zelfs helemaal geen internetabonnement heeft; Duitse watersporters en andere buitenlandse toeristen hebben natuurlijk geen 4Gabonnement van een Nederlandse provider. Rapportnr. P2013_08 20

22 2.2.5 Draadloze netwerken en vaste breedbandverbindingen De pilots in de vijf verschillende kernen hebben in de afgelopen maanden bewezen dat de onderliggende vaste netwerken een groot effect hebben op de gebruikerservaring van wifi. Altijd werd gebruik gemaakt van de vaste internetverbinding van een ondernemer, die deze inbracht voor ontsluiting van het wifi-netwerk. Uit de pilots blijkt dat als het wifi-netwerk werd gerealiseerd op basis van een infrastructuur met een bandbreedte van 30 Mb/s of hoger, de gebruikers geen klachten over de snelheid hadden. In delen van de pilot waar de snelheid lager was, (o.a. in Heeg, waar enkel xdsl met lage bandbreedte beschikbaar was) werden uiteenlopende klachten gehoord ten aanzien van de snelheid van het netwerk. Er kan dan ook worden gesteld dat slechts op basis van een hoogwaardige breedbandinfrastructuur ook een goed werkend wifi-netwerk mogelijk is. Het combineren van uitrol van glasvezel en het beschikbaar stellen van wifi-zenders kan elkaar versterken. Rapportnr. P2013_08 21

23 2.3 Organisatorisch kader Modellen en hun business case In dit deel worden een drietal modellen in hoofdlijnen beschreven: het operator model, het peering model en het content sharing model. Elk model heeft zijn eigen onderscheidende uitgangspunten ten aanzien van het verdienmodel. Operator model Dit is het model waarbij een operator zoals KPN, Ziggo of UPC wifi ter beschikking stelt. Achter dit model en zijn varianten schuilt een businesscase die door de betreffende operators wordt gemaakt. Het verdienmodel is dan ook direct op de operator van toepassing. Nadeel van dit model zijn de volgende aspecten: 1. Gebruik enkel door eigen klanten; 2. Content (landingspagina met lokale informatie) is lastig aan te passen. Free Wifi Zeeland bewijst echter het tegenovergestelde: Delta (kleinschalige lokale operator, met de provincie als grootaandeelhouder) stelt het netwerk ten dienste van de provinciale behoefte. De netwerkeigenaar is in dit model verantwoordelijk voor alle kosten van het netwerk, bandbreedte, wifi-zenders (hardware), beheer en onderhoud. Het verdienmodel wordt gevormd door de verdiensten op de abonnementen van de eigen diensten. Peering model Het peeringmodel is gebaseerd op het feit dat het aanleveren van bezoekers en dus het genereren van gericht internetverkeer in principe geld oplevert. Schaalgrootte wat betreft het aantal bezoekers, maar ook schaalgrootte als het gaat om de lokale betrokkenheid zijn essentieel om dit model te laten slagen. In dit model is de eigenaar van het netwerk verantwoordelijk voor alle kosten van het netwerk, inclusief gebruikte bandbreedte, wifi-zenders (hardware), beheer en onderhoud. Het verdienmodel wordt gevormd door de verdiensten uit de peering overeenkomsten met content leveranciers. Nadeel van dit model is dat schaalgrootte essentieel is. Een peering afspraak met bijvoorbeeld Google of Apple heeft alleen bij grote bezoekersaantallen waarde. Rapportnr. P2013_08 22

24 Content Sharing model... Reclame model Het Content Sharing model gaat er vanuit dat content wordt gedeeld. Dit model lijkt eveneens op het model dat in de provincie Zeeland wordt gevoerd met Free Wifi Zeeland. Kijkend naar de pilot die afgelopen zomer in Fryslân is gehouden, met als centrale leverancier van content, kunnen we bij deze pilot spreken van een content sharing model. Het wifi-netwerk kan in dit model op meerdere wijzen worden gefaciliteerd. Dit model geeft de mogelijkheid om het netwerkeigenaarschap uit te besteden aan bijvoorbeeld een winkeliers- of bedrijvenvereniging. Essentieel is om afspraken te maken over de aan te leveren content, het beschikbaar hebben van voldoende bandbreedte en de exploitatie van de wifi-zenders onder te brengen bij één technische organisatie EU-regelgeving Regelgeving die zich specifiek op wifi-netwerken richt, is beperkt. Dit heeft enerzijds te maken met de gebruikte frequenties voor de wifi-zenders: hiervoor zijn immers geen vergunningen noodzakelijk. Anderzijds zijn er wel degelijk regels ten aanzien van de elektronische netwerken en diensten. In het onderzoek van Johan de Jong, Een juridische blik op wifi 16 wordt een en ander geschetst aan de hand van open en gesloten netwerken. Cruciaal in dit verhaal is de vraag of de HotSpot enkel een doorgeefluik is, of dat de provider toch een rol vervult. In het model dat we voor de pilot in Fryslân hebben toegepast is sprake van een doorgeefluik-functie. De lokale ondernemer stelt (een deel van) de bandbreedte ter beschikking aan de toerist. Dit is niet veel anders dan een vrij toegankelijk wifi-netwerk in een woonwijk. Verder wordt in de pilot gebruik gemaakt van een aanmeldscript, waarbij gebruikers moeten aangeven akkoord te gaan met de gestelde voorwaarden. Tegelijkertijd met het aanmelden wordt de betreffende gebruiker geregistreerd (door middel van IP en MAC adres), waardoor de individuele gebruiker kan worden aangesproken bij onverhoopt misbruik van de dienst. 16 (bijlage 4) Rapportnr. P2013_08 23

25 In de pilot wordt op stad- of dorpniveau de plaats van de toerist bepaald. Dit gebeurt op basis van de wifi-zender waarop de toerist inlogt. Deze zender is voorzien van de startpagina op maat, afgestemd op de toerist. De gegevens van de gebruikers worden niet gebruikt voor het aanbieden van specifieke marketingactiviteiten op basis van de geregistreerde locatie. Daartoe moet een gebruiker specifiek (op naam) toestemming verlenen. Rapportnr. P2013_08 24

26 3 Begrippenlijst (alfabetische volgorde) 4G Aanduiding voor de nieuwste generatie mobiele data frequenties. Met 4G kunnen dataoverdrachtsnelheden bereikt worden die beter of gelijk zijn aan de snelheden van xdsl netwerken. Coax/HFC Verzamelnaam van de techniek die door de kabelmaatschappijen wordt gebruikt om internet- en televisiesignalen te transporteren. Dit doen deze partijen via een netwerk dat onder andere bestaat uit coax-bekabeling. HFC (Hybride Fiber Coax) is de modernere versie van de kabelmaatschappijen, bij HFC wordt een combinatie van glasvezel en coaxkabel toegepast. De glasvezelkabel is bij HFC afgewerkt in de straatkast, vanuit de straatkast wordt coaxkabel naar de gebruiker toegepast. Op dit moment is de maximale snelheid van een coax/hfc netwerk 150Mb/s download met 15 Mb/s upload. Coaxiaalkabel Kabel die bestaat uit een geleider; over het algemeen een dunne koperen draad, binnen en geïsoleerd van een andere geleider met een grotere diameter, gewoonlijk een koperen leiding of gevlochten koper. Dual-band wifi Een dual-band wifi-zender werkt zowel op 2,4 GHz en ook op 5 GHz, volgens de n normering. Gesloten model Een gesloten model is een model waarbij er enkel toegang tot het wifi-netwerk is, als aan specifieke voorwaarden is voldaan, zoals betaalde diensten, specifiek passwords of iets dergelijks. Glasvezel Verzamelnaam waaronder alle internetverbindingen vallen die als transmissie medium glasvezel gebruiken. Glasvezel maakt gebruik van lichtpulsen om de data te transporteren. Over glasvezel is de snelheid van up- en download gelijk, de maximale snelheid is afhankelijk van de aangesloten apparatuur en kan tot vele Gb/s worden opgevoerd. Rapportnr. P2013_08 25

27 HotSpot(s) HotSpot is de populaire naam voor een wifi-zender, een HotSpot is de toegang tot het internet. Rapportnr. P2013_08 26

28 IEEE De vakterm IEEE is afkomstig van het Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), en om precies te zijn groep 11 van het standaardencomité. Netwerk Operator Eigenaar van een telecommunicatie infrastructuur en leverancier van netwerkdiensten over deze infrastructuur. In Nederland zijn de bekendste partijen KPN, Ziggo, UPC, T-Mobile en Tele2. Open model Model waarbij iedereen toegang heeft tot het wifi-netwerk. Er zijn geen beperkingen als het gaat om betaalde diensten, specifiek password of iets dergelijks. Single-band wifi Een Single-band wifi-zender werkt op 2,4Ghz volgens de IEEE b normering. Straalverbinding Verbinding die via een radio signaal twee opstelpunten met elkaar verbindt. Dit is doorgaans een speciale constructie voor plaatsen waar geen vaste breedbandverbinding kan worden geleverd. Up- en download snelheid De snelheid waarmee informatie naar de gebruiker kan worden gehaald (download) of van de gebruiker worden weggestuurd (upload). Up- en download worden uitgedrukt in Mbps (Megabit per seconde). Wifi Wifi staat voor iedere vorm van draadloos Local Area Network, in het engels: every Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). Wifi wordt in teksten geschreven 17 als wifi, omdat wifi als afkorting tevens een woord is. Het is toegestaan om een koppelteken te plaatsen in de tekst, als dit de leesbaarheid verhoogt, zoals bij wifi-netwerk. xdsl 17 https://onzetaal.nl/taaladvies/advies/led-lamp-led-lamp-ledlamp Rapportnr. P2013_08 27

29 xdsl is de verzamelnaam voor alle varianten van DSL. DSL is de techniek die in Nederland (met name) door KPN wordt gebruikt om internetverbindingen te maken over het kopernetwerk waar in het verleden alleen de telefonie van KPN overheen werd getransporteerd. Op dit moment is de maximale snelheid op een xdsl netwerk 60Mb/s download met 15 Mb/s upload. De verschillen in up- en download snelheden zijn groot per type DSL verbinding. 4 Bijlagen: Bijlage 1: NRIT Nieuwsbrief Juni 2013: Adobe Acrobat Document BIJLAGE 2: TUD onderzoek: Thesis Report wifi Networks TU Delft: Adobe Acrobat Document BIJLAGE 3: Hoofdstuk onderzoek naar Elektromagnetische straling wifi Netwerk Groningen: Adobe Acrobat Document Bijlage 4: Een juridische kijk op wifi: Adobe Acrobat Document Rapportnr. P2013_08 28

30 Rapportnr. P2013_08 29

31 dinsdag 18 juni 20 Onderwerp: NRIT Actueel: Nederlanders kunnen op vakantie niet zonder internet Van: NRIT Media Verzonden: dinsdag 18 juni :32 Onderwerp: NRIT Actueel: Nederlanders kunnen op vakantie niet zonder internet VAKANTIES Nederlanders kunnen op vakantie niet zonder internet Social travel is de nieuwe vakantietrend. Tijdens het vakantieverblijf is voor veel Nederlanders een internetverbinding belangrijk om te kunnen blijven en en facebooken. Dit blijkt uit een online onderzoek in opdracht van reisverzekeraar en hulpverlener Allianz Global Assistance onder respondenten naar houding en gedrag van Nederlanders voor en tijdens de vakantie. Hoewel volledig ontstressen en ontsnappen aan het dagelijks bestaan de meest genoemde reden voor een vakantie is (34%), geeft de helft van onze landgenoten aan zijn/haar tijdens de vakantie wel te checken. Een derde logt in op Facebook om onder meer te kijken wat vrienden aan het doen zijn. 8% begeeft zich tijdens de vakantie op Twitter. Hyves is uit de gratie. Slechts 1% maakt hier gebruik van. Na ontstressen staat quality time met familie en/of vrienden hoog op de agenda tijdens de vakantie (25%). NRIT Media, 13 juni 2013 Zoekwerk naar vakanties doet de vrouw Bijna driekwart van de vrouwen zegt dat zij al het zoekwerk voor de vakantie uitvoeren terwijl maar 9% aangeeft dat de man dat doet. Dit blijkt uit een poll gehouden door vliegticketzoekmachine Skyscanner onder internationale reizigers. Van de mannen uit het onderzoek die toegaven dat hun partner op onderzoek gaat, zegt een derde dat dit komt omdat hun partner er beter in is en betere deals eruit pikt. Een op de tien geeft toe gewoon te lui te zijn om het uit te zoeken. Een vijfde van deze mannen gelooft dat hun partners er meer plezier in hebben om op zoek te gaan naar de perfecte vakantie en 19% denkt dat hun VAKANTIES - Nederlanders kunnen op vakantie niet zonder internet - Zoekwerk naar vakanties doet de vrouw - ONDERZOEK - NHTV, HZ en Stenden samen in Center of Expertise ATTRACTIEPARKEN - Bart de Boer vertrekt bij Efteling - Emirates opent luchtvaartattractie in Londen ECONOMIE - Rabobank: Stop met bezuinigen - In 2014 licht herstel economie VERBLIJFSRECREATIE - Camping De Berekuil wordt Budget Camping Utrecht - KIP Caravans op beurs in China - Wachtlijst voor Beach Houses Kamperland DUURZAAM TOERISME - Horsterwold Hulkesteinse Bos

32 partners het doen omdat zij pietluttiger zijn. Lees hier verder. NRIT Media, 11 juni 2013 ONDERZOEK NHTV, HZ en Stenden samen in Center of Expertise Het Centre of Expertise Leisure, Toerisme & Hospitality (CELTH) is klaar voor de start. Sinds het begin van dit jaar hebben NHTV, HZ en Stenden hard gewerkt aan de plannen voor dit enige Centre of Expertise in het domein van leisure, toerisme & hospitality. Het CELTH is erop gericht om kennis over leisure, toerisme en hospitality te ontwikkelen en verspreiden, zodat dit domein nog beter in staat is om de duurzame economische ontwikkeling van de Nederlandse samenleving mede aan te jagen. In haar nieuwste blog daagt Rosa van Roosendaal van het Kenniscentrum Kusttoerisme de sector uit mee te denken met het CELTH: "Daarom de uitdaging aan u, ondernemers en beleidsmakers: vertel ons op welke manier wij nog veel meer voor u kunnen betekenen. Want kennis hebben is leuk, maar kennis toepassen is pas echt interessant!" Meer informatie op: NRIT Media, 14 juni 2013 ATTRACTIEPARKEN Bart de Boer vertrekt bij Efteling Bart de Boer zal op 1 september bij de Efteling vertrekken. Bart de Boer trad in 2008 aan als directievoorzitter en heeft de afgelopen jaren leiding gegeven aan de forse groei van de Efteling. De beslissing komt op het moment dat medewerkers hun vertrouwen in de directie massaal opzeggen. Ze klaagden de afgelopen weken in de media over een verziekte werksfeer en een heersende angstcultuur. Volgens de Efteling heeft het vertrek van Bart daar niets mee te maken. Er zou een andere vorm van leidinggeven nodig zijn. De Boer laat via twitter weten dat 'consolidatie en Bart de Boer niet bij elkaar horen'. Commissaris Henk Kivits gaat de Raad van Bestuur ondersteunen. De komende periode gaat de Efteling nadenken over de gewenste structuur van de Raad van Bestuur en de toekomstige invulling van de positie van bestuursvoorzitter. Lees hier verder. NRIT Media, 17 juni 2013 Emirates opent luchtvaartattractie in Londen Emirates, een van snelst groeiende luchtvaartmaatschappijen ter wereld, gaat in juli dit jaar in Londen een indoor thema-attractie van 330 vierkante meter openen. Deze nieuwe attractie, de Emirates Aviation Experience, is wereldwijd de eerste in zijn soort. De attractie zal gevestigd zijn wint duurzaamheidsprijs EDEN award - LUCHTVAART - Provincie Limburg koopt tijd voor Maastricht Aachen Airport HOTELS - Met mobiel hotel betalen en uitchecken REISBRANCHE - Consumentenbond gaat actie in reisbranche voeren MARKETING - Antwerpen start campagne in VS - Duinrell gaat voor passie, puur en plezier INDUSTRIEEL ERFGOED - Studenten ontwikkelen plannen voor oude leerfabriek INNOVATIE - Gelderland lanceert web-app voor fietsers CULTUUR - Helft bezoekers Rijksmuseum uit het buitenland - Cultuurkaart voor scholieren blijft PROVINCIES & REGIO'S - Drenthe wil terug in de top 3 - Blad Seasons maakt special over Drenthe SPORT - Brabant krijgt groot wielercentrum - Verdienmodel golfbanen onder druk NATUUR - Van Gerven groenste politicus Verkoop gronden Staatsbosbeheer opgeschort VLAANDEREN - Nieuw beleidsplan voor het Brugse Ommeland EVENEMENTEN - Dordrecht plaatst vaste banieren langs invalswegen DAGRECREATIE - Pier Scheveningen komt 24 september onder de hamer

33 ten zuiden van de Emirates Air Line in Londen en zal de bezoeker een kijkje bieden in de activiteiten en ontwikkelingen van de commerciële luchtvaart. "Deze hightech attractie biedt een one of a kind indruk van de dynamische wereld van de luchtvaart," aldus Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline. "Het doel van dit centrum is om een leuk, maar ook educatief inzicht te bieden in wat er nodig is om een vliegtuig van 560 ton met succes van de grond en vervolgens meter in de lucht te krijgen. Ons doel is om de ingewikkelde wetenschap van de moderne luchtvaart uit te leggen, in een praktische, leuke en leerzame omgeving." Lees hier verder. NRIT Media, 14 juni 2013 ECONOMIE Rabobank: Stop met bezuinigen Blijven focussen op de Brusselse tekortnorm van 3%-BBP en aanvullend bezuinigen zorgt ervoor dat de Nederlandse economie ook in 2014 niet groeit. Beter is het als het kabinet versneld aan de slag gaat met structurele hervormingen. Door te blijven vasthouden aan extra bezuinigingen blijft de negatieve spiraal van lage economische groei, afnemende koopkracht en bezuinigingen in stand. Daardoor houdt de economische pijn zeker tot in 2014 aan. Dat schrijven economen van Rabobank in het vandaag verschenen Economisch Kwartaalbericht. Volgens Rabobank bleef de Nederlandse economie in het eerste kwartaal in recessie en de economische activiteit nam in het tweede kwartaal waarschijnlijk nog verder af. Daarmee blijft de economische ontwikkeling achter bij de eerdere verwachting. De bank voorziet voor 2013 een krimp van het BBP volume met 1% en voor 2014 stagnatie. Dit heeft vooral te maken met de zeer zwakke binnenlandse bestedingen. De extra bezuinigingen om het begrotingssaldo weer in lijn met de Europese richtlijnen te brengen, gijzelen daarmee de Nederlandse groei. Lees hier de complete analyse van Rabobank. NRIT Media, 12 juni 2013 In 2014 licht herstel economie Het Centraal Planbureau verwacht een licht herstel van de economie in De Nederlandse economie krimpt in 2013 met 1%. Volgend jaar is naar verwachting sprake van een licht herstel en neemt het bbp met 1% toe. Het begrotingstekort (EMU-tekort) komt in 2014 naar verwachting uit op 3,7%. Belangrijk voor de sector leisure: de particuliere consumptie krimpt in 2013 door lagere beschikbare inkomens en dalende huizenprijzen, terwijl de overheidsbestedingen als gevolg van bezuinigingen nog steeds afnemen. Lees hier verder. NRIT Media, 13 juni 2013 INTERNATIONAAL - Tunesië ziet in Nederland groeimarkt COLOFON: NRIT Actueel verschijnt wekelijks en wordt uitgegeven door: NRIT Media Edisonbaan 14-F 3439 MN NIEUWEGEIN Tel: Website: VERBLIJFSRECREATIE Camping De Berekuil wordt Budget Camping Utrecht Camping De Berekuil in Utrecht heeft een nieuwe naam en heet van af nu Budget Camping Utrecht. De nieuwe eigenaar Ton Oostveen heeft grootste plannen met de voormalige probleemcamping. Zo komt er op het terrein een pannenkoekenrestaurant en krijgen de huidige chaleteigenaren een nieuwe plek. Ze worden allemaal samengebracht aan de noord-oostzijde van de camping. De randen aan het meer komen dan vrij en daar komen zo n vijftig vakantiewoningen. Dat kan later nog uitgebreid worden tot 106 huisjes. De veldjes voor trekkers met caravans, tenten en campers, blijven gewoon open. Oostveen is in onderhandeling met de gemeente over zijn plannen. Begin volgend jaar moeten de huidige bewoners verhuisd zijn, en het

34 restaurant open. Het jaar erna moeten ook de vakantiewoningen klaar zijn. RTV Utrecht en DUIC, 14 juni 2013 KIP Caravans op beurs in China De Nederlandse caravanbouwer KIP heeft dit weekend op een vakantiebeurs in China gestaan. Het bedrijf heeft verschillende modellen mee naar China genomen. In de stand van de caravanbouwer stonden mensen in Nederlandse klederdracht en die trekken veel bekijks. KIP denkt in China een nieuwe markt gevonden te hebben, omdat de Chinezen steeds meer geld en vrije tijd krijgen. In januari heeft KIP een samenwerkingsovereenkomst met Caravan China getekend voor de distributie van caravans in China. NRIT Media, 17 juni 2013 Wachtlijst voor Beach Houses Kamperland Op het strand van Roompot Beach Resort in Kamperland aan de Oosterschelde realiseert Roompot Vakanties veertig strandslaaphuizen, oftewel Beach Houses. Na het ophogen en verbreden van het strand zal in 2014 de bouw starten. De Beach Houses worden het gehele jaar verhuurd en als beleggingsproduct aangeboden. De huizen zijn zo populair dat inmiddels voor elk strandhuis twee gegadigden zijn. Belangstellenden kunnen nog wel op de wachtlijst. De huizen kosten euro inclusief inventaris, exclusief btw. De netto huuropbrengst wordt geschat op euro per jaar (7,2%). Eigenaren moeten voor 20 jaar een huurcontract met Roompot afsluiten. Dit contract is tussentijds overdraagbaar. De huizen worden het hele jaar verhuurd. Eigen gebruik is buiten de vakantieperiodes mogelijk. Meer informatie op: NRIT Media, 12 juni 2013

35 DUURZAAM TOERISME Horsterwold Hulkesteinse Bos wint duurzaamheidsprijs EDEN award In Naturalis Leiden is het Horsterwold en Hulkesteinse Bos in Zeewolde uitgeroepen tot de winnaar van de EDEN award Uit handen van de juryvoorzitter Rob van Brouwershaven (Ministerie van Economische Zaken) en Kees van Wijk (VVV Nederland) ontvingen wethouder Gerben Dijksterhuis van Zeewolde en boswachter Hans-Eric Kuypers de duurzaamheidsprijs inclusief een cheque ter waarde van euro. De EDEN award competitie wordt op verzoek van het Ministerie van Economische Zaken sinds 2009 georganiseerd door VVV Nederland. Volgens juryvoorzitter Van Brouwershaven is het natuurgebied "een ruwe diamant met veel potentie. In het Horsterwold en het Hulkesteinsebos beseft men heel goed dat behoud en ontwikkeling van natuur een belangrijke economische kanskaart is. Daarom werken ondernemers en natuurpartners constructief en duurzaam samen aan de ontwikkeling van natuur én economie. Het gebied is natuurlijk nog jong, maar biedt nu al volop ruimte aan verschillende vormen van recreatie." Lees hier verder. NRIT Media, 13 juni 2013 LUCHTVAART Provincie Limburg koopt tijd voor Maastricht Aachen Airport De provincie Limburg gaat de komende maanden een aantal toekomstscenario s voor de luchthaven Maastricht Aachen Airport (MAA) uitwerken. Om te voorkomen dat de luchthaven in de tussentijd tijd failliet gaat, krijgt de luchthaven een subsidie van 4,5 miljoen als bijdrage voor de

36 veiligheid op de luchthaven (douane, politie, brandweer). Voorwaarde is onder meer dat de bedrijfsvoering wordt aangepakt. Dat blijkt uit een voorstel van Gedeputeerde Staten (GS) aan Provinciale Staten. Lees hier verder over de drie scenario's die worden uitgewerkt. NRIT Media, 14 juni 2013 HOTELS Met mobiel hotel betalen en uitchecken Scandic Hotels meldt dat ze als eerste hotelketen een toepassing heeft ontwikkeld waarmee gasten kunnen betalen en uitchecken. In een paar stappen kan de rekening opgevraagd worden, die vervolgens betalen en de gast krijgt netjes een afschrift. Dit kan zowel op een smartphone als op een vaste computer. Op dit moment is de toepassing nog in de testfase bij het Scandic Park hotel in Stockholm. In het najaar kunnen alle Scandics hotels de toepassing gebruiken. NRIT Media, 13 juni 2013 REISBRANCHE Consumentenbond gaat actie in reisbranche voeren Deze week gaat de Consumentenbond reisaanbieders die geen eerlijke prijzen communiceren aanpakken. Elke dag wordt een nieuw bedrijf door de bond negatief in de schijnwerpers gezet. Volgens de Consumentenbond ergeren consumenten zich het meest aan administratie-, boekings- of verplichte schoonmaakkosten die bovenop geadverteerde reisprijzen komen. Vandaag voert de bond actie bij World Ticket Center. Bij deze aanbieder krijgen klanten tijdens het boeken ineens te maken met verplichte service- en administratiekosten. Dat die behoorlijk kunnen oplopen blijkt uit een voorbeeld van de bond waar een vlucht van 66 toch nog 103,22 bleek te kosten. De consumentenbond heeft vandaag een zeppelin langs de A4 opgelaten. Onder de zeppelin hangt een doek waarop een voorbeeld staat van welke prijs je volgens de bond écht betaalt bij World Ticket Center. Na het oplaten van de zeppelin, gaat de Consumentenbond naar het hoofdkantoor van World Ticket Center. Daar vragen ze aan het bedrijf om duidelijker te zijn over extra kosten bij het boeken van een vliegticket, want verplichte service- en administratiekosten horen in de aanbiedingsprijs. Meer informatie op: NRIT Media, 17 juni 2013 MARKETING Antwerpen start campagne in VS Antwerpen grijpt de opening van het Red Star Line Museum in september nu al aan om flink campagne in de VS te voeren. De rederij Red Star Line bracht via Antwerpen tussen 1873 en 1934 meer dan twee miljoen Europeanen naar 'the land of opportunity'. "We hopen dat het Red Star Line Museum talrijke Amerikanen terug naar Antwerpen zal voeren, verklaart Peter De Wilde administrateur-generaal van Toerisme Vlaanderen vanuit New York. "De bekendheid van de Red Star

37 Line vormt een unieke kapstok om Vlaanderen en Antwerpen als toeristische bestemming bekend te maken aan de Oostkust van Amerika". De campagne ging vorige week van start voor de Amerikaanse pers in het prestigieuze The Glasshouses in New York. De 'Via Antwerp' campagne legt de link tussen Antwerpen, Red Star Line en New York. "De campagne promoot de opening van het Red Star Line Museum, maar waaiert online ook breed uit met kleurrijke beelden van Antwerpse diamant, mode en Rubens om de potentiële Amerikaanse bezoekers te verleiden met al het lekkers dat Antwerpen te bieden heeft, zegt Antwerps schepen voor Cultuur Philip Heylen. De Stad Antwerpen verwacht dat het Red Star Line Museum op lange termijn het aantal recreatieve verblijfsovernachtingen vanuit de Verenigde Staten in Antwerpen zal doen stijgen met 10%. Vlaams minister van Toerisme Geert Bourgeois trekt ruim euro uit voor het museum dat in totaal een kleine 17 miljoen euro kost. Meer informatie op: NRIT Media, 15 juni 2013 Duinrell gaat voor passie, puur en plezier Duinrell heeft onlangs een nieuwe missie met bijbehorende kernwaarden gedefinieerd. Daarbij is het bedrijf niet over één nacht ijs gegaan. Dat was ook wel nodig want Duinrell is een bedrijf met veel facetten dat onder leiding van de familie Van Zuylen van Nijevelt is gegroeid van een speeltuin op het landgoed Duinrell naar een compleet recreatiebedrijf met zowel dag- als verblijfsrecreatie. Juist door de betrokkenheid van de familie en de organische groei lijkt het Duinrellgevoel voor iedereen die betrokken is bij de organisatie wel helder. Maar dat viel niet mee. Een gevoel verwoorden in een missie met bijbehorende kernwaarden die recht doen aan het huidige algemene gevoel en toch toekomstbestendig is, dat bleek een hele opgave. Op de Kennisbank van NRIT Media een interview met Karin Minderhoud, manager marketing en communicatie van Duinrell over het proces, de resultaten en de toekomst van Duinrell. Lees hier verder. INDUSTRIEEL ERFGOED Studenten ontwikkelen plannen voor oude leerfabriek Op vrijdag 31 mei organiseerde Leisure Academy Brabant in samenwerking met de Master Urbanism van Fontys Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, de bijeenkomst Time Based KVL: stapsgewijs herbestemmen van cultureel erfgoed.in het atelier Time Based KVL is aan de masterstudenten van Architectuur en Stedenbouw gevraagd nieuwe kansen te formuleren voor de herontwikkeling van de oude leerfabriek op het KVL-terrein in Oisterwijk. De gebouwen staan al geruime tijd leeg omdat hergebruik van het m2 grote complex niet eenvoudig is. Tijdens een rondetafelgesprek konden de studenten de resultaten van het 10-weeks project presenteren aan de stakeholders die de studenten het meest kansrijk achten voor een toekomst op het KVL-terrein. Zo waren onder andere Woonstichting Leystromen, de gemeente Oisterwijk en de provincie Noord-Brabant aanwezig. Mark Glaudemans (lector Stedelijke Strategieën) gaf aan dat het atelier zich niet alleen richt op het vinden van innovatieve oplossingen,

38 maar het de studenten ook de kans biedt zich alvast te oriënteren op de arbeidsmarkt. Het creëren van nieuwe dialogen is daarbij een belangrijk doel. Lees hier verder. Leisure Academy Brabant, 12 juni 2013 INNOVATIE Gelderland lanceert web-app voor fietsers In deze tijd dat iedere organisatie een app heeft, doen ze in het Gelderland juist weer anders. Ze hebben daar een zogenaamde web-app ontwikkeld. Geen los programmaatje dat je moet installeren maar een website die zich als app gedraagt. Het Gelders Fietsnetwerk heeft gisteren de web-app Gelders Fietsnet gelanceerd: een informatieportaal dat fietsen in deze provincie nog leuker en makkelijker maakt. Of u nou dagelijks op de fiets naar uw werk gaat, of op fietsvakantie komt in dé fietsprovincie van Nederland: op Gelders Fietsnet vindt u in één oogopslag alles wat u nodig hebt. Gelders Fietsnet brengt alle informatie over fietsen in Gelderland overzichtelijk samen. Toeristische fietsers vinden er routebeschrijvingen, huurlocaties, een evenementenkalender en tips voor uitstapjes op de fiets. Fietsforensen kunnen op de web-app terecht voor informatie over bijvoorbeeld snelle routes, oplaadpunten voor e-bikes, stallingen en hulp bij pech. Gelders Fietsnet is gratis te gebruiken op elke computer, tablet en smartphone via Gelders Fietsnet is een web app. Dat betekent dat de hele app op internet staat. Er hoeft dus niets geïnstalleerd te worden: de app is gewoon te gebruiken via de browser van telefoon, tablet of computer. Bijvoorbeeld Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox of Google Chrome. NRIT Media, 14 juni 2013 CULTUUR Helft bezoekers Rijksmuseum uit het buitenland Vanochtend ontving het Rijksmuseum de ste bezoeker sinds de heropening op 13 april Katharina Lange uit het Duitse Hannover (op bezoek in Amsterdam voor een stedentrip) werd samen met haar echtgenoot Jan bij de entree welkom geheten met bloemen, een boek met hoogtepunten uit de collectie en de rest van het jaar vrij toegang. Het Rijksmuseum ontvangt nu dagelijks tussen de en bezoekers, van wie ca. 50% Nederlands. De Verenigde Staten, Frankrijk, Japan, Duitsland en Engeland voeren de lijst aan van buitenlandse bezoekers. Er zijn tot nu toe entreetickets in de voorverkoop verkocht. NRIT Media, 12 juni 2013 Cultuurkaart voor scholieren blijft De Cultuurkaart voor middelbare scholieren blijft toch bestaan. Het vorige kabinet wilde de kaart afschaffen vanwege bezuinigingen, maar minister Bussemaker stelt de komende tien jaar opnieuw geld beschikbaar. Ze komt met 5 miljoen euro per jaar over de brug om de kaart in stand te houden. Dat meldde ze dinsdag aan de Tweede Kamer. De Cultuurkaart biedt scholieren de mogelijkheid om goedkoper culturele instellingen zoals musea te

39 bezoeken. Door bezuinigingen van het vorige kabinet dreigde de kaart te verdwijnen, maar Bussemaker wilde dat niet laten gebeuren. Ze kondigde in december al aan op zoek te gaan naar geld. De minister hecht veel waarde aan cultuuronderwijs. In een brief aan de Tweede Kamer schrijft ze dat kinderen door goed cultuuronderwijs een creatieve en onderzoekende houding ontwikkelen. Met de Cultuurkaart van het CJP krijgen scholieren korting bij culturele instellingen als musea en theaters. NRIT Media, 11 juni 2013 PROVINCIES & REGIO'S Drenthe wil terug in de top 3 Vorig jaar hebben Nederlanders 1,8 miljoen toeristische vakanties in Drenthe doorgebracht. De provincie heeft daarmee een marktaandeel van 10,7% en staat na Gelderland, Limburg, Noord- Brabant en Noord-Holland op een vijfde plek. "We hebben de ambitie om een plek in de top 3 te bemachtigen en willen, samen met onze partners en met ondernemers, Drenthe nóg aantrekkelijker maken om te verblijven", stelt gedeputeerde Ard van der Tuuk in een reactie op de nieuwste uitgave van Feiten en Cijfers Vrijetijdseconomie Drenthe'. Volgens Van der Tuuk gaat dat niet vanzelf: "We moeten scherp blijven en de ontwikkelingen rondom ons goed blijven volgen. Het toeristische product zal zich constant moeten vernieuwen. En daar zijn alle betrokkenen gezamenlijk verantwoordelijk voor." Meer weten over binnenlandse vakanties, doelgroepen, inkomend toerisme, ondernomen activiteiten, economische betekenis en werkgelegenheid in Drenthe? Klik hier voor een samenvatting met de belangrijkste resultaten. NRIT Media, 17 juni 2013 Blad Seasons maakt special over Drenthe Het blad Seasons biedt in de editie van juni een special aan over Drenthe. Marketing Drenthe gaf de aanzet. Gedeputeerde Ard van der Tuuk heeft donderdag 13 juni het eerste exemplaar van een special over Drenthe in ontvangst genomen van Jan Albert Westenbrink, directeur van Marketing Drenthe. Samen met hoofdredacteur Aty Luitze en de redactie van Seasons heeft Marketing Drenthe de creatieve aanzet gegeven voor deze special. Drenthe heeft input mogen aanleveren en Seasons heeft het tot een prachtige special gemaakt. Binnenkijken in de mooiste provincie van Nederland dat is de rode draad in de special. Lees hier verder. NRIT Media, 13 juni 2013 SPORT Brabant krijgt groot wielercentrum Het museum WielerWereld wordt in de Brabantse gemeente Rucphen gevestigd. Dat maakte burgemeester Peter van der Velde van Breda vorige week dinsdag bekend tijdens een presentatie op het gemeentehuis van Rucphen. In WielerWereld komt de wielersport in al haar facetten aan bod. Er wordt een Wielerexperience, Wielerretail, Wielerhoreca en een Regionaal Trainingscentrum inclusief wielerbaan, BMX track, wielercircuit en een fieldlab ontwikkeld. WielerWereld moet West-Brabant op de kaart moet zetten als dè wielerregio van Nederland. Nieuwsgierig naar de initiatiefnemers, het locatieonderzoek en de samenvatting van het businessplan? Klik dan hier.

40 NRIT Media, 12 juni 2013 Verdienmodel golfbanen onder druk Het traditionele verdienmodel in de golfbranche staat onder druk. In de afgelopen vijf jaar steeg het aantal holes met 25% harder dan het aantal golfers met 17%. In totaal zijn er nu holes tegenover golfers, verdeeld over 205 golfbanen. Daar waar de branche gewend was met wachtlijsten te werken, zullen ondernemers nu juist in actie moeten komen. Dit stelt andere eisen aan ondernemers en vraagt om een professionaliseringsslag in de sector. Dat schrijft Rabobank in haar laatste thema-update Golfbanen. Lees hier verder over het gewijzigd gedrag van golfers en de trends waar golfbanen volgens Rabobank op moeten inspelen. Rabobank, 13 juni 2013 NATUUR Van Gerven groenste politicus 2013 Henk van Gerven van de SP is door Natuurmonumenten uitgeroepen tot Groenste Politicus "Hij is een Kamerlid dat door alle wisselende weertypen die we de afgelopen jaren in het natuurbeleid aan den lijve hebben ondervonden, koers houdt en consistent zijn opvattingen blijft uitdragen," aldus algemeen directeur van de natuurorganisatie Marc van den Tweel. Van Gerven, sinds 2006 Kamerlid, houdt ook de natuurbeweging soms een spiegel voor. Waar Natuurmonumenten misschien soms zich mee laat slepen in het enthousiasme voor het positievere geluid van het kabinet Rutte II, zorgt hij voor de broodnodige 'reality check'. Nog steeds 50 procent minder budget, inkrimping van het EHSnatuurnetwerk en een rijksoverheid die zich terugtrekt. Van den Tweel: "Wij kunnen als private organisatie leven met een terugtredende overheid. Wij koersen aan op meer samenwerking met het bedrijfsleven, in onze zoektocht naar alternatieve financieringsbronnen voor de natuur. Maar niettemin moet er een ondergrens zijn aan die terugtocht. En die 50 procent bezuiniging is de limiet." NRIT Media, 11 juni 2013 Verkoop gronden Staatsbosbeheer opgeschort Voorlopig gaat de verkoop van gronden door Staatsbosbeheer niet door. Staatssecretaris Dijksma van Economische Zaken werkt samen met Staatsbosbeheer alternatieven uit voor de invulling van de taakstelling van 100 miljoen in Volgens Dijksma heeft een proef met de verkoop van grond zoveel maatschappelijke onrust veroorzaakt, dat van verdere verkopen voorlopig wordt afgezien. Staatsbosbeheer moet tot miljoen euro bezuinigen. Dat geld zou aanvankelijk worden verdiend met de verkoop van natuur aan particulieren. Het ging daarbij om versnipperde natuurpercelen zoals kleine weilanden en bosschages. Dijksma werkt samen met Staatsbosbeheer aan alternatieven zoals de verkoop van ongeveer 350 erfpachtpercelen met recreatiewoningen op de Waddeneilanden aan de eigenaren. De opbrengst hiervan zal gebruikt worden om een deel van de financiële taakstelling in te vullen. Lees hier verder. NRIT Media, 15 juni 2013

41 VLAANDEREN Nieuw beleidsplan voor het Brugse Ommeland Op 10 juni presenteerde Westtoer in aanwezigheid van minister Bourgeois en ruim 160 beleidsmakers en ondernemers uit de toeristische sector het nieuwe Strategisch Beleidsplan voor het Brugse Ommeland Met het plan zorgt Westtoer voor een vernieuwde dynamiek op vlak van toerisme en recreatie. De herlancering van het fietsnetwerk in 2016, het verder ontwikkelen van het karaktervol kleinschalig logiesaanbod, het uitspelen van cafés en restaurants met karakter en het uitbouwen van het Landschapspark Bulskampveld tot een toeristisch topproduct zijn de grote uitdagingen voor de komende jaren. Nieuwsgierig naar de uitwerking van de speerpunten? Klik dan hier. NRIT Media, 12 juni 2013 EVENEMENTEN Dordrecht plaatst vaste banieren langs invalswegen In andere steden is het een bekend verschijnsel, banieren die de stad verfraaien tijdens evenementen. Enerzijds zorgen deze banieren voor de promotie van het evenement, maar met deze banieren gaat een evenement ook meer 'leven' in de stad. Sinds 11 juni heeft Dordrecht ook 35 vlaggenmasten die voor dit doel worden ingezet. Deze zogenaamde citydressing is een initiatief van Dordrecht Marketing waarbij in nauwe samenwerking met de gemeente de locaties bepaald zijn. Op dit moment zijn er zeven locaties waar de vlaggen hangen, er komen in de nabije toekomst nog drie aanvullende locaties bij. De voorzieningen zijn geplaatst op diverse toegangswegen naar de stad. Denk daarbij aan plekken nabij afslagen vanaf de snelweg, bij het station en waterbushaltes. De locaties worden gebruikt om evenementen onder de aandacht te brengen bij passanten. Nieuwsgierig naar het protocol voor het gebruik? Klik dan hier. Gemeente Dordrecht, 12 juni 2013 DAGRECREATIE Pier Scheveningen komt 24 september onder de hamer De Pier van Scheveningen wordt 24 september geveild. Dat zegt curator Marc Udink vandaag tegen Omroep West. Ongeveer honderd partijen hebben belangstelling in de pier van Scheveningen. De afgelopen maanden heeft de curator de mogelijkheden onderzocht om de pier verder te ontwikkelen. Ook zijn de kosten berekend van de sloop van het stalen eiland, een onderdeel dat sinds de jaren tachtig niet meer in gebruik is. De Pier van Scheveningen werd in januari failliet verklaard. De Scheveningse Pier

42 verpaupert in snel tempo. Volgens Aad Rog van de ondernemersvereniging van de Pier is curator Udink bezig met een 'uitsterfbeleid', om de Pier leeg te kunnen veilen. Eind januari besloot de curator dat de pier openbaar wordt geveild, vanwege grote nationale en internationale belangstelling. NRIT Media, 14 juni 2013 INTERNATIONAAL Tunesië ziet in Nederland groeimarkt Tunesië heeft weer een bureau voor toerisme in Nederland. Minister Jamel Gamra van Toerisme was in Nederland om het nieuwe bureau te openen. Het land ziet in ons land een belangrijke groeimarkt. Vorig jaar bezochten Nederlandse vakantiegangers Tunesië. Dat waren er rond de eeuwwisseling maar dat aantal liep terug tot in Toeristen bleven dat jaar massaal weg toen het Noord-Afrikaanse land de Arabische Lente beleefde. Inmiddels hebben Nederlanders dit jaar een vakantie naar Tunesië geboekt. Minister Gamra heeft zich ten doel gesteld de bedrijvigheid in de toeristische sector weer op het niveau van 2010 te krijgen. Dat moet met meer aandacht voor milieu, veiligheid en kwaliteit en met promotiecampagnes. "Toeristen moeten zich hier veilig voelen", benadrukt Gamra. "Sinds de revolutie bezochten 12,5 miljoen toeristen Tunesíë, zonder dat er noemenswaardige incidenten plaatsvonden. Dat laat zien dat er geen grote problemen zijn." NRIT Media, 17 juni 2013 U ontvangt deze omdat u of uw organisatie een abonnement heeft op NRIT Magazine/NRIT Actueel. Als u deze nieuwsbrief niet meer wilt ontvangen, kunt u zich uitschrijven. << Disclaimer >> Aan dit bericht kunnen geen rechten worden ontleend. Provincie Fryslân Oan dit berjocht kinne gjin rjochten ûntliend wurde. Provinsje Fryslân

43 2011 3rely THESIS REPORT Wi-Fi networks: Individualism and collectiveness in the emergence and growth of Wi-Fi community initiatives Abdelouahad (Wahid) Bouzalmat Student number : Graduation date : Delft University of Technology Faculty of Technology Policy & Management (SEPAM) section Economy of Infrastructures Abstract Wi-Fi has steadily emerged as the most favourite technology for wireless access to the internet. The most recent development in the Wi-Fi world is the increasing use of Wi-Fi technology in local community networks both in developing and developed countries. Wi-Fi offers possibilities for end-users in creating local community initiatives that go beyond simple in-house use and can cover relatively large areas providing a semi-public network. This research intends to study a number of Wi-Fi community initiatives in order to obtain insights in the success factors of community based Wi-Fi initiatives. In addition to this its scientific relevance this research has practical relevance as well. It can help actors interested in Wi-Fi networks to deploy Wi-Fi communities more successfully. Keywords: Wi-Fi community initiatives, success factors, incentives, organizational structure, Wireless Leiden, Freifunk Berlin i

44 FOREWORD This MSc Thesis titled: Wi-Fi networks: Individualism and Collectiveness in the emergence and growth of Wi-Fi Community Initiatives is the final piece of my Master s Program. The following report is the result of my research for my Master studies Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). The research took place at the faculty of Technology, Policy & Management with supervisors from the Economics of Infrastructures (EvI) department and from the ICT department. Wahid Bouzalmat Delft, December 2011 Graduation committee members: Prof.dr. J.P.M. Groenewegen, section Economy of Infrastructures Dr.ir. W. Lemstra, section Economy of Infrastructures Dr. T.M. Egyedi, section ICT Ir. V. Hayes, section Economy of Infrastructures A special word of thanks to my graduation committee. I want to thank them for their support and inspiring comments. i

45 SUMMARY Wi-Fi has steadily emerged as the most favorite technology for wireless access to the internet. This development is strongly facilitated due to changes in government policy around the world regarding public access to the radio frequency spectrum. Wi-Fi is using the 2.4 and GHz frequency bands. In many countries around the world this spectrum is unlicensed thereby stimulating the private use of Wi-Fi technology. The most recent development in the Wi-Fi environment is the increasing use of Wi-Fi technology in local community networks. Wi-Fi offers possibilities for end-users in creating local community initiatives that go beyond simple in-house use and can cover relatively large areas providing a semi-public network. These type of grassroots initiatives are characterized by a bottom-up network development initiated by end-users and in which the end-users take part in the decision making processes concerning the development of the Wi-Fi network. Many of these grassroots Wi-Fi communities have arisen in recent years. Each community initiative differing in its leading motivations, characteristics and context. It is rather straightforward to see the differences between the different cases and to see he obstacles met by each initiative. However the challenge is to try to determine critical success factors that go beyond the individual case and are crucial for community initiatives to succeed. Limited research has been performed on this matter resulting in a gap in existing knowledge and understanding on why and how community based Wi-Fi initiatives evolve and what it is that determines their success. Hence, the central research question in this research has been the following: Why is it that Wi-Fi community initiatives arise and why do some initiatives succeed and others fail in reaching their goals? Two case studies have been performed in order to obtain insight in the way these communities work and to derive success factors for the establishment and development of community based Wi-Fi initiatives. These are the Wireless Leiden Case and Freifunk Berlin Case. First of all, these insights can be attained by having a close look at the reasons why local actors were willing to contribute to the community initiative. Secondly by exploring how the initiatives are doing in the longer run and how these communities are organized in their tasks, allocation of responsibilities and decision mechanisms during the project s life cycle and to relate this to project success. Based on the findings from these two case studies one can conclude the following. The people behind a Wi-Fi community Wi-Fi communities consists of a mix of individuals who each in their own way make a contribution in a collective setting and can provide for a strong push in the development of a successful community. ii

46 The creation of Wi-Fi communities needs leaders. There must be one or more persons who are willing to take the lead. The lead users take this task upon them. They are be driven by a strong need for communication which cannot be fulfilled in any other way than by Wi-Fi community networks. Therefore they decide to engage in Wi-Fi community networking and establish a network. What characterizes these founders is a very strong commitment to achieving a goal that they define at the beginning. They get enough energy from this goal to continue their undertakings during difficult moments. And these moments occur very often in the beginning. They are people driven by a strong intrinsic motivation to set up a Wi-Fi network that meets their needs. They can have different underlying motives to do so. Some of them may focus on the opportunities offered by the Wi-Fi technology to play with new technology. Others see a higher purpose for Wi-Fi networks, and are more driven by strong ideological reasons such as free networking. Also very important for community success is that the lead users are capable of convincing others, who have the necessary knowledge and skills that founders themselves do not possess, to join the initiative. These are often people who like the lead users are driven by technological or ideological motives. Important in the initial phase of the initiative is the involvement of the techies. These are generally very creative members who know a lot about Wi-Fi technology. Without their knowledge of technology (hardware, software, network), it is impossible to lay the foundation for a suitable network. Furthermore the input of the idealists is very essential. They provide their contacts, organizational skills and long-term thinking to the initiative and keep it moving in the right direction. Ultimately, the resident users are of vital importance for the success of a Wi-Fi network as well. Because of their size, this user group is of great importance for the sustainable growth of a Wi-Fi initiative. Next to the techies, the resident users can also execute part of the maintenance work in order to provide for a sustainable Wi-Fi network. One must therefore do everything to make the initiative as interesting and accessible as possible to the ordinary user. External funding can play an important role in the success of a Wi-Fi initiative. One has to consider whether this financial support outweighs the disadvantages. It may be that with external financing restrictions will be imposed on the conduct of members in a Wi-Fi community. In addition members may be reluctant to be part of an initiative with commercial connections. Conflicts in Wi-Fi communities are very often present. Most of these conflicts are needed to take the community to a next level. Sometimes these conflicts run out of control and potentially can create factions in a community. The challenge is, especially for the idealists in the community, to get the best out of these conflicts. iii

47 Wi-Fi communities as an organization of people The way the members work together is as important for success as the mix of people that is involved. For a successful Wi-Fi network one needs a strong decentralized organization. Members must feel free to follow their preferences and by doing so they can contribute to the greater whole. In this way sufficient commitment can be obtained from the members. Members appreciate the freedom of action they receive in such an environment and are willing to do something in return for it. Hence, there is a reciprocal relationship between their individual goals and the community goals. Coordination among participants takes place through mutual adjustment. In addition to this coordination mechanism articulating and promoting a strong and unambiguous mission is very important for the commitment of members. When this is done sufficiently there is not much anymore between members that has to be settled and coordination takes place very smoothly. A strong mission determines at that time which way to go. It is difficult to ensure that only those people that will naturally identify with the mission find their way into the community. More often, new members are in many cases guided by calculation. This is especially true for residential users who are mainly appealed by the possibility for free broadband Internet. Their involvement is very thin, making their departure from the initiative as easy as their coming. In the long term their departure may leave behind a fragile initiative. Yet their involvement is very necessary for the growth of the initiative. The challenge is to find mechanisms to ensure that their involvement is strengthened, such as offering unique services other than broadband Internet access. Wi-Fi initiatives that succeed in doing so indeed have a greater chance of success. Wi-Fi initiatives that fail to do so risk isolation or a merger with existing organizations. iv

48 Table of Reference FOREWORD... I SUMMARY... II CHAPTER 1 WI-FI COMMUNITIES - RESEARCH DESIGN WI-FI COMMUNITY NETWORKS WI-FI COMMUNITIES ACROSS COUNTRIES Wireless Leiden Wireless Djursland Wireless Dharamsala RESEARCH PROBLEM Aim and Objectives Research questions TOPIC JUSTIFICATION AND RELEVANCE SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS Defining Success in Wi-Fi communities Unit of analysis METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH AND DATA COLLECTION/ANALYSIS Data collection - methods and techniques Documentation Conversations Interviews Data analysis methods and techniques THESIS OUTLINE CHAPTER 2 THEORATICAL FOUNDATION MOTIVES FOR END-USERS TO EGAGE IN WI-FI NETWORKING MENTIONED IN LITERATURE EMPIRICAL FOUNDATION FOR RQ1 BASED ON THE WORK OF VAN OOST AND VERHAEGH Lead user tinkering Sponsor Volunteers tinkering Adoption by Resident User i

49 2.2.5 Maintenance in Wi-Fi community networking THEORETICAL FOUNDATION FOR RQ2 BASED ON THE THEORY OF MINTZBERG Coordination and structure of Wi-Fi communities Wi-Fi communities organized as an adhocracy? Wi-Fi communities organized as a missionary organization? From an Adhocracy to a Missionary to a Bureaucracy organization Mintzberg configuration phases CHAPTER 3 HYPOTHESES HYPOTHESES RELATING TO RESEARCH QUESTION 1 (RQ 1) HYPOTHESES RELATING TO RESEARCH QUESTION 2 (RQ 2) CHAPTER 4 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS CASE STUDY 1 (PILOT) WIRELESS LEIDEN INFORMATION SOURCES EMPIRICAL FINDINGS WL FOR RQ 1 (H3) Pre-establishing WL Establishing phase WL Growth phase WL Maturity phase WL ANALYZING WL AND FEEDBACK FOR RQ 1 (H3) EMPIRICAL FINDINGS WL FOR RQ 2 (H4+H5+H6) Organizational structure and coordination in the initiating phase Way of communication and coordination Decentralized control Defining the Strategy The next level Organizational structure and coordination in the growth phase WL as an organization with missionary characteristics Way of communication and coordination Decentralized control The next level ii

50 4.4.3 Organizational structure and coordination in the maturity phase Centralizing control Calling for more professionalization More formal procedures and standardization ANALYZING WL AND FEEDBACK FOR RQ2 (H4+H5+H6) CHAPTER 5 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS CASE STUDY FREIFUNK BERLIN INFORMATION SOURCES EMPIRICAL FINDINGS FF FOR RQ 1 (H3) General notes on FF Common goal defined in FF Pre-establishing FF Establishing phase FF Growth phase FF Maturity phase FF ANALYZING FF AND FEEDBACK FOR RQ 1 (H3) EMPIRICAL FINDINGS FF FOR RQ1 (H1+H2) Lead users consisting of techies and idealists East Berlin West Berlin Resident users (as users) Resident users (as maintainers) Sponsors ANALYZING FF AND FEEDBACK FOR RQ 1 (H1+H2) EMPIRICAL FINDINGS FF FOR RQ 2 (H4+H5+H6) Organizational structure and coordination in the initiating phase Way of communication and coordination Decentralized control Defining the Strategy The next level iii

51 5.6.2 Organizational structure and coordination in the growth phase Phase 1 Initiating the ideology Phase 2 Developing the ideology Phase 3 Reinforcing the ideology The next level Organizational structure and coordination in the maturity phase ANALYZING FF AND FEEDBACK FOR RQ 2 (H4+H5+H6) CHAPTER 6 SYNTHESIS UNDERSTANDING THE COMMUNITY GOAL USER GROUPS Attributes User roles Lead user role Sponsor role Volunteer role Resident user role Maintenance role WIFI COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION (H4+H5+H6) Start like an adhocracy with missionary characteristics On the way to a bureaucracy Concluding remarks CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION THE PEOPLE BEHIND A WI-FI COMMUNITY WI-FI COMMUNITY AS AN ORGANIZATION OF PEOPLE CHAPTER 8 REFLECTION CHAPTER 9 FURTHER RESEARCH RECOMMENDATIONS CANDIDATE CASE STUDIES INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENT INVERSE INFRASTRUCTURES Inverse infrastructures and coordination Wi-Fi community networks iv

52 Trigger for coordinative action Coordinative action in practice REFERENCES ADDITIONAL REFERENCES APPENDIX A INTERVIEW WITH JÜRGEN NEUMAN APPENDIX B INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDER MORLANG APPENDIX C INTERVIEW WITH DENNIS BARTSCH APPENDIX D PICO PEERING AGREEMENT V APPENDIX E v

53 CHAPTER 1 WI-FI COMMUNITIES - RESEARCH DESIGN Wi-Fi has steadily emerged as the most favourite technology for wireless access to the internet. This development is strongly facilitated due to changes in government policy around the world regarding public access to the radio frequency spectrum. Wi-Fi is using the 2.4 and GHz frequency bands. In many countries around the world this spectrum is unlicensed thereby stimulating the private use of Wi-Fi technology. The figure below shows the Wi-Fi usage by region and indicates a strong growth worldwide in the deployment of Wi-Fi. FIGURE 1: WIFI USAGE BY WORLD REGION(IPASS 2008) SOURCE: MOBILE BROADBAND INDEX Today Wi-Fi is perhaps best known through the hotspots exploited by many telecom operators to provide internet access at places with large public gatherings like airports and shopping centres and by the use of it for home networking to gain wireless access to the internet. Before this private use Wi-Fi started as a technology used within corporations by employees to benefit from the advantages of indoor wireless communication. No licence was needed for using the spectrum band for communication and together with low network deployment and expansion costs in comparison with alternative communication infrastructures Wi-Fi networking emerged within corporations. The most recent development in the Wi-Fi environment and central to this research is the increasing use of Wi-Fi technology in local community networks both in developing and developed countries. 1

54 1.1 WI-FI COMMUNITY NETWORKS Wi-Fi offers possibilities for end-users in creating local community initiatives that go beyond simple in-house use and can cover relatively large areas providing a semi-public network. In this way Wi-Fi community networking has the potential to support communities economically, socially and culturally (Powell and Shade 2006). These type of grassroots initiatives are characterized by a bottom-up network development initiated by end-users and by the end-users taking part in the decision making processes concerning the development of the Wi-Fi network. What we see in general and also in the case of Wi-Fi community networking is that the role end-users seem to see for themselves has changed from a passive role as consumer to an active role in which the end-user participates in the innovation processes. This idea is defined by Von Hippel as democratizing innovation, meaning that (2005): Users ability to innovate is improving radically and rapidly as a result of the steadily improving quality of computer software and hardware, improved access to easy-to-use tools and components for innovation, and access to a steadily richer innovation commons. Stated differently by Van Oost, Verhaegh et al (2009): End-users are increasingly able to develop what they want themselves, instead of depending on what producers offer them. Looking to these communities it seems that end-users are not motivated by commercial interests to collaborate in these community networks. In fact, for most end-users it will cost much money and effort to get involved in these initiatives. Bina and Giaglis state that these networks are characterized by (2006: 2): [ ] the creation and operation of a wireless communications infrastructure through the voluntary contributions of their members private resources (such as knowledge, expertise, equipment, and time). It appears that end-users are willing to invest time and effort in such networks due to the fact that they are given the chance to explore new technologies and improve their communications environment by not only acting as a passive user but also as an infrastructure and service provider. 1.2 WI-FI COMMUNITIES ACROSS COUNTRIES Lemstra and Hayes (2010) mention some of these Wi-Fi community initiatives across different countries. To give a first understanding of these community initiatives a few of these projects and their initial goals are described briefly in the subsequent sections. 2

55 The description of these cases is not exhaustive. Mentioning these examples below is rather intended to provide a first impression of the variety of grassroots Wi-Fi communities across the globe. Of these three examples, the first case which deals with Wireless Leiden, will be used as a case study in this research. The remaining two cases are not dealt with any further in this thesis WIRELESS LEIDEN In the Netherlands we see a number of these kind of initiatives. The most evident one is probably the Wireless Leiden (WL) initiative aimed at providing Wi-Fi city coverage as one of the first cities in the Netherlands. The WL initiative was started in 2001 by Jasper Koolhaas, a Dutch electro-technical engineer with a special interest in Wi-Fi technology. He saw the potential offered by this technology for building small scale networks by end-users. One benefit for instance is that if only one end-user was connected by broadband connection to the internet all network members would have wireless internet access. An increasing number of volunteers joined this initiative. The problem they encountered in the beginning was a technological one and related to limited distance coverage of original Wi-Fi networks. An average Wi-Fi home network usually covers merely a 100 meters and is not suitable for long distance communication. The coverage is proportionally related to the output power of the Wi-Fi transmitter. However, increasing output power was no option due to the fact that this was prohibited by spectrum regulation. The assignment for the group of volunteers was then to increase the range of the radio waves without increasing the output power. Despite some difficulties in the beginning they were able to find a solution for this challenge by including group members with specific knowledge on radio waves. After many experiments the group succeeded in building line of sight antennas which could communicate over long distances and could be used outdoor. What happened was that (van Oost, Verhaegh et al. 2009: 193): The group of Leiden Wi-Fi initiators successfully reengineered the existing Wi-Fi devices from short-range indoor devices into long distance outdoor devices. By January 2002 the Wi-Fi network was operational and hooked up to the internet. WL is used as a pilot case in chapter 5 to elaborate more on the characteristics of this specific initiative in relation to the research questions put forward in this research WIRELESS DJURSLAND In Denmark the Djursland initiative emerged to cover areas which were not served by the incumbent telecom operator for economic reasons. Djursland is a peninsula on the east coast of Denmark. This mostly rural area is thinly populated and relatively difficult to reach. Commercial providers were not interested in investing in any kind of broadband access technology in this part of Denmark. That triggered the founding in 2001 of a public initiative by local end-users who united themselves in the Djursland initiative. The goal of this community was to offer low priced broadband access to rural areas. Wi-Fi technology was 3

56 chosen to meet this goal. People from different municipalities in the region worked together and already in 2003 the first end-users in the rural areas of Djursland could have access to broadband internet through a wide-ranging Wi-Fi network. Currently, one third of all households, institutions and companies use this network for access to broad band internet (Nielsen 2010). The regional public initiative has been split up in many local units which are responsible for their own local network. Today Wireless Djursland has reached a maturity phase in which it is increasingly involved in the spread of information in order to contribute to a successful implementation of similar wireless initiatives within and outside Denmark. Part of this is to educate local people on the use of IT and to improve their IT skills WIRELESS DHARAMSALA Not only in the developed countries have such Wi-Fi community initiatives arisen. In many developing countries local people see possibilities for local deployment of Wi-Fi technology. Especially Wi-Fi s potential for providing and supporting fundamental services like educational and health services is very often referred to. The Dharamsala project in India was started to provide inexpensive internet access on a sustainable basis to a hardly accessible rural area in the Himalayas. In 2005 the project started after the deregulation of Wi-Fi outdoor use in India (IndianGov 2005). The first problems encountered by the Dharamsala community had to do with the harsh environment in which the network had to be operational. Dharamsala is a mountainous region with limited access to electricity. In order to provide a very robust network a Wi-Fi mesh network was developed instead of a point-to-multi point network as the later network type needs line of sight which could not be met in Dharamsala due to the mountains. In addition, the mesh network is more robust in case some nodes are inactive due to electricity supply problems. At the moment the mesh backbone consists of 30 nodes that provide not only internet access to its members but also file sharing, playback of high quality videos from remote archives and advanced telephone services through VoIP (Airjaldi 2010). In the aforementioned cases each community has been able to set up an organizational structure that is able to provide and run a small scale communications network effectively by a group of (predominantly) volunteers. In many cases these type of initiatives succeeded in achieving their goals and in some cases like the Amsterdam Wireless (AmsterdamWireless 2004) success was limited to the early development phase. These mixed results form the starting point for the research presented in this thesis. The next paragraph elaborates on the research problem leading to the main research questions. Sections 1.4 and 1.5 deal subsequently with the topic justification and scope. Section 1.6 deals with the research methods used to collect and find an answer to the research questions. The last paragraph 1.7 of this chapter contains an outline for the research project. 4

57 1.3 RESEARCH PROBLEM What we can observe from the previous sections is that each community initiative differs in its leading motivations, characteristics and context. In the WL initiative for instance the initial trigger was purely a technical focus on the possibilities of the Wi-Fi product itself. The project was started by a small number of volunteers to show at that point in time their understanding of a new technology. The current situation (SWL 2011) is that the city is covered with nodes in large parts of the city, but growth is limited due to the fact that the initial goals have been largely accomplished and a lack of new volunteers. The focus is now on improving the network quality by offering more reliability and higher data rates to endusers. On the other hand in the Djursland initiative it was the very need for broadband access that motivated people to set up their own Wi-Fi network. With the financial help from third parties, including the collection of fees from rural and suburban citizens, one of the largest Wi-Fi networks in the world has been developed. Broadband is now offered to this peninsula at an average of one-third of market prices in Denmark s urban areas (Nielsen 2007:4). In what has been stated above one can see rather straightforward the differences between the many cases and the obstacles met by each initiative. However the challenge is to try to determine the critical success factors that go beyond the individual case and are crucial for community initiatives to succeed. Limited research has been performed on this matter resulting in a gap in existing knowledge and understanding on why and how community based Wi-Fi initiatives evolve and what it is that determines their success. Although this research is initially motivated from a scientific goal to improve theoretical and empirical knowledge on Wi-Fi communities it has also practical relevance. It can help actors interested in Wi-Fi networks to deploy Wi-Fi communities more successfully AIM AND OBJECTIVES Hence, this research studies a number of Wi-Fi community cases in order to obtain insight in the way these communities work and to derive success factors for the establishment and development of community based Wi-Fi initiatives. First of all, these insights can be attained by having a close look at the reasons why local actors are willing to contribute to any community initiative at all. Having insight in their basic assumptions and in what underpins a yes or no to contribute to an initiative means insight in the opportunities they perceive before engaging in such community activities and a first step towards achieving the research goal. Secondly it is interesting to understand how the community initiatives are performing in the longer run. The success of these initiatives is not guaranteed. Some of them realize their original goals and stay in operation. Others do not go beyond the initial phase. For some of these projects the goals are altered in the midst of the project when others take over the project and provide the project their own relevance and direction. It is interesting to 5

58 explore how these communities are organized in their tasks, allocation of responsibilities and decision mechanisms during the project s life cycle and to relate this to project success RESEARCH QUESTIONS Hence, the central research question in this research will be the following: Why is it that Wi-Fi community initiatives arise and why do some initiatives succeed and others fail in reaching their goals? A further clarification on this question can be found below. A deliberate distinction is being made between the individual goals of end-users and the collective goals of the community. Whereas the first part of research question 1 deals with the individual reasons behind the participation in Wi-Fi communities, the second part centers on the translation of these individual goals into community goals shared by all community members. The second part forms in this way also a bridge towards the second research question in which the Wi-Fi community is dealt with as an organizational entity. 1. What circumstances and issues motivate individual end-users to be involved and contribute to Wi-Fi community networks and what are end-user goals for participating in these initiatives? 1.1 What kind of end-users are participating in these Wi-Fi community initiatives? 1.2 What individual goals do end-users try to realise by participating in these Wi-Fi communities? 1.3 What community goals do end-users try to realise by participating in these Wi-Fi communities? 1.4 How do the previous individual goals of end-users relate to achievement of community goals? Research question 2 points to the organization as a whole and deals with community goals in the longer run and how these are achieved in an organizational setting. 2. How are Wi-Fi community networks organized and coordinated during their life cycle in order to achieve community goals? (in time and place phases, structure, mechanisms) 2.1 What are the different phases that Wi-Fi communities go through and is there any difference in community goals in each of these phases? 6

59 2.2 What are the predominant organizational structure and coordination mechanisms in each of these phases? 2.3 How are the organizational structure and coordination mechanisms related to the achievement of community goals? The research questions are depicted below to make things more clear. It is expected that the concepts under scrutiny, i.e. the incentives, individual goals, community structure, community goals and their interrelation is changing over time with each phase having its own implementation of these research concepts. FIGURE 2: RESEARCH QUESTIONS 7

60 1.4 TOPIC JUSTIFICATION AND RELEVANCE As previously mentioned this research is primarily driven by the scientific need to have a better understanding of the coming into existence and development of Wi-Fi communities. Beyond that this research has a social relevance too. The scientific relevance can be divided on the one hand in the empirical relevance the data collection has by itself. Collecting data on different cases provides clearly various insights in the individual cases. On the other hand by having a close look at different case studies one can try to generalize the individual research findings to a more abstract level in order to obtain theoretical insights that go beyond the individual case. However, in order to avoid the pitfalls of overflow, unstructured data collection and incorrect generalizations some empirical and theoretical assumptions are used as a starting point. These are not only forming a guide in the data collection phase, but also providing a frame of reference for interpreting data during the data analysis phase. In chapter 2 some current discussions in literature based on empirical insights in end-user roles and the characterization of Wi-Fi communities are reviewed. In addition, the second part of chapter 2 deals with a useful theory to describe the emergence and continuity of Wi-Fi communities in relation to their success. Next to the theoretical lessons concerning Wi-Fi initiatives that are provided this research has social implications too. The research outcomes can be used to inform parties interested in Wi-Fi community initiatives. These outcomes can simplify the development of other potential Wi-Fi initiatives and guard them from novice mistakes. 1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS In doing research the scope and limitations have to be clearly defined. Issues relating to the definition of central concepts, place, time and phase of the research objects have been mentioned in the following paragraphs. Central to this research are Wi-Fi community initiatives deployed and developed by endusers. What these end-users have in common is that they are not driven by the profit motive in setting up these initiatives. An important note here is that this research is focussing on grassroots initiatives initiated by end-users for end-users. Hence, this research does not deal with municipal or commercial Wi-Fi networking. In studying Wi-Fi community initiatives one can have many perspectives. The focus in this research is pre-dominantly on motivational and organizational issues in organizing these communities. The focus is on Wi-Fi community initiatives which have arisen in the previous 10 years. Attention is given to both the early phases of Wi-Fi community emergence and to the development and outcomes in the longer run. 8

61 Wi-Fi community initiatives arise both in developing and developed countries. However for the part of collecting the empirical evidence the focus is on community initiatives organized in developed countries. Due to the high degree of information accessibility the following two initiatives have been chosen to act as a case study. The first case study deals with Wireless Leiden in the Netherlands and the second case study with Freifunk Berlin in Germany. The idea is that in performing these case studies also lessons can be learned that are applicable and useful for any Wi-Fi initiative including, including those in developing countries DEFINING SUCCESS IN WI-FI COMMUNITIES The goal in this research is to determine success factors in the development of Wi-Fi community networks. For this reason two Wi-Fi community cases which are identified as successful have been studied. Determining successful initiatives is not an easy job. When is an Wi-Fi initiative successful? One can look for instance whether the community is still operational after a few years or ask the community members whether they think their community is successful. The most unbiased way of defining success and used in this research is to determine the extent to which the community goals, formulated by the community members themselves, are being met. This will include the community members in defining success, but at the same time pinpoint any discrepancies by community members towards achieving community goals. The more of these (sub)goals have been met the more success can be claimed by this initiative UNIT OF ANALYSIS An important note has to be made concerning the unit of analysis. In dealing with successful communities one has to keep the following in mind. Success in communities can originate from two different levels. On the one hand Wi-Fi community success can originate from the motives, conditions and goals of individual participants. This is something different from the success on a community level caused by the interaction and collaboration of many individuals in a certain organizational setting. So when performing the two case studies this difference in unit of analysis has been kept in mind. This distinction follows from the difference in focus between research question RQ1 and RQ2. The first question tries to reveal the role individual end-users have in the success of Wi-Fi communities and how this is translated in a common purpose, while RQ2 deals with Wi-Fi community success at an organizational level. Figure 3 depicts this situation in which the success of Wi-Fi communities is not only dependent on the organizational structure but also on the involvement of individual end-users. The unit of analysis in the second case study requires some elaboration. Although we will see that Freifunk Berlin is described as a meta-community which succeeded in bringing together smaller communities no evidence has been found that these smaller communities 9

62 have their own profile and act differently from the meta community. Hence, FF Berlin can be considered as a comparable unit of analysis as WL. FIGURE 3 : WI-FI COMMUNITY SUCCESS 1.6 METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH AND DATA COLLECTION/ANALYSIS The first stage in this research was to review existing material on Wi-Fi communities by having a look at different literature on Wi-Fi community initiatives departing from the research questions. The first step in the research is to understand what has been stated in literature on Wi-Fi communities and link this to specific theories dealing with the complexity and dynamics of community organizations and end-user involvement (Chapter 2). Based on this literature review and the theoretical foundations relevant hypothesis have been derived (Chapter 3). The next stage in this process has been the collection of qualitative empirical data from the above mentioned two Wi-Fi community cases (Chapter 4 & 5). Data from these case studies has been then carefully analyzed and synthesized before it was used to validate the hypotheses. Based on the findings the hypotheses are then sensitively accepted, rejected or improved. After validation the derived findings and conclusions are presented (Chapter 6). The whole process of data collection has been carefully documented in order to uphold the quality of research. Hence, a case study database was used for this reason. 10

63 The goal in this research is to determine success factors in the development of Wi-Fi community networks. In interpreting the study findings one has to look for confirmation of the hypotheses put forward. In addition and equally important is to look for alternative explanations for the findings. As stated by Yin (2002:34) A major and important strategy is to identify and address rival explanation for your findings. Performing this process adequately improves the quality of the research project DATA COLLECTION - METHODS AND TECHNIQUES Data has been collected through the use of the following methods and techniques: Case study method o Documentation o Semi structured interviews o Conversations Documentation Document analysis is collecting data that already exists in some form or another. One can think of s, articles, documents, and reports. The website of especially the more mature Wi-Fi communities form a good place to start looking for these documents. In chapter 4 and 5 for each case study a summary of the most important references is listed at the start of each chapter Conversations Collecting data can be done by talking to people. In many cases these are well prepared formal interactions. The interview is a good example of this. But there are also interactions taking place in an informal setting, sometimes even combined with an interview and taking place before or after the interview. These type of interactions are referred to as conversations here and are listed separately for three different reasons. Firstly, they have been used at the beginning to have a first understanding of the research objects and to determine the right scope in a quick manner. Secondly, these conversations in the hallways sometimes provide for a deeper understanding of certain issues, because people are more leaky in such a setting and painful/controversial issues can be more easily discussed. Thirdly, the conversations have also a meta purpose. The lessons learned from the way the conversations went in the first case study have been valuable for effectively carrying out the interviews in the second case study. That brings us to the last data collection method Interviews Interviews are used to collect data that is not yet at hand. The semi structured interview is used to take interviews in a more structured manner following the set of questions derived from the case study protocol. For the second case study 3 core members have been interviewed. A transcript of these interviews can be found in the Appendices A, B and C. 11

64 1.6.2 DATA ANALYSIS METHODS AND TECHNIQUES The collected data can be analyzed in different ways. There are two broad methods towards analyzing data. One can choose for a qualitative method (e.g. case study method) or a quantitative method (e.g. statistical analysis). Whether to choose for a quantitative or qualitative approach depends on the research goal and research questions. Due to the nature of the research questions a qualitative approach towards analyzing the collected date is more suitable. This research is aimed at understanding why end-users are involved in Wi-Fi communities and how these communities are organized. In such type of research a qualitative approach is more applicable and in particular the case study method. The case study method helps to clarify why and how certain decision(s) where taken leading to what result (Schramm 1971) (Yin 2002:17). The purpose is to derive conclusions that go beyond the individual case and are applicable to other similar cases as well. In this way, case studies offer the opportunity to collect empirical evidence in order to test the predefined hypotheses on their general applicability. The general strategy used in this research is to rely on theoretical propositions derived from the theory and initial literature review in order to guide case study analysis. 1.7 THESIS OUTLINE The next figure depicts the structure of the thesis. A distinction has been made between the theoretical research and empirical research. The theoretical research deals with the concepts and ideas behind Wi-Fi community initiatives. In order to describe why things are happening as they happen, a theoretical approach is necessary. Based on this research certain hypotheses are derived, which will be validated qualitatively through empirical research. The empirical research describes the Wi-Fi communities as they are. Evidence from real cases is collected in this research through the case study method and entails both the analysis of documents and the performing of conversations and interviews. 12

65 CHAPTER 1 RESEARCH DESIGN THEORETICAL RESEARCH CHAPTER 2 THEORATICAL FOUNDATION CHAPTER 3 DEVELOP HYPOTHESES EVALUATION EMPIRICAL RESEARCH CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS CASE STUDY 1 CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS CASE STUDY 2 EMPIRICAL RESULTS DESIGN CHAPTER 6 SYNTHESIS CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS CHAPTER 8 REFLECTION CHAPTER 9 RESEARCH RECOMMENDATIONS FIGURE 4 : THESIS OUTLINE 13

66 CHAPTER 2 THEORATICAL FOUNDATION In order to guide the empirical research this chapter provides for a theoretical and empirical foundation. It is divided into two parts. Sections 2.1 and 2.2 deal RQ1 and go into the literature relating to the incentives and goals of Wi-Fi community participants. The second part of this chapter includes sections 2.3 which deals with RQ2 and directs attention to a theory that is useful to understand how Wi-Fi communities are organized. Based on these insights hypotheses will be formed in Chapter 3. These hypotheses will guide the empirical research in chapter 4 and MOTIVES FOR END-USERS TO EGAGE IN WI-FI NETWORKING MENTIONED IN LITERATURE Part of this research is to determine the reasons why end-users are willing to invest in a Wi- Fi community network and what goals they are trying to achieve with this participation. End-users can hook up in different phases to Wi-Fi community networks. Some of them are part of the early group of participants and others come much later when the network is in a much more mature state. Knowing their intentions is a first step in understanding the factors that determine success of a Wi-Fi initiative. End-users will only invest in a Wi-Fi network if in their perception there are any chances of success and they can be part of that success. If we look at the literature dealing with why people want to participate in wireless community networks it brings us to a variety of reasons ranging from the pursuit of ideals, technical challenges, convenience and affordability, interesting services or just for doing things together with neighbors. Camponovo (2010) has studied the incentives for FON members to participate in the FON network. FON is a commercial wireless initiative in which members can earn some money by sharing their Wi-Fi connection with others. Although this FON research is not dealing with non-profit communities, it reveals a multitude of reasons that may be very valid for non-profit wireless community networks as well. The research shows that people join FON primarily because they receive a tangible reward in return by earning a little bit of money or having free Internet access away from home. This is not surprising for an initiative that is primarily economically motivated. What is interesting is that there are many participants who point to more communal reasons for their participation. In decreasing order of importance they refer to the concept of sharing, to idealistic aims such as offering an alternative to commercial internet providers, technical curiosity or social interaction (Camponovo and Picco-Schwendener 2010: 502). Some authors have tried to categorize these different sets of reasons according to certain theories. An interesting and useful way that recurs in literature is to group them based on their root incentives. Bina and Giaglis (2006) came up with an interesting framework based on the Self-Determination Theory in which they distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic incentives. End-users who are motivated by intrinsic incentives are focused on themselves and are guided by incentives like enjoyment, self-efficacy, need for autonomy, ideological 14

67 aspirations and altruism (Bina and Giaglis 2006:4). These drivers are built-in in a person and come from within one s self. For extrinsically motivated end-users the environment is much more important. They are triggered by external conditions to become involved. In general they want to receive something back for their participation. The leading incentives include next to expectations on explicit rewards, career prospects, ego-involvement and personal needs (2006: 4). A different kind of motivation found among the literature is more of an ideological nature. It is about empowerment and civic engagement of end-users. In this view (free) communication is a fundamental right for everyone and that people have to do their most best to achieve this goal. In this sense, end-users driven by this motivation see Wi-Fi technology offering them an opportunity to contribute to this goal. They can easily share their bandwidth with strangers on a private or community basis. In line with this some endusers are against the hierarchical control with traditional ISPs and are more in support of autonomous communication communities (Wong 2007). For some volunteers community networking is about social interaction and improving your social environment. Sandvig (2004) has done useful research in collecting some of the social goals. The societal goals vary widely across the many community initiatives and are aimed at reducing the digital gap, promoting local grassroots media makers, research and development, internet access to underserved areas, building community empowerment, educating users, pledging bandwidth to those who need it, promote economic development, make resource sharing easier. Efstathiou et al (2006:1) take a different starting point and use a rival theory to explain why end-users participate in the first place. They focus on the self-interest and reciprocity as a driving force for cooperation in wireless community networks. According to this view participants are selfish and primarily motivated by the fact that they have more to gain than to loose from participating in a wireless community network. A study in Canada supports the idea that some end-users are more triggered by the selfish characteristics of Wi-Fi community networks resembling lower monthly communications costs and free access away from home than by altruistic reasons (Wong 2007:11). End-users can have a egocentric view on reciprocity in which they focus purely on their selfish goals. In literature we read that this attitude may pose a danger to the development of Wi-Fi communities in the longer run. Abdelaal (2008) states that: [ ] the shared resources of communities (e.g., times, effort, money donations, skills, beliefs and values and computing resources) are the main resources for building and maintaining these networks. In newly created, small networks these resources are generally limited. Hence, if too many participants make relative modest contributions and use the Wi-Fi community network above average this endangers the development of durable Wi-Fi networks. 15

68 2.2 EMPIRICAL FOUNDATION FOR RQ1 BASED ON THE WORK OF VAN OOST AND VERHAEGH These reasons above are collected by researchers from many Wi-Fi community cases. Although they provide a helicopter view of the many reasons why people engage in Wi-Fi networking this divergent list of reasons lacks any structure and is not really helpful in performing the empirical research. One can wonder whether the reasons for end-users involvement relate in some way to each other or follow a certain sequence or some preconditions. Therefore it has been chosen to look into more advanced empirical research dealing with end-users incentives and to take the assumptions made in the research as a starting point. One such promising research in that sense is the research performed by Van Oost and Verhaegh (2009). They have done research on user-initiated innovations in the WL initiative and have come up with a useful categorization of different types of user roles. This thesis will build on this categorization and elaborate on the driving forces leading to participation behind each role. Table 1 summarizes the user roles that have been identified. Furthermore it is interesting to mention that Van Oost and Verhaegh (2009) identified a sequence in user roles during the emergence and growth in WL with each user role making a vital contribution. Wi-Fi community phase User role Initiating phase Lead user Growth and stabilization phase Sponsor Volunteer Residential user Maintenance TABLE 1: USER ROLES MENTIONED IN VAN OOST AND VERHAEGH (2009) 16

69 As stated by Van Oost and Verhaegh (2009:199): Wireless Leiden comprises an array of different user roles, each one of them contributing to a specific and vital element of the growth and stabilization of Wireless Leiden. Starting with the lead user in the initiating phase and then attracting sponsors who gave the initiative more momentum and contributed to its early growth. With increasing public and private sponsoring the initiative was able to attract a lot of attention leading subsequently to additional volunteers contributing to the further growth of the network. From this moment on the network became of value to the residential user whose participation is more driven by ease of use and network reliability. In order to accommodate these higher quality expectations regarding the network and its services there was a need for more maintenance work. Hence, the significance of the maintenance role became more dominating as a result of which the number of users predominantly doing the maintenance works has increased. Most of the maintenance in this stabilizing phase is, unlike in the initiating phase, more based on routine jobs with less need and room for tinkering. Below the roles used in table 1 will be explained in more detail. In order to clarify these roles some references to other literature have been made LEAD USER TINKERING End-users may have a pragmatic reason to be involved in community networking. They may perceive a lack of service from vendors and feel the actual need to provide themselves for the service or adjust an existing service to their own needs (Sandvig 2004). In fact, a large number of these wireless initiatives are launched to provide for applications that are not yet present (Szabó, Farkas et al. 2008). This is a more functional and practical reason for the materialization of Wi-Fi community networks. Von Hippel (2005) refers to these type of end-users as lead users. He characterizes lead users as users who firstly are (2005:22): and secondly: [ ] at the leading edge of an important market trend(s), and so are currently experiencing needs that will later be experienced by many user in that market [ ] they anticipate relatively high benefits from obtaining a solution to their needs, and so may innovate. This is in accordance with what happened when the early members of the WL adjusted the Wi-Fi technology to their personal needs. 17

70 2.2.2 SPONSOR Financial support from public and private sponsors was obtained in the WL initiative due to the fact that these organizations acknowledged the mutual interest of this network. In exchange for sponsoring WL these organizations used the network for their personal gain. Namely, they (van Oost, Verhaegh et al. 2009:196): [ ] used the Wireless Leiden infrastructure as their own virtual private network allowing employees safe and free access to the company network from their homes. The support from these organizations proved to be very important for the growth of the WL initiative VOLUNTEERS TINKERING When more users join a community and more user roles get involved a diverse community comes into being stimulating innovation and fruitful cooperation. Hughes (1987) sees a special role for community cooperation in the development of innovations. He states that: [ ] there is a role for amateur action at the beginning of new technologies as there is initially no profession for an innovation there can be no professionals. In this way community participants are supposed to be triggered by an opportunity to explore the possibilities of a new technology in a hobbyist setting. In the same line Sandvig (2004) concludes that: [ ] these Wi-Fi communities exist primarily to build elite expertise. If we look at the elite expertise we know this group of volunteers is primarily driven by technical interest. Looking into the (van Oost, Verhaegh et al. 2009) we see that the main reason for the early WL participants had to with their technical curiosity in Wi-Fi technology ADOPTION BY RESIDENT USER In WL the real growth came when large parts of city residents decided to be members of the community. Although these people enjoyed being associated with Wi-Fi community networking they were more driven by economic reasons than any other type of user. Economical not necessarily in the sense of attempting to make any monetary profit, but more in the sense of minimizing their effort and maximizing their utility from being part of the community. Resident users are less interested in the technology itself and more in the functionalities of Wi-Fi community to the extent that (van Oost, Verhaegh et al. 2009:197): [ ] this new type of end-user no longer needed the motivation to let the overall project succeed. 18

71 Many of these resident end-users engaged in Wi-Fi community to benefit from free internet access. Others seem to be attracted by the services that are offered by the community. This is especially the case when (Frangoudis, Polyzos et al. 2011:210): [ ] the respective services over commercial (fixed) broadband infrastructure are of worse quality, or even non-existent MAINTENANCE IN WI-FI COMMUNITY NETWORKING If we look at WL we see a large portion of the maintenance work is mostly seen as boring and was therefore ignored by volunteers. Even the core volunteers who started the initiative for intrinsic motivations ignored this type of work sometimes, but they realized that it was essential for community success. Low service reliability and quality may endanger the continuity of a community. For a success of any communication network people have to count on the service meaning a high response rate. That implies there has to be some sort of a development from the general amateur attitude at the start of a project to a more professional stage. A stage in which reliability is critical for durable Wi-Fi communities. Therefore in WL it was decided to improve maintenance work and assign the easy maintenance to node adoption volunteers. What we can derive from the above literature is that there is a certain sequence in the involvement of different user roles starting with lead users and then subsequently sponsor, volunteer, resident and finally maintenance users. Based on the previous user roles and the theoretical views in the next sections hypotheses have been formed in chapter 3 that will be tested in this research. 2.3 THEORETICAL FOUNDATION FOR RQ2 BASED ON THE THEORY OF MINTZBERG Much literature dealing with Wi-Fi communities concerns the motives for the emergence of Wi-Fi communities. However little can be found on the way these communities are organized. Hence, one can say that this is still a green field situation. Therefore in this section a more abstract view is taken. Attention is turned to theories that describe organizational structures to obtain more insight in this issue. Transaction costs theory and the Mintzberg theories were reviewed, but only the Mintzberg theory was considered very useful to describe Wi-Fi communities. The reasons why not to use transaction costs economics is discussed in the chapter 8, the reflection chapter. For further elaboration on theories that might be also useful to describe Wi-Fi communities see chapter 9 dealing with research recommendations. In this section the Mintzberg theory is used to understand how Wi-Fi community initiatives are organized. A deeper application will be performed in chapter 4 en 5 when these theory assumptions are dealt with in the light of two case studies. 19

72 2.3.1 COORDINATION AND STRUCTURE OF WI-FI COMMUNITIES One issue that seems very important in the emergence and continuation of Wi-Fi communities is how these communities are organized and coordinated in the longer run. Wi-Fi communities can be characterized as a new type of organization which according to a first literature review seems to involve many types of users and different sets of coordination mechanisms merely based on coordination pull. In most organizations every effort that has to be taken needs some form of vertical coordination by management. However there are two organizational forms in which coordination is based on a different form in which trust and norms plays a key role. These type of organizations seem very useful to describe Wi-Fi communities. Mintzberg theory provides us with a useful theoretical foundation for elaborating more on these organizational forms. Mintzberg identified six different types of organization structures and decision mechanism within these organizational configurations. Two of these configurations, the ad-hoc organization and missionary organization can be used in the context of Wi-Fi communities. FIGURE 5: BASIC DIMENSIONS OF THE SIX CONFIGURATIONS (MINTZBERG, LAMPEL ET AL. 2003) Mintzberg uses three criteria to characterize organizational structures (see figure 5). These are the prime coordination mechanism, the key part of the organization and the type of decentralization (design parameters). The next paragraphs give an introduction to the adhocracy and missionary organization and will deal with the extent to which Wi-Fi communities seem to share characteristics with these two configurations. 20

73 Wi-Fi communities organized as an adhocracy? An adhocracy (a) distinguishes itself from other type of organizations in different ways. FIGURE 6: THE BASIC MECHANISMS OF COORDINATION Firstly, the main coordination mechanism in an adhocracy is mutual adjustment. Organizational members rely on self-organizing in order to cooperate effectively. There is an absence of hierarchy and no clearly defined roles and together with little formalization between organization members this results in a very organic structure in which trust plays a central role (Mintzberg 1992). This seems similar in Wi-Fi communities. Most end-users in Wi-Fi communities are willing to cooperate with each other on the bases of trust in which communication takes place along informal ways. Secondly, in adhocracies the number of managers is very limited. Instead organization members, the operational core, have a far-reaching authority to make the necessary decisions. These are the people doing the job on the work floor. Interestingly in Wi-Fi communities the end-users can be characterized as the operational core, the experts, who are in many ways responsible for the preservation of Wi-Fi networks. From the first literature review in the previous sections we understand that end-users are willing to participate in Wi-Fi communities due to the fact that they are given the room to be involved in a flexible and a hobbyist manner. In addition, end-users see not only a role for Wi-Fi networking to satisfy their hobbyist need, but also the possibilities offered by Wi-Fi networks for local content development and community building. Thirdly, adhocracies use selective decentralization as a form of decentralization. Selective decentralization is (Mintzberg, Lampel et al. 2003:216): [ ] the dispersal of decision power over different decision to different places in the organization. 21

74 This structure suits organizations that are very innovative which operate in a dynamic environment and have to react quickly to their environment. It can be discussed whether Wi-Fi communities really operate in such a complex environment. Nevertheless one can certainly state that Wi-Fi communities involve innovative adjustment of Wi-Fi technology to suit local needs and operate in a dynamic environment in which the number of participants changes continuously forming a very fluid network. Participants and groups of participants come and go continuously. From literature on Wi-Fi communities we can read that participants are attracted to Wi-Fi community networking due to the fact that end-users can easily adjust or extend the use of the network to customer needs and preferences and by the fact that there is room for ad-hoc implementations Wi-Fi communities organized as a missionary organization? When taking an ideological view on Wi-Fi communities a different organization form which was added later on by Mintzberg seems also suitable to describe Wi-Fi communities. The missionary organization can be characterized as containing a clear mission and common purpose carried through by a core group of early members. This configuration has a loose division of labor with little job specialization and training. Similar to an adhocracy there is little formalization and group forming is without any significant planning and control systems (See Figure 5). This type of organization is characterized by lots of personal contact between organizational members. When looking at Wi-Fi communities one can see similarities. WL for instance was started by a small group of persons sharing a strong believe in the possibilities of a city wide wireless communication network based on Wi-Fi. In addition, apart from these core members the majority of end-users participating in this community were layman who had received little training before joining the community. Based on the idea that these networks should have limited barriers for participants to become a member participation was kept as simple as possible. According to Mintzberg et al (2003:224): What holds the missionary together - that is, provides for its coordination - is the standardization of norms, the sharing of values and beliefs among all its members. So in fact people in such an organization share a way of thinking which provides them with the ability to cooperate and achieve results without any additional coordination mechanism. The above statement is according what has been found in literature on Wi-Fi end-user involvement so far. In many cases participants in Wi-Fi communities seem to be attracted by these initiatives because of a belief that end-users can be initiators and developers of new local infrastructures not based on corporate control. In addition Mintzberg et al (2003:224) state: A way to achieve this is through indoctrination. Once the new member is indoctrinated into the organization once he or she identifies strongly with the common beliefs he or she can be given considerable freedom to make decisions. 22

75 If end-users think in the same way and are part of the ideology they are ready to receive decision power resulting in a highly decentralized organization structure with end-users responsible for the decisions taken. One issue that is contradicting is that in a missionary organization according to Mintzberg neither the environment nor the technical system is complex whereas in an adhocracy this is the opposite. Although there are differences both organization types share the characteristic that the operating core is crucial for the preservation of the organization From an Adhocracy to a Missionary to a Bureaucracy organization Based on the previous one can assume that the emergence and continuation of Wi-Fi communities can be related to the way these communities are organized and coordinated. On the short term when Wi-Fi communities are started they consist of a limited number of members. In these small groups the main coordination mechanism is mutual adjustment. With increasing network size mutual adjustment becomes insufficient and group members have to rely increasingly on a different coordinating mechanism which is based on teaching new members certain norms. New members identify themselves with these norms and contribute to the growing network. With increasing growth and maturity the organization is heading gradually towards a bureaucracy with more forceful coordination mechanisms MINTZBERG CONFIGURATION PHASES Based on the previous we can assume that Wi-Fi communities follow a certain development during their life cycle resembling the figure below. First they start as an adhocracy with a small number of involved members who coordinate their activities through mutual adjustment. With an increasing number of members mutual adjustment is not sufficient anymore to harmonize the different activities performed by the end-users. At a certain point in time these end users have to count on coordination based on a certain way of thinking shared by all group members. This ideology is directing the efforts put in by different members towards achieving the organization goals. With everincreasing size organizations have to build in some sort of professionalism. As a result the organization has to develop more rules and becomes increasingly rigid and formalized. Most Wi-Fi communities seem to be either in phase 1 or 2. Some of them like the WL initiative are more mature and seem to be already heading towards phase 3. FIGURE 7: CONFIGURATION OF WI-FI COMMUNITIES DURING DIFFERENT PHASES 23

76 CHAPTER 3 HYPOTHESES In a first step towards answering the sub questions hypotheses can be used. As stated by (Yin 2002:28): [ ] each hypothesis directs attention to something that should be examined within the scope of study [ ]. Only if you are forced to state some hypothesis you will move in the right direction. Based on a the previous chapter the subsequent hypotheses can be derived. They direct attention to the critical concepts and variables regarding Wi-Fi community networks. Eventually the performed empirical research will determine the plausibility of these hypotheses. 3.1 HYPOTHESES RELATING TO RESEARCH QUESTION 1 (RQ 1) The first three hypotheses are directed towards answering RQ 1. The first two hypotheses focus on the individual incentives each end-user has when participating in a Wi-Fi community network. Different users see different opportunities in contributing to Wi-Fi networking. As mentioned in 2.2 both hypotheses are based on earlier work of (van Oost, Verhaegh et al. 2009) dealing with WL. Interesting is to check whether more empirical support can be found for the same user roles in other Wi-Fi community networks as well (see Chapter 5). H1: Wi-Fi communities follow a sequence of end-user involvement starting with lead users and then subsequently sponsors, volunteers, resident and finally maintenance users H2: Each of the user roles is of vital importance to Wi-Fi community success in the longer run These end-users may differ in their leading incentives to contribute to a Wi-Fi community network, but ultimately they have to work together in one organizational setting. It is interesting to see how these different end-user goals come together and form one common purpose. We have already seen that Wi-Fi grassroots communities share characteristics with a missionary organization. A missionary organization starts with a clear mission. What is it that these end-users all agree about and keeps the initiative heading towards a certain collective aim. The third hypothesis deals with this issue and hence directs attention to the collectiveness of Wi-Fi communities. H3: The emergence and growth of a Wi-Fi community has its roots in the common purpose shared among the divergent set of participants. 24

77 3.2 HYPOTHESES RELATING TO RESEARCH QUESTION 2 (RQ 2) The hypotheses concerning the second research question elaborate more on the mentioned collectiveness of Wi-Fi initiatives and direct attention towards a common way of organizing and maintaining this type of communities in order to achieve community goals. Based on the theory of Mintzberg the following hypotheses can be derived. During the initiating phase: H4: The emergence of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling an adhocracy. During the growth phase: H5: The continuation of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling a missionary organization. During the maturity phase: H6: Keeping Wi-Fi community networks operational in the long run is accompanied by a change in attitude of participants from an amateur to a professional one with increasing use of economic mechanisms, formal procedures and top down coordination measures. In chapter 4 en 5 empirical findings from two case studies will be used to test the hypotheses and find an answer to the research questions. The first case is Wireless Leiden (WL) and the second case in chapter 5 deals with the Freifunk Berlin (FF) initiative. An important methodological note has to be made concerning the Wireless Leiden case study. The WL case is used in two ways in the empirical research. Firstly, it is used to derive H1 and H2. These two hypotheses are based on the WL case and hence are true and applicable in this case, but it is interesting to see whether the same can be found in the FF case as well. Therefore H1 and H2 will be tested in the FF case. Secondly, the WL case is used to test the applicability of the remaining hypotheses H3, H4, H5 and H6 which were derived from the Mintzberg theory. 25

78 CHAPTER 4 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS CASE STUDY 1 (PILOT) WIRELESS LEIDEN Much research has been done on the WL initiative and it may seem therefore a bit over rated to again focus on WL, yet this initiative has proven to be very useful as a research case due to its maturity. In the previous 10 years the community has dealt with many ups and downs and is still operational at the moment. At the same time this attention from researchers resulted in a great deal of empirical material that is useful to have a look at for two reasons. Firstly, time is saved if already present material is collected, and secondly time can be used more wisely to collect empirical material that is not yet present by speaking to people. 4.1 INFORMATION SOURCES Based on secondary data analysis and conversations with members of the WL community the following empirical findings relating to the research questions are presented. Before dealing with them first some words on the secondary data sources used to collect the empirical data. Much information can be found on the WL website: In addition, in order to get a feeling about the operational issues and the daily activities performed by the WL volunteers the volunteer mailing lists have been followed. Most importantly however for this case study is the work of Stefan Verhaegh from the Technical University of Twente. He has written his PhD thesis based on WL and collected much empirical data from this initiative. His research which was aimed at contributing to a better understanding of end-user innovation led to the publication of a book (Verhaegh 2010). Verhaegh had full access to the archive ( exchange, documents, notes...) of not only the volunteers, but also of the board stretching back to the early days of WL. He was also able to interview many participants including some core members who were involved from the early days. Hence, the empirical findings in his work are very useful and form a great deal of the empirical input used to test the first two hypothesis derived in this research. 4.2 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS WL FOR RQ 1 (H3) The two first hypotheses will not be dealt with in this case study. They have already been studied profoundly by Verhaegh in his thesis. They describe the emergence of different user groups as they manifested themselves in the WL case and can be considered as true and applicable in this specific case. In the second case study however they will be part of the 26

79 case analysis. It is interesting to see whether similar user groups materialized in Freifunk Berlin as well. More interesting for this research is to focus on the remaining hypotheses. Starting with hypothesis 3 which assumes there is some common goal in Wi-Fi initiatives shared among its participants. H3: The emergence and growth of a Wi-Fi community has its roots in the common purpose shared among the divergent set of participants. It states that there is a need for a common purpose for any initiative to succeed. Without a collective mission any wireless initiative is deemed to fail. Hence, it is interesting to search for empirical findings that support this idea of a common purpose and if such purpose does exist, find out how the user groups in WL managed to form this shared mission given the fact that their individual incentives and goals differed PRE-ESTABLISHING WL In the WL case the first initiators can be clearly distinguished. In this group of first users one can find the characteristics of lead users. They felt the need to offer themselves a service that was not yet present. At that point in time the Wi-Fi standard was used on a small scale by home users in order to have mobile internet access anywhere in-house without having to wire the entire home. Early members were enthusiastic on how to expand these small scaled networks into a community network giving possibilities to end-users to develop and offer their own services on top of this network. One of the persons who saw the opportunities provided by the Wi-Fi technology to form one wireless network beyond inhouse use that could be shared by large numbers of people was the initiative s initiator Jasper Koolhaas. He recalls the moment he realized this opportunity (2010:33): For the first time in history ordinary people, like you and me, can build a wireless communication infrastructure themselves. Until then it was restricted to governments or big companies. The problem remained that the Wi-Fi technology and equipment had a clear in-house use. For the envisaged wireless network to become reality the fundamental technology on which it was based had to be re-engineered ESTABLISHING PHASE WL This opportunity for bottom-up engineering by end-users was then converted into an early mission by Koolhaas defined as creating a free wireless communication network. So from the early moments on a mission was existing. If we look to the mission as it has been formulated by Koolhaas in the beginning we see that it was not yet specified into more detail. It refers in the first place to the creation of a free wireless communication network, which can be used also outdoor. This was primarily a technical goal. It is about mastering 27

80 the Wi-Fi technology. This formulation is very broad and makes it possible that everyone feeling addressed can make a contribution irrespective of his personal incentives. The participants needed only to share an idea that they could be part of the materialization of a non-profit wireless network based on Wi-Fi technology. In this initiating phase we see that Koolhaas is in search for people with specific technical knowledge that can help him achieve this technical goal. In doing so he arrives at some computer and radio amateurs who feel attracted to this idea of creating a free wireless network. He then persuades them to join the initiative. They saw a huge challenge in creating a long distance wireless communication network without raising the output power. Raising output power was prohibited by law. Hence the early participants had to search for a way to get around this. Eventually they were able to adapt Wi-Fi technology by changes in the hardware and software as a result of which a long distance connection could be made without braking legal rules concerning output power. So in the end this early group of participants succeeded in solving the technical restrictions of in-house Wi-Fi networks. It was from then on possible to make long distance connections between Wi-Fi devices. In January 2002 the first data packet using the new wireless network could be sent. In August 2002 the initiative continued as a legal entity aiming for (Verhaegh 2010: 35): The further growth and development of the Wireless Leiden collective infrastructure in order to provide Leiden inhabitants and organizations with free wireless access for all. Free in the sense of limiting possible participation barriers for potential members in Leiden. That meant (Verhaegh 2010: 36): [ ] a free and cheap wireless network available for every participant wanting to participate. Later on it was added that the network should evolve in the spirit of open source and be transparent as possible. This had to be facilitated by the distribution of appropriate information through (Verhaegh 2010: 36): [ ] a website access-able for reading and writing for everybody GROWTH PHASE WL After the network was operational in 2002 attention was then moved from re-engineering the Wi-Fi technology to attracting more participants (Verhaegh 2010: 37): [ ] the goal had become to realize a city-wide public infrastructure, involving many more nodes. Since the initiative had little financial resources it had to use creative ways to attract investments. The leading principle here was to keep operational costs from the start at zero 28

81 (conservation with Huub Schuurmans). Hence, the project members went in search for potential participants supporting the collective aim of this project and wanting to contribute to the growth of the network without getting paid. Eventually they succeeded in attracting a growing number of volunteers. For financing new nodes the project members were looking for sponsors. Sponsors for their part saw that they could benefit from participating in this initiative. In exchange for financing the nodes they obtained access to the network for their employees. Koolhaas tells (Verhaegh 2010: 38): [ ] a company would fund the building of new nodes because that would serve their own needs, yet at the same time this would be helpful to other people as well. As a matter of fact Huub Schuurmans refers to this phase as very important for the success of WL. He tells (conservation with Huub Schuurmans): [ ] the key to success and also a key difference with similar initiatives elsewhere is that we did not apply for subsidies. The organization decided from the start to rely on voluntary contributions. The initiative was based on the efforts of volunteers and later on sponsorships by external parties. So we were forced to reach out and make contacts to get financial support based on reciprocity. In line with the early community goal in creating a public infrastructure for everyone it was no surprise that the initiative turned attention to the home user. This type of user became especially triggered by the possibilities for free broadband Internet and did not need any extensive technical knowledge to use the WL Wi-Fi network. With the help from volunteers and a comprehensive website, a growing number of home users could be connected in both the city of Leiden and the broader region. At the same time in the name of reciprocity it was expected from home users they would do something in return for this initiative. Hence some of them helped with finding locations, sponsoring and volunteers who could help install new nodes. In this way the initiative was able to benefit as much as possible from the knowledge, contributions and contacts of many participants. Furthermore with increasing network growth maintenance became more laborious. First of all due to the physical characteristics of the network. Huub Schuurmans tells (conservation with Huub Schuurmans): Wi-Fi community projects have similarities with open source software projects, yet there is one significant difference. If a software project is temporary halted quality of software code remains the same. Correct code remains correct code and erroneous code remains erroneous. This is different for a physical infrastructure such as a Wi-Fi network. Even if you want to guarantee the same network quality you have to be involved in maintenance activities all the time. And secondly the need for maintenance was growing as a result of higher quality requirements. As more home users joined the network the call for a well-functioning network became more explicit. Some of this maintenance work proved to be very complex. 29

82 It was precisely this type of work for which the expert volunteers were looking for. It offered them a way to exploit their knowledge and skills. Succeeding in solving the emerging technical problems offered them (Verhaegh 2010: 119): [ ] an intellectual reward, and the recognition of competence by peers; eventually leading to an increase in reputation, sometimes even exceeding the boundaries of the innovation community. So in this way the individual goal connects to the collective goal. Achieving the individual goal means a major contribution to the collective aim of the initiative as well MATURITY PHASE WL Verhaegh was able to find out that the cooperation went not always as smoothly as the outside world might think of WL. Sometimes WL members found themselves in moments of tension and sharp disagreements. Such a situation occurred for instance when the team started to think about the direction the initiative should evolve into. With the initiative growing steadily some project members felt the need to reconsider the collective goal. Some of them tried to push the initiative in a more commercial direction. Other opposed to this idea because in their view this would endanger the permissiveness of the initiative and therefore threatening directly the rationale of WL. The conflicts can be traced back to the aforementioned personal motives why end-users in decided to participate in WL. The research performed by Verhaegh shows the following subdivision into three values which were the driving force behind end-users participation in the WL initiative. First and foremost, none of the participants was involved to make money out of this initiative from the early start, but nevertheless it is possible to have an economic view on this Wi-Fi community. At some point in time the economic value became leading for certain participants. Others were involved from the beginning because they had the opportunity to play with the technology. For this group the focal point was tinkering and innovation. The opportunity they had for doing this was highly rated by them. Any measure curtailing this freedom would jeopardize their participation. A final group is not driven by the technology itself, but rather by what you can do with the Wi-Fi technology for community building. 30

83 FIGURE 8: CORE VALUES IN THE WL COMMUNITY Between these three values, there is a tension. Participants with a functional approach to Wi-Fi networks may see tinkering in the name of tinkering as a waste of time and participants with an economic view may see this as a waste of physical resources that might put the progress of the initiative at risk. In this phase the challenge was to restore and keep a balance between these three values. Because of its voluntary nature and lack of genuine business opportunities at the start this was not an issue when the initiative came into being, but this changed when the network reached a critical size making it also commercially attractive. Therefore the participants felt it was time to make explicit a clear future goal in order to prevent the network from falling apart. Hence it was ultimately decided to support commercial activities in line with the original objective. However the support for commercial activities was difficult to reconcile this with the non-profit character that made WL well-known. At first the initiative members found a solution for this problem by supporting commercial activities provided they would be placed outside the initiative. This solution proved to be temporarily. At some point in time the initiative was again heading into two different directions. Problems started when external professional organizations potentially saw WL as part of their own networks. WL was framed by them as an innovation cluster for (Verhaegh 2010: 152): [...] exploring, testing and developing new commercial services and products. Hence, clearly prioritizing the economic value of the network over the other values in such a way that it threatened the other values. Partly as a reaction to this development a group of WL volunteers responded by reviving the original community goals of the initiative by refocusing on the network technologies and improving these. They aimed for (Verhaegh 2010: 159): [ ] a network of volunteers and no interference from commerce in network development. 31

84 In the end these two different views could not be brought together leading to a change in the identity of WL. 4.3 ANALYZING WL AND FEEDBACK FOR RQ 1 (H3) The following indicates how it was possible that given the collective aim of WL there was room for individual undertakings. The leading principle here is that it is possible provided that the individual aims and the collective aim do not exclude each other. In fact the individual aims were complementing the collective aim. The different user groups could not achieve the collective goal by themselves. They had to work together to achieve the common goal. As a reward for supporting the collective goal they could at the same time achieve their individual goals. Hence there was a reciprocal relation between the common goal and the individual goals. The original collective aim in WL was to create a free wireless communication network for outdoor use based on the Wi-Fi technology that could be used by anyone in the Leiden area. What we see is that different user groups differed in their level of commitment to this aim, but were all supporting this aim. At the same time they had their own individual goals. Resident end-users focused on their personal needs and were far less committed to the overall success of the initiative. For them a connection to WL was nice to have. Whereas the leading committee, organizational sponsors and most expert-volunteers had their personal gains too, but were clearly firm supporters of the collective aim. If we return to H3 which states the following: H3: The emergence and growth of a Wi-Fi community has its roots in the common purpose shared among the divergent set of participants. If we look at the previous findings we can indeed say that in the emergence and growth phase there was a common purpose supported by members in different degrees yet shared by all them. Hence, we can conclude this hypothesis is true and applicable in the case of WL. On the way to a more mature state WL experienced some problems as we have seen which had to do with the common purpose. The board did not succeed in convincing all participants that the common purpose at some point in time was not changed. Although the initiative had still a common purpose shared by participants some core volunteers didn t believe anymore in this new interpretation of the common purpose. This happened when the network reached a critical size making it also commercially interesting. It was then that things changed and the first signs of disintegrating came to the forefront. Looking at the collective goal as described above, we see that this goal seems to be in itself distinct but perhaps not complete. With time passing by and as the initiative grew from an experimental network to a more mature initiative the collective goal was seemingly changing and other goals seemed to come to the forefront. According to some participants, no new community goals have been added later on, but they already existed from the start and were only reduced in importance to help the initiative gain momentum. Now it was time to focus on 32

85 them. This issue originates from the way participants interpret the starting goal which was broadly described as a creating a free wireless communication network leading to many finding their way to this initiative. At the same time this broad description was its weakness in the longer run when the initiative became more settled. Looking at this general goal supporters of commercial services say deploying commercial activities is not necessarily against this goal. According to them from the launch on the initiative had the intention to be as open as possible and provide room for commercial activities as well, as long as they do not threaten the openness of WL and lead to an unfree wireless network. According to Huub Schuurmans (conversation with Huub Schuurmans): "Creating commercial spin-offs was one of the WL objectives after its creation. Others argue that this is at the expense of community or tinkering goals and stick to the original purpose that made WL celebrated. For them it is about creating and maintaining an open and accessible Wi-Fi wireless network based on non-profit and non-commercialism. Initially the initiative managed to continue as a whole because it has been able to create harmony between individual goals and the collective aim by keeping commercial activities outside WL. However after some time the appeal of commerce arose again. It was a combination of external parties who concentrated more particularly on the commercial potential of WL and the existence of a number of board members who linked WLs long-term success to the exploitation of its commercial potential, which led ultimately to the departure of core volunteers and the disintegration of the original initiative. This time the various WL participants were not able to solve their disputes. Hence, it seems that the success of WL can be traced back to two issues being two sides of the same coin. On the one hand a common goal was present and supported by all participants. For many participants it felt like a light beacon providing general guidance. Everyone worked intentionally or unintentionally towards achieving this goal in his own way. On the other hand and at the same time the shared goal accommodated individual participants to pursue their own individual goals. As long as these individual goals were not in conflict with the collective goal there was nothing to worry about. When this was no longer the case, we see the first signs of fraction and failure. At first they were just individual goals necessary to achieve the collective goal. Put differently, achieving the various individual goals contributed to achieving the collective goal and hence to the creation of a free city-wide wireless network. But after some time when certain community member tried to alter the common goal in a more commercial direction other participants felt this new collective goal would be both bad for their individual goals and for the community in general. Although there were some tensions in the beginning they used the same principle in finding a solution for their disagreements. When the group framed/interpreted a collective aim not widely supported by the various participants, this was then re-formulated in such a way to remove the tensions between the individual goals and collective aim. It was sufficient to keep WL intact, at least for a short period of time. In the longer run when WL did not succeed in doing so, the initiative could not continue on the 33

86 same path. It failed to integrate the commercial potential of WL with other goals as a result of which some key volunteers departed the initiative. They could not find themselves in the interpretation given by the board to the common purpose of WL. In the light of the previous findings one might wonder to what extent WL can still be called a success. We know that there was a fraction in the initiative and some key board members have left because they could not agree on WL s future course. On the other hand we know the fraction has not led to a major outflow of volunteers. As a matter of fact most volunteers responded rather indifferently to the departure of some key members (Verhaegh 2010:163). Hence, we can conclude that the new common purpose is still supported by the majority of the participants. So the conclusion that WL can still be regarded as a success is fair enough. Equally interesting in this research is to assess how WL has been able to get this far. The next paragraph goes into the way WL is organized. 4.4 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS WL FOR RQ 2 (H4+H5+H6) The focus in the following sections is on the empirical interpretation of how WL is organized in order to achieve the desired goals. As noted in the chapter 2, a Wi-Fi community like WL is expected to share similarities with two organizational configurations which have been formulated by Mintzberg. These are the aforementioned adhocracy and missionary configurations. Below the presumed similarities are dealt with. The difference from chapter 2 is that in this part an attempt is made to go beyond the general characteristics of these organizational types and apply these to the specific case of WL in this chapter and to Freifunk Berlin in Chapter ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND COORDINATION IN THE INITIATING PHASE From chapter 3 we suppose that the leading hypothesis for the initiating is the following: H4: The emergence of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling an adhocracy. The theory states that an adhocracy is based on knowledge and skills of experts from different disciplines working together in an innovative environment. This mix of experts is also reflected in WL. Within WL the early participants went in search for an innovative solution to the problem of in-house Wi-Fi in a multidisciplinary team of radio professionals, computer professionals and organizational consultants (Verhaegh 2010:35). As described earlier, they managed to redesign an existing wireless communications system, and modify existing communications equipment and maintain a network in a way that could be described as an innovation. Later on other experts especially with organizational skills proved capable of attracting attention from outside organizations in order to increase the sustainability of WL. 34

87 Way of communication and coordination Within this multipurpose team communication and coordination went in a way as reflected in an adhocracy. According to the theory, participants in a adhocracy have a flexible attitude and communicate smoothly and informal (Mintzberg 2000:205). Looking at WL we find these appearances clearly. In the beginning the number of participants was limited, and was consisting next to the founder Jasper Koolhaas of a small number of other experts. Communication between these members went in a natural manner and the coordination mechanism used was primarily mutual adjustment. Koolhaas acted as an intermediary and aligned the various contributions into one synergetic undertaking Decentralized control What we clearly see in an adhocracy is the lack of a hierarchy. In contrast to other types of organizations where you can find a clear management layer steering in general or in detail there is no such management in an adhocracy. In terms of Mintzberg the management and the work force executing the job on the floor merge into one entity (Mintzberg 2000:207). Koolhaas took an initiating and facilitating role and brought together the right mix of people, while leaving the decisions to come up with an innovative solution to the group. It could not be otherwise since the founder himself had not the know-how to further develop the network and achieve its mission. Mintzberg states on this particular issue that the decision power goes to the persons who have the necessary expertise (Mintzberg 2000:206). These were in the first place technical experts including radio and computer experts. Koolhaas had no more than a supervisory role and was an equal member among equals. Remarkably, the WL board had formal decision power given the fact that very soon after its establishment WL received a formal structure in the form of a foundation. But these formal powers were in the early days not used for two reasons. The first reason is already mentioned and can be traced back to the lack of technical expertise within the board to make the necessary decisions. Especially in the beginning before redesigning the existing Wi-Fi networks and establishing the first connections lots of decisions had to be delegated to the experts. In the second place voluntarily, because the whole idea behind WL was based on voluntarism and leniency. WL wanted to create an open, transparent and easily accessible wireless network for all Leiden citizens by end-users. Given this goal top down decision making would then be not appropriate. Hence, in this initiating and early growth phase there was little difference in the formal and informal decision-making between the board members and the volunteers. Leading was the expertise and motivation of each participant. If you could and wanted to contribute something you could obtain the necessary decision power regardless of your formal decision-making position Defining the Strategy The WL board was back then mainly concerned with facilitating the whole process. The conflict about the future use of WL and if any commercial activities should be accepted illustrates this process role (described in 4.2.4). When a board member brought the idea forward to use WL to facilitate and support commercial services on top of the WL 35

88 infrastructure (Verhaegh 2010:137) this was met by much opposition within the WL community (Verhaegh 2010:143). Some volunteers were afraid that this would eliminate the freedom to tinker. The discussions and the decision making process that followed are a good example of how things go in a adhocracy. In Verhaegh s PhD thesis we read that after some sparkling discussions between the volunteers one of the board members announced the following message (Verhaegh 2010:144): [ ] one fixed value is in my view- that we together shape our course [ ] considering this course: we can think up anything, but in the end volunteers themselves decide what they want to work on. Hence, it was left to the participants to reach implicit decisions. These were in line with the needs felt by the volunteers and the technical problems they encountered. In this way participants were able to determine the direction in which this initiative developed. This is according to what Mintzberg declares on strategy forming in adhocracies, i.e. strategy is implicitly formed by the many activities taking place in many places and which all put their mark on the final strategy (Mintzberg 2000:216). This corresponds to the decentralized approach in WL in which strategy is generated from the bottom-up with enough room for the volunteers to experiment The next level The advantage of an adhocracy is that it attracts creative people and provides them with the right atmosphere to show off their skills. As described in the previous chapter we see that volunteers were involved in many ways, each having his own leading motivation. However, the difficulty is that in this type of organizations confusion and uncertainty on the authority is ever-present. It is generally not clear who is responsible for what, resulting in a slow decision making process and high costs (Mintzberg 2000:223). Especially as the initiative grows this may restrict long term success. Due to the horizontal relationships between WL members it took for example a considerable time before they could agree about the role commercial activities should be given within WL. This inefficiency which is inherent to adhocracies encourages demand for more formalization and bureaucratization especially when the organization is losing its innovator role. In addition to these inefficiency difficulties the Mintzberg theory gives also a positive reason why an adhocracy tends to bureaucratize. Mintzberg predicts that an adhocracy has a tendency to bureaucratize in the longer run in order to capitalize on its successes. Ironically, in a way the adhocracy is stifled in the longer run by its own success. This seems to be also happening in WL and is our topic in in which the transition towards a bureaucracy is described. However before reaching this state the initiative has gone through a growth phase containing more or less missionary characteristics. 36

89 4.4.2 ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND COORDINATION IN THE GROWTH PHASE In this part we will consider the theory dealing with the characteristics of a missionary organization and apply this to the particular case of WL. From chapter 3 we suppose that the leading hypothesis for the growth phase is the following: H5: The continuation of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling a missionary organization WL as an organization with missionary characteristics The striking thing about this organizational type is that it is very well suited to bind the individual to certain organizational common values and beliefs and forge that into one functioning entity. According to Mintzberg (2000:227) it binds the individual by integrating the individual and organizational goals leading to a synergy. This synergy is forming a whole which is more than the sum of its parts. In 4.2 we saw how indeed the collective goal emerged from the individual goals. The following describes how such an organization can come to a synergy and is able to achieve its goals Way of communication and coordination Mintzberg (2000:228) states about this type of organization that there is a feeling that people come together to create something unusual and exciting and that within such an organization the mission is clear, focused and inspiring. The mission in the beginning as expressed by the founder Koolhaas can certainly be called focused and inspiring. It is true that many people were attracted by this ambitious mission of creating a city-wide Wi-Fi network. However question marks do exists on the clarity or profoundness of the mission. As noted earlier, it is debatable how far the organizational mission was really clear given the many debates that arose afterwards concerning the role WL has or should have. So in that sense, the mission was clear in indicating the minimum goal, but this cannot be said of its further elaboration. Within the same context, the following statement is also very valid (Mintzberg 2000:233): The leader should inspire members to devote to the mission, he may even need to interpret the mission, but he should never change the mission. We can link this statement to the conflict as it arose within the WL community and we may say that the board has not taken this statement into consideration when it was speculating on the inclusion of commercial activities within the initiative. Many WL members felt that it was a wrong interpretation of the original idea and in fact for many of them this was unfaithful to WL s original ideology as to speak in the words of Mintzberg. The guiding coordination mechanism during WL s early phase was mutual adjustment. Back then the organization had little volunteers and teams were small. But with a growing number of members a different coordination mechanism known as standardization of norms was increasingly used. In a missionary organization coordination is achieved through 37

90 standardization of norms. There is this idea of working together to achieve the mission without any need for formal rules and regulations. Even alignment is not necessary, because the ideology is guiding the practical actions of each participant. As we have seen in section mutual adjustment was necessary in WL, but in many cases standardization of norms was sufficient to coordinate all the activities between the members. It is interesting to see where the power of this coordination mechanism exactly comes from. It all starts with the identification to an ideology or a mission as it is phrased here. In WL it all started with the idea that end-users should be able to set up a non-profit and city wide wireless network based on Wi-Fi technology. Identification to this mission can be established for each participant in a different way. Mintzberg (Mintzberg 2000:230) distinguishes four ways which are more or less reflected in the WL case and explain the strong influence of this coordination mechanism and hence to a certain extent the success of WL. The first and easiest way is through natural identification. People who are attracted to the organizational mission will easily participate, feel at home in such an organization and be very loyal to the mission. This can be said of many of the volunteers that have become involved in WL. Repeated analysis revealed that early participants were attracted to the opportunities offered by WL to play with the technology and build something new. This certainly applies to the core group of volunteers who keep WL running. A second way to increase identification to the mission is by selecting potential participants who fit the existing beliefs by those who are already participating in the organization. The early group of volunteers consisting of radio amateurs and computer specialists can be placed in this group. When Koolhaas was looking for volunteers wanting to help achieve a free wireless infrastructure it was no coincidence that he made contact to these particular persons. Koolhaas was primarily looking for people with knowledge and expertise on wireless communication, but what these volunteers also had in common was a strong identification with the early mission as it was defined by Koolhaas. Verhaegh states (Verhaegh 2010:35): The dream of a free infrastructure for Leiden residents, which Koolhaas had articulated only some months before, had now become real because of the successful re-engineering activities of the cooperative collective. The above-mentioned early experts were obviously part of this cooperative collective who have helped achieve this collective dream. A third way to increase loyalty to the organization s mission is by promoting socialization and indoctrination of its members. This may sound to some very cultic, but one can think of organizing regular meetings to discuss the initiatives current situation or practical courses for new participants. Precisely these thing occurred too within WL. They were referred to as (Verhaegh 2010:159): [ ] reinforcing solidarity by organizing frequent and publicly accessible volunteer meetings. 38

91 The fourth and least powerful way for identification to the mission is through calculation. In such a case the individual actually does not conform to the prevailing beliefs because he naturally identifies with them or is selected because he fits to them, but just because identification with those views is profitable (Mintzberg 2000:230). This type of identification strongly applies to one of the user roles which has been described in earlier paragraphs. That is to say the resident user. As we have read, home users are generally not that concerned with the initiative s success. They participate mainly due to the fact that it offers them a personal advantage. It brought them free broadband Internet access for example. Too much members with this type of identification makes the organization very vulnerable, because these members will disappear easily when a better opportunity arises somewhere else. This is in line with developments in WL. The contribution from home users decreased over time as a result of the developments in the wireless internet market. We see this group give up and move due to the low-cost wireless internet access offered by commercial parties Decentralized control In an adhocracy expertise is dictating a decentralized approach. In a missionary organization too we see a decentralized management approach, but the reason for this is different. To be precise, the missionary theory predicts that there is no need for top down decision making if organization members identify with the mission sufficiently. Hence, the management does not command what should happen, but sees for itself as a primarily task to strengthen and maintain the common mission. Within WL the management initially (board members) had indeed a more facilitating role by guiding the whole growth process. They tried to involve as much WL members as possible by initiating discussions on mailing lists between volunteers and organizing multiple open volunteer meetings. Evidence for the decentralization of power can also be found for example in the existence of a comprehensive website. Participants from anywhere made important contributions to the information pool creating a bottom up knowledge base benefitting all and leading to further network growth (Verhaegh 2010:58). In addition the existence of local meetings and walkinn hours to inform people on the initiative by other participants illustrates this decentralized approach. Non-experts who were actually home users were given a role as non-official volunteers and in this role they could tell their personal story and inform other end-users on WL (Verhaegh 2010:90:92). This whole process of sharing local knowledge by end-users on solving problems termed by Verhaegh as communification resembles the missionary organization in which as much people as possible are part of the mission The next level A missionary organization has a rigid character making change very difficult. Yet in order to survive this organization type must respond to external pressure. Mintzberg says (Mintzberg 2000:235): "[...] all missionary organizations are exposed to two opposing pressures: isolation and assimilation. 39

92 These forces constitute at least a threat to the organizational configuration and perhaps even for the survival of the organization as a whole. It is interesting to see that these opposite forces can also be found in WL. We know from that WL has not been able to find the right balance between these two forces ultimately leading to its fraction. On the one hand we see a board that reaches out to outside parties. These external parties were willing to cooperate with WL, but at the same time were demanding that WL should be professionalized. In the eyes of some volunteers this was a first step towards assimilation and therefore an end to WL as it was intended. On the other hand the board was convinced that it was time to proceed to a new phase to ensure the survival of WL. For instance, WL was facing a decline in the number of volunteers. Volunteers left and no new volunteers replaced them resulting in a weakening of WL. In addition existing members opposed to the appointment of paid professionals. In short, WL in the eyes of the board was threatened to be isolated from the environment with the risk that the organization would totally cease to exist. In order to prevent this from happening WL (board) chose to capitalize more on its success, even if this meant it would lose part of its identity. For WL this meant more and deeper cooperation with external partners and hence more professionalization and formal procedures and less room for tinkering and community building ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND COORDINATION IN THE MATURITY PHASE In the previous part we have seen that WL could not resist the pressure exerted by the assimilation force. If we go back to the adhocracy theory we find a complementing reason why an organization like WL tends to bureaucratize over time. Mintzberg states that long term success drives the adhocracy towards a more stable environment and a bureaucratic structure (2000:213). Hence the following hypothesis: H6: Keeping Wi-Fi community networks operational in the long run is accompanied by a change in attitude of participants from an amateur to a professional one with increasing use of economic mechanisms, formal procedures and top down coordination measures. This is also reflected in the case of WL where we see an increasing number of measures being taken that suit a bureaucratic organization. At the moment WL can be best described as an organization containing adhocracy, missionary and increasingly bureaucratic elements. One clear example of this move towards a more bureaucratic setting can be found in the style of leadership. From the story of Verhaegh we can discover that the board from the beginning had been allocated with formal decision power, but it did not make any use of these powers in the establishing and growth phases. After this period, however, the board switched its attitude and was increasingly using its formal power. A number of examples can be found in (Verhaegh 2010: ). 40

93 Centralizing control Some volunteers criticized the fact that only a limited number of volunteers were involved in deciding on the future of WL. An external consultant firm was hired to assist in charting the future of WL. This decision was taken unilaterally by the board and demonstrates to the volunteers that the board had abandoned its intermediary role. Although the consulting firm presented the so-called Blauwberg report during an open meeting adjustments to this report were virtually impossible. Some volunteers felt that they were invited to state their opinion, but that their judgments had no implications at all (Verhaegh 2010:168) Calling for more professionalization Another development that we normally see as an organization grows is the call for greater professionalism. According to Mintzberg this happens once is chosen for the exploitation of earlier innovations (2000:214). This is as we have seen currently happening in WL. In we can read that it was decided at some point in time to take maximum advantage of the WL network by collaborating with external organizations and by potentially allowing commercial activities on top of the WL infrastructure. We saw an increasing attention in WL from outside professional organizations such as the municipality. Each of them from their own background and interest saw the potential of WL as an innovation platform and wanted to contribute to strengthen this initiative under the condition that WL would increasingly meet professional standards. In their viewpoint there was a need for further strengthening the WL network and the best way to do so was through more professionalization even if it meant the implementation of measures that go against the non-profit character of WL like the hiring of paid professionals More formal procedures and standardization WL finds itself currently in a transition phase between an organization run by volunteers heading to a professional organization that might be run to a large extent by paid professionals. What we see during this process, is that gradually more formal procedures are implemented. To give an idea, some of the measures taken or planned to be taken are discussed below. In line with the previous professionalization aim it was proposed to use paid professionals rather than just relying on volunteers (Verhaegh 2010:163). This is perhaps the first step towards the employment of large numbers of paid personnel and an end to the volunteer organization. In addition, it was discussed how to recruit new volunteers and educate and socialize them within WL (Verhaegh 2010:159). This is perhaps the first attempt to some sort of human resource department as we can find them in any professional organization. In addition, the board was increasingly working towards a situation where policy making is done by the board and implementation by volunteers. What we see above is a number of organizational measures taken to ensure greater clarity leading to greater rigidity. But also measures were taken to limit the complexity of the technical environment. Adhocracies often involve complex technical innovations. As an 41

94 organization grows it will learn how to reduce this complexity. This is also reflected in WL. In an attempt to reduce this complexity, the technical standardization measures have been taken ranging from: remote access by volunteers to save time, self-reporting to check health of stations/nodes, anticipate failures by build-in technical solutions in devices and reducing complexity by standardization and black boxing. 4.5 ANALYZING WL AND FEEDBACK FOR RQ2 (H4+H5+H6) The following table gives a short summary of the previous findings. Even if the goal was to establish and continue free Wi-Fi networking the elaboration of this goals and the way things were organized was changing over time. Phase 1 Establishment Phase 2 Growth Phase 3 Towards Maturity Goal(focus) Re-engineering Wi-Fi technology for outdoor use Increase size and number of users of Wi-Fi network Relating Wi-Fi network to mainstream organizations Way of coordination Mutual adjustment Standardization of norms Increasingly formal procedures Control Decentralized Decentralized Increasingly centralizing control TABLE 2 : WL OVER TIME Returning to the hypotheses with which we started in 3.2, we can conclude that for all three hypotheses supportive findings can be found to different degrees. Most support can be found for H4: H4: The emergence of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling an adhocracy. As we have seen in WL strongly shares the characteristics of an adhocracy. Therefore, the H4 is accepted for the WL case. If we look at H5 the situation is somewhat different. H5 states that: H5: The continuation of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling a missionary organization. Regarding H5, there are similarities, but it should be said that there is a very important characteristics that has not been dealt with, but which prevent us from stating that WL corresponds with a pure missionary organization. The next paragraph goes onto that. Reading the previous parts gives the impression that there are similarities between WL and the missionary organization, yet there is one important feature of missionary organizations 42

95 that is not compatible with what was found by Verhaegh, i.e. the existence of different user groups in WL. According to Mintzberg a pure missionary organization consists of (Mintzberg 2000:233): "[...] an amorphous mass of members within a common ideology all working in the same direction, with minimal job specialization, a minimal differentiation and status differences between individuals." It is true that the WL members believed in a common ideology and worked together in different degrees of commitment to achieve that, but the later characteristics of complete non-differentiation between users are not found in WL. In fact, they are contrary to the existence of a variety of user roles in WL. In 4.2 we have seen that differences between groups of participants do exists and that participants differ for example in the degree of expertise. Therefore this hypothesis will not be accepted in this form. However, in the next case study we will see whether the empirical findings support this hypothesis or not. H6 states that: H6: Keeping Wi-Fi community networks operational in the long run is accompanied by a change in attitude of participants from an amateur to a professional one with increasing use of economic mechanisms, formal procedures and top down coordination measures. If we look at H6 it assumes that a Wi-Fi community over time will increasingly professionalize and that this will be accompanied by increasing formalization and commercialization. WL is not yet fully at this stage, but as we have seen in 4.4.3, there are increasingly steps taken that confirm this idea. Therefore, in addition to H4 also H6 is accepted for the WL case. 43

96 CHAPTER 5 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS CASE STUDY 2 FREIFUNK BERLIN The Freifunk (FF) initiative was started in 2002 in the city of Berlin. The founders had the idea of making free communication possible over Wi-Fi networks. The initiative has been able to spread to other cities in Germany and can now be even found in some cities outside Germany as well. It s presence in many cities across Germany and beyond proofs it success. This makes it also a very interesting case for this research. Not only because of its success, but also because it meets the criteria for adequate case studies. It is in the first place a nonprofit wireless network based on Wi-Fi technology and build by end-users. Although the initiative has now spilled over to several cities, the focus in this case study will be on the city of Berlin where it all began. It is interesting to see where FF stands after 9 years since its establishment and to see if the views concerning Wi-Fi wireless communities found so far in this research are reflected in the Freifunk Berlin case. 5.1 INFORMATION SOURCES For data collection different data sources were used. The starting point in the data collection is FF s comprehensive website (http://start.freifunk.net/). Much information can be found here about the whole idea of FF. Furthermore, the people of FF organized a wiki containing a lot of information about FF (http://wiki.freifunk.net/hauptseite). Next to these information sources several documents including a number of articles and scientific contributions have been read to have a better understanding of FF s identity and its performance over the years. The majority of these documents (Karabensch, Scheibe et al. 2005; Forlano 2006; Autengruber 2007; Buchner 2008; Lawrie 2011) (FreiFunk 2006; Basu 2007) have been sent upon request by Jürgen Neuman, founder of the initiative and still involved in FF. As the final piece in the collection of information three 3 core members of the FF community have been interviewed, including the founder Jürgen Neuman and two other key contributors (Alexander Morlang and Dennis Bartsch) who have been active in FF for many years now. Dennis Bartsch was already involved in Wi-Fi networking before he joined FF. Back then he and his companions were already trying to establish their own Wi-Fi network in East Berlin. These interviews can be found in appendices A, B and C. Combining all these information sources gives a fairly good idea of FF s goals and achievements, trends over time, the obstacles it encountered, its situation today and its future aspirations. In the next sections this information will be interpreted and used to comment on the hypotheses and ultimately the research questions. So this chapter addresses if and to what extent FF resembles the derived assumptions in the previous chapters. But first we will have a look at the empirical findings found so far. Section 5.2 and 5.4 deal with the empirical findings concerning research question 1 (H1+H2 +H3) and section 5.6 with the empirical findings concerning research question 2 (H4+H5+H6). 44

97 5.2 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS FF FOR RQ 1 (H3) The first 3 hypotheses elaborate more on research question 1. Whereas in the case of WL no attention has been paid to hypotheses 1 and 2, because they were derived from the case itself, these are addressed in the FF case. The order in which it is done is somewhat different from the previous case. First hypothesis 3 will be discussed. It deals with the common purpose of the initiative. The reason for this is that the study of FF in practice has went this way. Before having a close look to any existence of user roles and their characteristics, the purpose of the FF community will be dealt with GENERAL NOTES ON FF On the homepage we read that the initiative is part of the global movement for free infrastructures. The corresponding vision is to democratize the communications media by free infrastructures. Without falling into quick conclusions it seems, at least on first sight, that FF is an initiative where the emphasis for involvement is on ideological motives. Having a look at the documents learns for instance that FF members are not classified as volunteers but as "activists". This is another indication that we are dealing with a rebellious group of participants which are more driven by idealistic reasons than by any practical or technological motivations [sheet version 12-2]. So the guiding motive for the creation of this network seems to be ideological in nature. The findings in the following sections elaborate more on these idealistic motives and learn whether there are also other reasons behind the emergence of this community. Like WL FF has an internal and an external network side. In order to have a working network, modified open source software is being used. The network runs on a Linux based system for routing and uses an ad-hoc protocol (for more technical details see section ). This allows the various Wi-Fi routers to form one whole mesh network allowing different members to interconnect, exchange information and make use of a wide range of services. In addition to exchanging text, movies and music they can use internal services such as phone, chat, and games. Furthermore, the FF network is not in itself an isolated network. It is also connected to the Internet and allows participants to access the world wide web through the FF network COMMON GOAL DEFINED IN FF Looking at hypothesis 3, we recall it is about the common goal of an initiative. H3: The emergence and growth of a Wi-Fi community has its roots in the common purpose shared among the divergent set of participants. Before going into the divergent set of participants we will have a look at FF s common goal. What is this common goal in FF. Clear evidence for this common goal can be found on FF s website. FF sees for itself an important role in promoting free communication. This is not limited to wireless networks, but it is about communication in general. Given the huge 45

98 investments involved in the creation of fixed networks and because it is now becoming easier (e.g. no license needed) and cheaper (e.g. lower equipment costs) to build wireless networks it is no surprise that FF is focusing its energy on the promotion of wireless networks (FreiFunk 2006:4). FF wants to make a contribution to free communication in which free is defined as (FreiFunk 2006:2): Public (network must be accessible to everyone) Non-commercial (initiative is non-profit) Shared ownership (initiative is not in possession of a single person/organization) Uncensored If we look at these points we see similarities with WL, but also differences. A clear difference from the WL case can be found in the shared ownership issue. The difference is such that collective ownership is not really explicit in the case of WL. In fact, WL participants were required to sign a contract in which they had to distance themselves from any ownership rights. In addition we will see that in the setup of WL infrastructure collective ownership is less important. Whereas we see that it is really a core issue in the whole FF idea. The ownership issue will be dealt with in more detail in section FF pursues the following project aims in its path towards free networks (FreiFunk 2006:3): 1. Provide technical and general information about open/free wireless networks in German speaking countries. 2. Promote exchange of information and knowledge between national and international groups. 3. Raise public consciousness about freedom of information and communication. 4. Help individuals and organization to build/spread free and open networks. 5. Enable people to build and maintain their own networks. 6. Strengthen existing local structures (social and economic). 7. Help to initialize new social communities. What we see is that FF above all wants to play a role in the field of information and knowledge exchange regarding free wireless networks. Clearly we can see the intention to define FF as a kind of "knowledge center". It therefore seems that the primary focus is on information dissemination and only in second place to effectively help people build their 46

99 own Wi-Fi community networks. This is based on the idea of teaching people to fish instead of giving them fish as one of the FF community members termed it. The ultimate goal fits into a larger whole in which all layers of a communications network are free (Karabensch, Scheibe et al. 2005). On the website we can read that the goal is to achieve freedom and justice at all levels of the network meaning: free layers with free software, free hardware, free infrastructure, free algorithms, free content and free culture. FF is outward looking and declares it is willing to cooperate with other organizations committed to this goal. So obviously it's not anymore about the creation and refinement of the network in Berlin, but on the establishment of free networks elsewhere. This shows clearly the external orientation of FF. Having a look at the underlying motives mentioned why there is a need for this type of community networks according to FF we find a very general orientation. There is no specific type of reason mentioned, but many ranging from: a decline in information and communication freedom on the Internet, the presence of technical poorly trained and deprived people (often old people) who cannot overcome the digital divide, the lack of broadband in areas with market failure (sparsely populated and deprived area), and the idea that e-democracy has to be realized bottom-up. For more information on this issues one can have a look at (Autengruber 2007). These reasons explain why initiatives in general should be pursued according to FF, but it still does not clarify the specific reason(s) for the original FF Berlin initiative to emerge. To get more insights beyond this to some extent general reasoning we turn to the information from the interviews PRE-ESTABLISHING FF To find some more insights into how FF started we ask the founder of the initiative to give some clarity. According to the founder, there are several strings leading to the creation of FF. Below these are discussed. Although the personal string for Jürgen fits more into section in which the different user roles are dealt with it is mentioned briefly here, because it has triggered the whole FF story. PERSONAL STRING The personal reason for Jürgen Neumann which has drawn him into Wi-Fi networking was the lack of broadband in East Berlin. At that time when he moved from West Berlin and settled in East Berlin there was no broadband available. He had to use a slow telephone line. He explains: I didn t have broadband access to the internet. The only opportunity for me to get online was to get a 56 Kbits/s ISDN phone line which I had to share with all the 35 inhabitants of the house. So I was really seeking for any opportunity or way to get faster internet access. 47

100 It was then that Jürgen went to several meetings where he met with people who had the same problem. POLITICAL / IDEOLOGICAL STRING During these meetings he realized that it was not just a personal problem, but it was more than that. He speaks about it in this way: I understood that access to broadband is a real issue about the digital divide and that the Wi-Fi technology being very usable to people was key to maybe solve some of these problems. And this turned me into a person who became interested in net-politics. Before that I was just a technician looking for a way to solve my own problem, but from that day on I understood it was a major issue. Inspired by community initiatives from abroad, especially in London, he and several other IT professionals wanted do the same in Berlin. Back then Jürgen had been active in this group of unemployed IT professionals (MindWork) who tried to gather as much information as possible about community networking. He also had contacts with local community groups which being with their feet in the mud, were experimenting with the construction of antennas for wireless communications. When FF started in 2002 already many of these very small local groups were involved in the use of Wi-Fi technology to create free wireless communities, but without much success. The big problem at the time was the lack of a central point where all the information regarding setting up such networks could be found. This lack in information resulted in the materialization of FF. According to the founders, it was very clear that FF had to play a crucial role in the information dissemination: The idea of FF from the very beginning was to form a meta community of all the existing German speaking Wi-Fi communities. A place for exchange and information collection. The first group of founders saw for themselves a role in making this happen. Jürgen tells: The early initial work that me and my colleagues took in the year 2002 was to set up a website and to find simple mechanisms to gather all the people out there who wanted to do the very same things ESTABLISHING PHASE FF Hypothesis 3 states that individual members are able to work together towards a common goal in these communities. In the case of WL we focused on the relationship between individual goals and the common goal of members within one and the same community, but if we look at FF we see something different. FF was operating on a higher level and was able 48

101 to literally bring together the already existing communities in Berlin. These communities were often unable to survive long-term. Jürgen tells: [ ] we could already see at that time the local small initiatives that started with a website failed just a few months later because they hadn t the critical mass of people to stay active. In addition he tells: We could clearly see at that time already that the local communities were very small groups which started maybe very enthusiastically with vision of building their own networks using Wi-Fi technology. But then they didn t have the energy to maintain it technically, run a website, do the social networking, publish materials and the things that need to be done to have a wider community. So we mainly wanted to support local initiatives by linking them together with other initiatives. So what happened was that FF tried to physically bring together the different communities on a sustainable basis and take advantage of the local knowledge accumulated over time within these communities. This valuable knowledge would then be distributed among all interested Wi-Fi community participants. In order to attract more people FF wanted to make these communities more accessible for the large public. The founder tells: Our input was to shift it a little bit from the very technical side to a more understandable one and more to the public so to speak. The idea was to build FF as a communications platform, an initiative with a mission defined as: [ ] supporting the local Wi-Fi communities with presentation materials, documentary not only on the technical side but also on the marketing side. With time passing by and the initiative becoming more complex this mission has not changed. So already before FF emerged various small communities were experimenting with Wi-Fi technology and were running small networks. But they were unable to take a stand until they were united by FF. Being part of the FF community was based on a voluntary basis. That is another issue that is very central to FF which will be elaborated on in section 5.6. The locality of the initiative is of vital importance. There is nothing dictated by any community member whatsoever. The existence of FF is purely intended for facilitating the creation of the free wireless networks through the sharing of knowledge. Although the 49

102 different communities had like-minded ideas about community Wi-Fi networking they were very skeptical in the beginning. They were not so much against the purpose of FF, but rather had doubts regarding the need for such a meta-community. Some of them were not happy with the looks of FF. Jürgen explains: The design was really a bit strange to the technical people. Because it was really pink and yellow and looked like a Japanese manga design. It was designed by a stylish woman. The whole techy community consisted of men. But we sticked to it and it completely flipped to a success at some point. Suddenly the design was accepted and the whole idea was understood. Despite the initial skepticism FF was able to convince these small communities to join and hence gave wireless community initiatives an enormous boost in Berlin and beyond. It is interesting to see how the first founders of FF have been able to convince these groups to unite under one umbrella and work together. If we listen to the founder he says it went very spontaneously. There was no pre-cooked plan to accomplish this. He states: We didn t give it a structure. That was something that was already happening. We didn t have any power to enforce it. The guiding principle here was that: People did what they wanted to do. They focused on things they were interested in. If participants are not interested in some particular work it remains to be done until someone picks it up. This was not as common situation in Berlin due to: Luckily Berlin is a place that has a huge potential of activists and very skilled people in many fields. The time was right, the economy was down. People had a lot of spare time and we managed to find enough people to do the key things that had to be done. Hence, FF gained momentum and was established GROWTH PHASE FF Later on we will see what types of users become involved, but in the beginning the type of people interested were people doing the same things, which was experimenting with Wi-Fi networks. So you could not really say that broad sections of the Berlin citizens found their way to FF. It could not be otherwise. Wi-Fi networking was still in its early stages and there were many technical issues. You had really to be in the middle of the technology to actually understand it and do something with it. Jürgen states: 50

103 It was impossible by that time to use the technology if you weren t really into technology. It were people who were more or less from the hacker movement But at some point things were moving and the initiative attracted many people who saw something in wireless networking. Even people who were less technically skilled than the traditional techies in the beginning found their way to FF. At a certain moment the meetings attracted many people. So much so that Dennis Bartsch puts it in this way: [ ] there were Wednesday evenings meetings in the c-base 1 which were full of new people who wanted to know about FF. The main hall was full of beginners giving presentations or trying to get new information. That was the booming time. Then it became much easier to join FF. As a member you could easily configure your own Wi-Fi router and connect to the mesh network. The investment costs and effort for doing so was limited. Combined with a strong need for broadband connections this resulted in FF growing fast (Basu 2007). It's hard to tell how large the FF Wi-Fi community is at the moment. Because of its strong decentralized approach it is hardly possible to determine how many people are using the FF s meshing technology. Nowadays you can easily get FF firmware from the site and install it on your router. If you do not want to be part of the large mesh, you don t need to register for an IP address. There are also networks in Berlin that are not part of the large mesh network, but instead run their own small community network. On the other hand you can easily determine the number of nodes connected to the large mesh network. Currently, around a 1000 nodes are connected in one big mesh through the making FF Berlin one of the largest mesh networks in the world. Besides this local growth in Berlin, FF Berlin succeeded in spreading the whole FF concept to other parts of Germany. At the moment there are communities in many cities across German-speaking countries and beyond that carry out the whole idea of FF MATURITY PHASE FF In WL we saw that the desire for professionalization/commercialization was accompanied by greater formalization. We have seen that the pioneering environment from the beginning was increasingly giving way to more control thinking. The once locally driven initiative was increasingly centralized and formalized by the board. Unlike WL nothing seems to indicate that FF in the next phase will undergo the same faith. It may be too early to state this, but FF members believe very much in the idea of a non-commercial approach and in giving members the room to do as they wish. Asked whether there is any chance that FF community networks would become part a commercial company Jürgen says: 1 C-base is a non-profit organization in Berlin. People come together in this place to increase their IT knowledge and skills. FF Berlin is using c-base as their central place for meetings and events. 51

104 I think FF as a brand will always remain a non-commercial project. Moreover, due to the setup of the network, all members are equal and own their router. Therefore it is very difficult, if not impossible, to fall for the temptation of commercialization. The founder tells: As everybody owns their own access point this company would have to talk to 1000 or 2000 people and convince everybody to join. Which could be problematic. So even if there is an interested commercial party the FF Berlin infrastructure cannot be sold easily. This very decentralized approach, which we will read much more about in the next sections contributes very much to preserving FF as a non-commercial infrastructure. If the future will not be one of formalization and commercialization in what direction will FF develop then. According to FF the future for community networks based on free wireless communication is very promising. FF expects that an increasing number of people will be attracted to these communities in which end-users are able to set up and share valuable content and services without involvement of commercial parties. The social function that these networks can perform is huge and should be developed according to FF. EXPLOITING FF INTRANET FF has now arrived at a stage where most technical problems are solved. Jürgen tells that: The wireless hardware is very stable, the meshing protocols are quite good now. They are performing well. The CPU power of the access points is good. Although the network is stable, it is not growing anymore. In the past two to three years FF has seen a stagnation in the increase of the number of nodes in Berlin. According to the FF founder it is about time that FF shifts its focus to exploiting the well-functioning intranet. In the past, many people joined FF because of their need for Internet access. Due to developments in the broadband market (lower fees and higher bandwidth capacities) they have less reason to do so. Jürgen beliefs that now it is time for a: [ ] next generation of people who are interested in FF and put energy in establishing the intranet and use this infrastructure for their own ideas within the local infrastructure. The creation of an intranet has always been one of FF s goals, but a real utilization of this infrastructure has not happened yet. A big problem the initiative is facing has to do with the lack of a killer application for the Intranet. Until now all the developed apps are not very successful. For instance FF came up with this idea of offering zero-cost telephony in Berlin through the FF network. It would have a high added value, but due to the supply of cheap GSM telephony there was no demand for it anymore and the idea did not materialize. In 52

105 Africa where mobile telephony is still relatively expensive for large groups of people the very same idea pushed by FF has set foothold in some villages. It seems that a successful future for FF can mainly be found in initiatives in developing countries. Also, some parts of Germany without Internet connection offer opportunities for FF; on the countryside the added value for wireless networking is very present. But in Berlin the number of users is not growing anymore. More and more people can afford having their own broadband connection. A possible direction FF might develop into according to Jürgen is mobile community networking. MOBILE COMMUNITY NETWORKING Many people now have smartphones and want to be accessible anywhere at any time. Internet access over the mobile data networks is relatively expensive and slower than Wi-Fi. FF could respond by positioning itself as a mobile community network. The idea would be then that the wireless meets with the need for mobility (Buchner 2008:23-27). Jürgen tells: I see a new opportunity for FF to gain more attraction again. What we see in other countries in Eastern European countries like for instance the city of Ljubljana where everybody has fiber to the home and 20 or 50 Mbits/s coverage they start local Wi-Fi communities again, because they want to get the same data speeds into the streets. That would mean a change in our model. Then we would really have to serve the public with HTTP service who are just consuming the network. But our mission will stay the same. The goal would just shift from your home to the street. Let s have internet on the street and have our own local infrastructure in the public space; a mobile community network. Another possible development that may also be an extension of the previous development is the search for a connection to other social movements. In Berlin you have a project in progress known as city gardening. People are encouraged to do something with gardening. Berlin has many green areas and large areas without communication infrastructures. These areas are therefore very suitable for wireless-mobile networking community: There are many city gardens. People take their mobile devices to the city gardens. It could be that they think having our own Wi-Fi network in the city garden is a good idea and they could just do FF and set it up. Also ideas for offering cultural location based services are studied. This is in line with the article on authenticating the City (Forlano 2006). This article deals with activists infrastructures and examines the role wireless communities can play in strengthening the social structures in a city. In the same line of thinking Jürgen tells: I m planning to do some art work here in my district where I want to distribute audio plays via the Wi-Fi router. So that people can walk through the area and every Wi-Fi router has a different part of an audio play similar to a location based service. And 53

106 then people can walk around with their mobile device and listen to audio play and walk through the district and hopefully the audio play will have a connection to the location. So when you stand in front of our house you hear some information that is really like location based. Maybe if we manage to write a good play it can be a thriller, poetry or something else with a relation to the area which people can listen to from artists here in the city. That s a project I m planning here. It is in its very early stage. These are some ideas that are put forward by the FF members about a potential future that FF is heading to. However any clear image of a future is yet not present. 5.3 ANALYZING FF AND FEEDBACK FOR RQ 1 (H3) To what extent could FF be termed as successful. For that we have to turn again to its common purpose. Has FF been able to meet its common goals? FF is considered very successful, but one could refine this image by having a look at the following statements. As already put forward FF is not growing anymore. Dennis Bartsch confirms this and tells: I cannot speak for other parts of Germany, but in Berlin I would say it is in many parts stable, in some parts declining. But the boom time is definitely over because internet access over GSM (3G) and UMTS got fairly cheap. It is now around 30 euros and you get to the point where people say I want to be always online and I can afford to use mobile internet. Sometimes the problems that now affect FF have their roots in the past. Some people have a negative image on FF. These people were once involved in the early days of FF and saw how FF had major technical problems. Initially the FF infrastructure suffered from technical problems resulting in an insufficiently responsive network. Already then people left FF for that reason. Although most technical problems have been resolved now, FF has not been able to convince the former participants to return. Dennis Bartsch tells the following about this issue: [ ] the name Freifunk is for many people associated with technical problems. If they see the name in their Wi-Fi connection they don t even try to connect to this network because they tried earlier and saw that it didn t work. Now we have the technology to mesh nearly everywhere, but the name FF and the concept of meshing is for those who were once interested burnt. They don t touch it anymore. Not only technical problems but also social problems were present. For example, the cooperation between the different members has not always been successful. Conflicts were sometimes required to lift FF to a higher level. Some members agree that conflicts are part of the whole process of Wi-Fi community networking. However some conflicts were difficult 54

107 to resolve. These conflicts can be traced back to issues concerning ownership and maintenance of nodes. Dennis Bartsch tells that: And adds: There were people out there who didn t find themselves bound to this pico-peering agreement. They filtered nodes, limited the bandwidth of traffic through nodes, and that is a problem. Sometimes you have the situation that there is one node far out there having to moderate links and if this node loses its partner just because someone wanting to optimize his network access kicks out the one which is out there which has only this link. [ ] communication between people was the problem. It often started wrong and got worse. People don t talk to each other and in the end they do what they want; it was like anarchy. The members owned their routers and this gave them basically lots of power. This highly decentralized nature of FF has also resulted in some cases in fragmentation rather than integration. As we have seen, there are small independent networks in Berlin which are not connected to the large mesh. These groups have separated themselves from FF. Sometimes it happened that someone with an important link disagreed with other FF members and disconnected himself from the common mesh network creating an isolated network. Alexander tells about somebody in Berlin who decided to do so: There is this local guy; you go to him and then you connect to the local cloud and then you are disconnected. I think this local net is even not visible anymore on the FF net. The question is whether this fragmentation is not harmful to the ultimate success of FF. One can look at this in different ways. According to the founder it has always been the goal from the beginning to first of all spread information about setting up such networks. People are free to use FF technology for their own communities. Not the size of a specific network is most important, but really the number of people doing free networking. The other side of the story is obviously that the (potential) presence of several separately operating mininetworks is weakening the FF infrastructure and may stand in the way of a further success for FF in Berlin. After all, the reason for the development of FF was bringing together the existing unrelated local networks. Now in some cases we see a movement in the opposite direction with more fragmentation caused by some members. Alexander says specifically: So you get a fragmentation of the community. You get islands. This is one of the problems I see. It's hard to tell what exactly is the basis for this fragmentation. According to some members it could be traced back to intense debates between a divergent set of users about the technical implementation issues in combination with the way these kind of networks 55

108 operate. The open nature and the easy implementation of the initiative makes it possible that people can start simply for themselves when they do not agree. Alexander tells: [ ] you have people of the whole society from all parts of society working together on projects. So you have to deal with different people. [ ] the basic thing is that in these kind of open communities people can grow in the working network. People see that they don t need to build up their own network, but can start with the existing network. After they have more than 50% of the network they can disconnect everybody who is in the middle. Everybody who is disconnected has to connect with them. And adds that: One person can gain control if he controls enough nodes in the mesh network. So I change all my nodes to a different channel. If you are sitting in the middle you are dependent on your neighbours. If your neighbour changes the channel you have also to change your channel otherwise you don t have connectivity. At the same time the likelihood of a huge fragmentation is also limited by several factors. The structure of the city of Berlin is a great advantage for Wi-Fi community networking. Berlin does not have that many high rising buildings making alternative routing paths very often possible. This is even strengthened by the chosen model of meshing technology. The power that one person can exercise on certain parts of the network is therefore limited. Besides the local aspirations in Berlin, FF has another important objective. It wants to exchange information and knowledge with national and international groups in order to simplify and stimulate the set-up of free wireless communities. By disseminating information concerning free networks to people around the globe these people could easily set up their own networks. As we have seen FF has been quite successful in doing so. Jürgen tells it in this way: Something we didn t talk about is that the FF firmware was translated into six languages and that the outreach of our activities here was really on a global scale. I think that is for many people also a motivation to be a member of the FF community. Because it is a successful community and people can put their own branding on the firmware. In Brazil there is a local community which is using FF firmware. Sven Urler put their own design into the firmware so that it doesn t look FF, but it is our technical development they are using. There are people in Africa who are using it. There are people all over the world who are using our firmware. Maybe you have heard of our village project. It is a free Wi-Fi telephone system based on mesh Wi-Fi. One of the key developers of this system is Electra from Berlin. She is from the local FF community. So this vision has become true because it is open to our hardware router. In combination with a PDX telephone system you can set up telephony in a community. But this project was taking place in Africa were you had a 56

109 GSM network, but very expensive for the people to use. The idea we had 10 years ago here in Berlin to run a telephone system on top of a Wi-Fi mesh network has become reality by technicians from Berlin. But it is successful in Africa. And that is a lot of what people are doing today. There are many villages in Germany that until today don t have access to the internet. We had a presentation in the c-base from people who lived in a small village with less than 100 households. They have connected most part of the village via the Wi-Fi infrastructure to the internet. And they say you guys in the city are doing the technical development and we in the rural areas are implementing it. Despite the minor problems one can say that FF altogether has grown into a relative successful story so far. Like WL different user groups were able to form one community which was able to achieve its goals. We will read more about the different user groups in the following section. But for now we can state that the common goals described previously in 5.2 were strong enough to bind the different participants and convince them to work together. For now we can state that H3 is true and applicable in the FF case: H3: The emergence and growth of a Wi-Fi community has its roots in the common purpose shared among the divergent set of participants. FF is now a settled name in the world of Wi-Fi networking communities. Above we have already seen that FF can be of great value in certain settings such as developing countries and in rural areas with insufficient or expensive infrastructures. The challenge the initiative is now facing is to develop FF in such a way that it can (still) play a significant role in urban areas as well, especially in Berlin, the city where the initiative started and is now facing a stagnation in growth. It is interesting to explore how this success came about. Which actors have contributed to this initiative and what can we tell about them. In the next chapter we will reflect extensively on how the various groups involved in the development of FF have been able to set up a working system. 5.4 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS FF FOR RQ1 (H1+H2) Hypothesis 1 and 2 assume the involvement of different user groups in the creation and success of a wireless community initiative. We saw that (Verhaegh 2010) has identified a number of different user groups in the case of WL which might also be found in other communities as well. According to hypotheses the involvement of these groups follows a specific sequence and are each of vital importance to the success of WL. H1: Wi-Fi communities follow a sequence of end-user involvement starting with lead users and then subsequently sponsors, volunteers, resident and finally maintenance users 57

110 H2: Each of the user roles is of vital importance to Wi-Fi community success in the longer run It is interesting to see whether the same can also be said in the case of FF. This will be discussed in detail below. As we know FF succeeded in uniting the already existing various communities into a one strong whole. The underlying history for the creation of the various local communities has not been the same. The reasons for establishing these small networks differs clearly from each other. There is a clear line between the communities in West Berlin and the communities in East Berlin LEAD USERS CONSISTING OF TECHIES AND IDEALISTS The reason to engage in Wi-Fi pioneering differed between West and East Berlin, but in both communities we can clearly find the role of lead users. In section we read that lead users are defined as users who are (Von Hippel 2005:22): and secondly: [ ] at the leading edge of an important market trend(s), and so are currently experiencing needs that will later be experienced by many users in that market. [ ] they anticipate relatively high benefits from obtaining a solution to their needs, and so may innovate East Berlin Looking into the history of the communities in East Berlin we see the following. For a long time after the collapse of the Berlin Wall broadband Internet was very limitedly available in East Berlin. The old copper infrastructure was replaced with fiber, but it wasn t made appropriate for home use. People had to use slow telephone lines. For a group of highly trained IT people this was not acceptable. Hence, they went looking for ways to get higher internet speeds. We see this very much back in Jürgen s story why he first became interested in wireless community networking in one of the previous sections. This was true not only for him, but for many people in East Berlin. They had a very pragmatic reason to engage in Wi-Fi networking. Alexander describes the situation these groups found themselves into as follow: The incentives for East German FF have to do with the lack of broadband. With the fall of the wall they put fiber optics into the nets and they were not able to use it for broadband for reasons too long to explain. So you had only 56 Kbits/s lines. So all these East German cities had no broadband connections. At that time the Wireless stuff was already existing. Then the European Union said the communication between houses 58

111 should be possible. I think it was some directive from the EU to make it national law but Germany didn t do it. So after 2 years it became national law automatically and that was the moment you legally could do FF. As we can read in the story above at some point due to European legislation setting up wireless communities became legal. So people started building links and small communities, but the Wi-Fi technology was still in its infancy. This early group of initiators were looking for a way to use this technology to provide themselves with broadband Internet. The various members played with the Wi-Fi technology and managed to come up with creative solutions. They were able to have long distance communications over Wi-Fi networks and in that way enabling the outdoor use of Wi-Fi technology. Because the antennas at that time were very expensive, they decided to build their own robust antennas. Dennis Bartsch one of those involved in the local network in East Berlin, tells the following about that time: In my view it was very unspectacular in the beginning. We wanted to start Wireless networking in north east district of Berlin. Some 100 meters from the Berlin border. It was really lots of pain at that time. [ ] The guy who initiated the initiative organized some map material. At that time there was no open speed map so we had to get some mapping material. And began to manually put the access points on this map before they were established. That was the point when FF invited us and we were confronted with the concept of free networks. Then we thought why should we do authentication, encryption and all of this. Why shouldn t the users care about all this stuff. And there began the boom. So even due to the creative solutions they faced some problems that had to do with the network mode they had chosen. Due to the way they were managing the network they could no longer catch up with the growth. Jürgen explains that the problem at the time was that: They didn t use the ad-hoc mode. Instead they used a client server set up. But that was very costly. I mean in a city where you want to peer with many people a client server set up would always mean that you had to use twice as many access points, because you needed a client and an access point, a client and access point and so on. And it was very difficult to expand this infrastructure in terms of a peer to peer network. Every singly link had to be constructed whereas in peer to peer meshing infrastructure somebody can join just by putting one access point which is in reach of the other access point So at some point East Berlin communities were convinced of the technical implementation as conceived by FF. In the following pages and in section we will learn more about the technical set-up FF used. Ultimately the east Berlin groups linked up to the west Berlin groups for whom it was about much more than only broadband internet access. The next section goes into the incentives for West Berlin groups to do wireless networking. 59

112 West Berlin The groups in West Berlin were also experimenting with Wi-Fi networking, but for quite different reasons. The groups that became involved in Wi-Fi community networking were mainly people from the computer hobby clubs. For them, playing with the technology and the pursuit of free user-generated networks as opposed to the centrally driven corporate/government networks was leading in their involvement in community networking. Alexander explains the motivation for these groups in West Berlin to participate in community networking as follows: In West Germany it were mainly people from the computer club and hackers scene who said communication should be free. They said we need free information and communication infrastructures and so we start a wireless network. [ ] the incentive is not getting internet uplink but connect to the neighbourhood. Asking him about his personal motivation to participate in FF he gives two reasons. On the one hand you can see the above ideal of free networking reoccur, but in addition to this also the attraction of the technology itself has played a significant role for him being involved. He tells: There was this idea of citizens data networks from one of the founders of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC). And he actually infected me with this idea. It was 20 years ago. So they tried to make packet radio for citizens with a low bandwidth over a traditional transceiver with a high antenna on the roof top. FF is just the basic idea of Burger Daten Netze. Some of the basic ideas of the CCC from the 80s were free information, free access; people should communicate and should be able to communicate free. The other thing was the typical nerd thing. I wanted to play with interesting technology. [ ] there was this specific Linksys router. You could install Linux on it. And for so many years the Unix boxes were big and expensive. They became faster but never became cheaper. And then there came this Unix box of 200 MHz and it was like 60 euro. It was a device with low power consumption and it has enough RAM and flash to run an operating system. And then you had the dynamic networking. I put a box here and box there and they interconnect. When you add a third one they interconnect. It was a fascinating technology. Both actually. So these Unix boxes and the embedded Linux systems. Wireless was great. Mesh networking was great. The technical stuff was really interesting and is still interesting to me. All together these different groups from East Berlin and West Berlin were brought together by FF which resulted in very innovative solutions. Before this fruitful results could happen much work (tinkering) had to be done. Playing with the technology served now a higher purpose. The challenges were great. Many technical problems were present in the early stages of FF. Jürgen tells: 60

113 The technical work was really one very important theme. Besides the marketing work and developing all the materials, explanations and translations the most important thing for Berlin I think was the technical development. The technical development on the driver to improve co-work in Wi-Fi technology. The technical work on developing the routing protocol: OLSR and later on Batman. FF activists played a key role in this developments. Also the development of FF firmware with a graphical user interface. I mean when we started we knew that peer to peer mode or ad-hoc mode was implemented in the IEEE protocol. But it didn t work. The first thing we found out was that the ad-hoc mode in most of the Wi-Fi equipment and firmware drivers didn t work. [ ]. We used our laptops and made a chain of 15 people and wanted to ping one to the other using the ad-hoc mode. And the first thing we found out was that the equipment wasn t working. So the equipment from the manufactures didn t work in the ad-hoc mode. The next thing was that there were some people who had been developing their own Wi-Fi driver for the Linux system (mad-wi-fi). Dennis talks about the early days of FF as follows: When we started in 2005 there were not many people who had the time to work into all the stuff. It was highly experimental at the time. [ ] We spend nearly all the time with experimenting. Documentation was very thin at that time. So you try everything out and then be surprised that it works. But it seemed at that time no one had the knowledge to do it right from the beginning. So we made one mistake after the other and tried to combine omni-directional radio interfaces and directional radio interfaces on the same channel. We soon saw that IEEE was not meant for this kind of infrastructure. We had this problem with the cell ID and negotiation protocols, and we build a patch for persons id to get rid of this very broad implementation that led in the worst time to the effect that the net in Berlin was dead half the day. Only because a new id was crawling through the net and caused many bugs. Because we needed someone to fix all these problems I stayed in this community So similar to the early initiators in WL these groups in FF tried to re-engineer the Wi-Fi technology collectively and adjust it to their own needs. They ultimately succeeded in doing so. They were able to develop a new routing protocol. An important milestone was also the development of new open-source firmware which made mesh networking very easy to achieve. Below we see how the development of this firmware took shape according to the different interviewees. Alexander tells: It was some 6 years ago. Linksys found out that Linux was already running on it. So the GPL (General Public License) violations people asked Linksys to open the source code. Linksys refused. Then the GPL people went to court and won. So Linksys had the 61

114 Dennis tells: choice between publishing the source code or not putting their router on the market. And then there was this big bunch of source code nobody understood. People start looking at it and then Sven Uhler said we have this routing Daemon we can use. We tried it out on our notebooks and it worked. We took a router and modified the firmware. Then the first notion of OWRT emerged which was a Linux distribution for these devices. So Sven Uhler modified OWRT and from then on it come into existence. So there was firmware which made it quite easy to do this. And then people started to buy this device and go to c-base and learn how it works. So the mesh network started growing to 600 nodes here in Berlin. The FF net was for more than 2 to 3 years called the OLSR experiment. We only said we don t have to give 247 service because we are an experiment. And it clearly was an experiment. There were no meshes elsewhere which were that big because we connected all the several communities over VPN. At some point in time we reached the 400 node barrier and the nodes crashed. Every time we reached a certain barrier the nodes crashed again which had to be fixed again. There were no testing fields where we could optimize that, but it actually took place in the production mesh. If there were problems we fixed them. It led to many headaches but it worked ultimately. Problems were fixed by people individually. If there was a problem someone thought of a fix for this problem and communicates through the Berlin mailing list the fix for the problem and other people tried it out and so it founds its way to the firmware. The FF firmware which was at that time a one man show of Sven Uhler. And adds to it: He (Sven) used the firmware himself. He could often fix bugs before they even got explored by others. So the firmware over the time was quite stable in its core parts. Sometimes some extensions of the firmware were broken, but it was not so important. More important was the fact that the wireless thing worked, the meshing worked and FF net had the most stable meshing software for nodes you could possibly get at the time. Now that the wireless drivers or the meshing got stable it is no problem anymore. Jürgen also highlights the noteworthy moment when the firmware was developed and tells: One of the key players was a guy called Sven Uhler. He developed the first FF firmware based on the OWRT and that was very interesting for me. We had a regular meeting every Wednesday. An one day I was in the c-base and I saw a guy who was working on something and it looked like our website. I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he had written firmware for the OWRT router. With the firmware with had a very powerful next step which was very important for the further approach of FF. 62

115 FF was now ready to attract large groups of people. And this big growth happened. Many people were interested in the possibility of obtaining broadband Internet. In the next section we focus on this type of user that joined in RESIDENT USERS (AS USERS) In the WL case the real growth came when large parts of resident users decided to be members of the community. These resident users were less interested in the technology itself and more in the functionalities of a Wi-Fi community. Many of these resident endusers engaged in Wi-Fi community to benefit from free internet access. This role of home user is also present in FF, but somewhat different. In the time that FF became known to the general public lots of people were not so much interested in playing with the technology, but rather in broadband internet access. FF gave these people a perfect opportunity to have access to broadband Internet. So far this is similar to WL. We know from the WL case that this type of user was the least involved in the WL community. Due to WL s open character resident users could easily use the Internet through the WL network. As a resident user you did not need to know anything about installing Wi-Fi technology to use the network. In fact, even in the early days of WL you could if you wanted buy a ready-made device (black box solution) from a local shop in Leiden which could be used to get access to the WL network. In the case of FF, the situation is somewhat different. FF has chosen a model in which each new user had to be a new access point in the network. New volunteers had to buy and configure their router themselves before they could join the FF network. In fact, these users had to school themselves into the technology before they could use the mesh network. Jürgen tells that the home users: [ ] had to do something for it. We made a very important decision that we wouldn t deliver Internet for the end-user. As an end-user you had to buy a router yourself and set up a node yourself. Every person that wanted to join the FF network had to become an active member in the sense of running another mesh node. The reasoning behind this model was that FF believed that they could enhance the initiatives potential for success in this way. They would get not only more members, but also an increase in the number of active members making the network grow physically by having a bigger mesh grid. As a result it would bring the network closer to many more potential users making it possible for new users to connect to the network. In addition the added value of the network would increase with increasing user numbers and hence the attraction for new users to join would become even bigger. More nodes would also mean less power for individual nodes and hence contributing to an increasingly decentralized network (Buchner 2008: 17). Next to these great advantages it was prevented that excessive use of the network by inactive users would change the ratio between the users (those that consume the network only) and the available resources (those that maintain the network) to such an extent that it would put the future of the network at risk. It was decided therefore to think of something that would balance the social network growth (number of users) and the physical growth (number of nodes). In the words of Jürgen: 63

116 For the meshing technology and the whole peer to peer approach it was really key to activate the so-called end-user to be part of the network and to become a maintainer of their mesh node within the network. So there was a very important convergence between the meshing technology and the peer to peer approach and the growth of the network as such, because if we had offered internet access to passive end-users you could get lots of people doing nothing. We decided not to go this way which was good and bad. It was bad because we had to disappoint many people who just wanted to use the network. So they didn t even get access to the network. But on the other hand it was a very good decision because everybody who really wanted access to the network had to be an active member of the community and run their own router which resulted in the growth and success of the network. So there is evidence for the home user role in FF, but a user in this role had to be also an active volunteer at a technical level before he could use any services on the FF network. You could say that these users were forced to reciprocity. Hence, the degree of involvement is very different from what we have seen in WL. The FF network is in that sense less open, but it has managed to achieve a sustainable growth. The situation today is that this type of user has less and less reason to stay involved in FF. Alternative broadband offerings by commercial parties are available now and no longer as expensive as before. What you see is that many of these users decide to step out of FF. Alexander tells: I see how communities are shrinking. Consumers are leaving because you get better broadband elsewhere. The idea is that if you get broadband you give it back. But the idea of giving back is not so present you know Dennis also indicates that the number of home users is falling. That's problem in his eyes. He states the following about the ordinary users: [ ] in the end you need them too. You need them because without them you don t have a mesh and without having a mesh you cannot address the people who are probably interesting for the community. You have to spread the net to reach people. You want them to be in the community. As we have seen FF is not really growing anymore in Berlin. That has to do with the reasons stated in the previous pages. One of these reasons has to do with the maintenance of nodes in the mesh. As we can recall one of the roles identified in the chapter 2 is the maintenance role. Below it is discussed to what extent this role can be found in FF RESIDENT USERS (AS MAINTAINERS) It has been stated that reliability and quality are important for continuity of any initiative. People have to count on the service meaning a high response rate. If the initiative wants to 64

117 have a high response rate it requires the necessary maintenance work. In WL we saw that this was becoming an issue. At some point the volunteers were no longer coping with the amount of maintenance work. They then invented a new function, the node adoption volunteer, who took care for the easy maintenance work. Again we see a clear difference here between FF and WL. In FF the maintenance is outsourced to the users themselves. As any user had to buy a router and configure it himself before he could connect to the large mesh network the maintenance was also user generated. If a node fails working the owner is expected to solve the problem. If a link between two nodes for instance is not optimal the two node owners try to optimize the link themselves. There is no central point saying that something must be done. The guiding principle here too is you do as you like. Often this works, sometimes not. Jürgen tells that maintenance is not always done and gives the following example: [ ] there is a church next to my house and for years the access points on the church were not running. Nobody wants to put energy into making them run because they don t have the need for it and they just don t work. This is something you have to live with. And if there is a will to have a working network then people need to put in some energy and time or otherwise it just doesn t work. The risk is that if people do not take the effort to improve the link quality it may have its influences throughout the network making other users of the network suffer as well. We saw the negative effects of this leading sometimes to fragmentation. Occasionally it is not a lack of will, but rather a lack of capacities among users. To be precise, problems occur also when residential user do not know how to solve the maintenance issue and other volunteers do not help them out. Jürgen acknowledges to some extent that this is a weakness of the initiative and tells: That is a weakness. That is definitely where critique comes from. People say you are the geeks and doing what you want and people who don t have the technical skills cannot put trust in the network. There is no reliability in the management of the network. In some parts of FF it true and in other parts it is not true because where you have a working functioning local community of people who are interested in keeping the system up and running they manage and if you don t have that it doesn t work. So yes that is one of the main critique and one of the main failures, but you cannot convince people to do something they don t want to do. However problems with maintenance are now a minor issue in FF. Most maintenance is taken care off. Dennis tells: You can say that people who remained in the net are able to maintain the nodes properly. Those that couldn t have left the mesh network. And that s the point where you haven t to maintain much and if there is a problem there is direct communication between people who know who maintains which node. Because the infrastructure has 65

118 settled over the years we know who to mail or to call to get things fixed. There are no arguments anymore. In the past it was simply a too fast growing net and the routing protocol was not up to this. Now small problems happen too, sometimes. There is no body that sits in the middle of every communication. When you can get to the web interface of the neighboring node you can write an directly to the mail address that is hopefully configured on this node. The big advantage in FF is that the maintenance is decentralized. Resources available to these networks are very limited. Outsourcing the maintenance to individual users helps FF to grow in a sustainable manner. We have seen in WL that at some point when the network had a certain size maintenance became problematic for the relatively small number of volunteers SPONSORS In WL we saw clearly that sponsors have played a key role in the growth of WL. Many public and private organizations provided WL with urgently needed node locations and even funded them. They did this because it was a win-win situation. In return for funding they were allowed to use the WL network. This user role is not present in this form in FF. Whereas in WL sponsoring was an important factor in the growth of the network it was of secondary importance in FF. There has been some sporadic sponsorships, but it was not meant for the immediate establishment of the physical network. Sponsorships were mainly for administrative purposes such as the funding needed for organizing conferences. Unlike WL the success of the FF initiative was not depending on it. Jürgen tells that sponsorships were: Very occasionally. Things do not depend on sponsoring. Those days we went to India or Denmark of course we needed some sponsoring to organize these events. Or when we organized the FF summer convention we needed some sponsors to organize this event. But for everyday business it is not necessary. The big difference from WL was that FF due to the overall mesh networking needed much more nodes. There were some organizations which provided FF with node locations, but FF had to count mainly on the many home users who became part of the network: We have 4 or 5 churches with antenna s, but of course on the small scale level we have lots of support. Every user who puts an access point in his window or roof top is a supporter the same time because they help spread the network. But there are also churches, sometimes companies or non-profit organizations which give sponsorship and support. 66

119 The sponsorship mentioned in WL would probably be also conflicting with the whole idea of FF, which is opposing any possible control and influence of commercial parties in the network. Hence, one can conclude there is no such sponsor role as found in WL. 5.5 ANALYZING FF AND FEEDBACK FOR RQ 1 (H1+H2) In FF also different user roles can be observed. Document and interview analysis show that many of the previously identified user roles are present in FF, but not in the same degree of importance and in the same appearance as proposed in the contribution of Van Oost and Verhaegh (2009). We can recognize user roles such as lead users consisting of techies and idealists who complemented each other and succeeded in altering the Wi-Fi technology to suit large numbers of users, sponsors who had a very small contribution in the success of FF and ultimately the residential users who acted also as maintenance users and could be seen as the main drivers behind the huge network growth. The volunteer role as described by Verhaegh is not really distinguishable as a separate role in FF. In WL this role was reserved for volunteers that became involved soon after the early initiators started the initiative. Some of them received even an official function as a volunteer. No such role is really distinguishable in FF. You could say that all FF members were volunteers. Each members had to actively contribute to the network. At the least every member had to set up and maintain his own router. In this sense the user roles of resident and maintenance user coincide with the volunteer role as mentioned in WL. The techies and idealists - not just the ones of the first hour but also those who joined much later are probably most entitled to use this role, because these members are involved in more activities than only managing their own node. They are involved in developing the Wi-Fi community technology to a next stage or help to spread the idea of FF. Looking at the above findings we see that FF is composed of three major groups. These are the: 1. Techies a. These are members who are particularly interested in technology. Often they are involved in software/hardware development. 2. Idealists a. These are members who are primarily interested in spreading the idea of free networking. They do this by their knowledge of communication and marketing. 3. Users a. These members are primarily interested in consuming services, especially broadband Internet. 67

120 In the early days of FF we can clearly see a favorable pact between the techies who are primarily interested in playing with the technology and idealists who are driven by this ideal of free networking and being part of a global community. Dennis puts it in this way: It developed in parallel. Before the FF concept was written down and actually became a movement there were people out there who began to build nets over the roofs. So the techies show the idealist what is possible and the idealist gave the techies a reason to investigate more on the technical stuff. So in the early days it was clearly a win-win situation. But despite the ideological incentives promoted by the idealists, the rapid growth of the FF community came through people who joined because of broadband Internet access for themselves. These were the users. These members wanted to meet their own personal needs for broadband connection rather than spreading broadband internet. Jürgen tells: Broadband was the main driver. At that time there were only very few locations in Germany that offered broadband access to the internet. There was this situation in East Berlin and East Germany in general which hadn t broadband access. There were also some parts in the West where you also couldn t access broadband. Even if you had access it was quite expensive. So the main motivation for the people to get engaged definitely was to get cheap broadband access to the internet. This attitude was no problem in the beginning, because it served the goals of the idealist as well. By participating people were having access to broadband and at the same time were contributing to the growth of the mesh network. As a result an increasing number of people could be reached and could have access to broadband internet. Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Lead users consisting of techies (developers) + idealists (communicators) Volunteers consisting of : techies(developers) + idealists (communicators) + ordinary people (residential users) Volunteers consisting of techies (developers) + idealists (communicators) TABLE 3: FF USER ROLES OVER TIME The user groups have changed over time in FF. If we focus a little bit more on the different phases FF went through in relation to the different user sets, we can distinguish three phases with each phase having a leading role for the different types of users. The first period consisted of idealists who joined forces with the technically very skilled members to 68

121 distribute the Internet among the people. These early members were activists who wanted broadband internet for everyone, not only for themselves. In the next phase the second wave of members which caused a significant growth in the initiative were mainly people who in the first place needed broadband internet for themselves. Although they were forced a little bit to delve into the technology this group consisted mainly of non-technical participants. Now that broadband is offered by market providers very easily and at reasonable prices this group of users has shrunk considerably. According to one of the members FF is now increasingly consisting of idealists and techies. It seems therefore that the next phase is identical to the initial state when FF started. According to Alexander the old incentives why people were joining Wi-Fi communities is now more clearly distinguishable. The reason why a majority of the members participated during the high growth was because they could get broadband. Now there is a need for keeping internet coverage instead of getting Internet access. According to him the way of thinking is more and more based on the idea of giving instead of taking. He tells: Now there is another change which is like my neighbor said we need to increase link speed because the download is so slow. It was not internet but intranet he wanted. He wanted fast download from my server. And there are people who are idealist and say ok I m not a technical person. Quite ordinary but I m a political activist for free access and connectivity and the best way to do it is FF. So please help to give FF to other people. And this happens now. This is I think the next change which is happening now. The same development is recognized by Dennis who is less optimistic about FF s future. He states that FF will still exists in 5 to 10 years, but then in the following form: [ ] probably in the same form as the amateur radio exists as a technical hobby club. This is the future I foresee. He adds that FF is facing a decrease in the number of idealists: The techies have to stay on this whole thing because you have to adapt for example to changes in the Linux kernel. You have to keep things running for those activists who want to deploy free networking in a new town out there or in rural areas where you still don t have broadband. The idealists are less in number nowadays. The idealists that are left are poured out. Sometimes there are different views on things between the techies and the idealists. The techies I would say are good informed pessimists and the idealists are bad informed optimists. As we have seen in the very early phase FF was formed by a synergy between the techies and the idealists. Reading the above statement brings up the question whether they will again succeed in doing so and preserve the future of FF. Based on what we have read above we can conclude the following for hypotheses 1 and 2: 69

122 It is true that there are different user sets involved in the development of FF. The role of lead user was clearly recognizable. Other roles also exist in FF but not in the same shape and significance as suggested earlier. Sponsors played practically no role in FF and the volunteer role was not recognized as a separate role in FF. However, the role of residential user and maintenance user could be clearly distinguished. In FF these roles are performed by the same users, namely the home users. Based on the analysis of FF H1 is changed into: H1: Wi-Fi communities follow a sequence of end-user involvement starting with lead users consisting of techies and idealists and then resident users who perform the majority of maintenance work. H2 indicates that each of these roles is an important factor in the success of an initiative. This is also clearly reflected in FF. Without the role of lead users in the beginning it would have been impossible for the initiative to be established and open to the ordinary resident users. The resident users are on their turn of great importance for the growth of the network. Without their acceptance the initiative would not get off the ground. The role of maintenance has been very tangible in the success of FF too. Therefore it is justified to conclude that H2 is true. H2: Each of the user roles is of vital importance to Wi-Fi community success in the longer run H2 will therefore be maintained. 5.6 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS FF FOR RQ 2 (H4+H5+H6) The strong growth in FF was not only caused by the fact that the technology at some point was not that difficult anymore to get started. The success is also attributed to the way the initiative is organized. Hypothesis 4 indicates that Wi-Fi communities can be compared to an adhocracy. H4: The emergence of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling an adhocracy. Below is discussed whether this is the case in FF ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND COORDINATION IN THE INITIATING PHASE In an adhocracy, people with different skills come together and form a partnership that is able to innovate. This is also reflected in FF. Different groups are involved in setting up FF each using their knowledge and experience to make FF successful. The fusion between the techies and idealists is a good example of this. The techies had very practical knowledge of the Wi-Fi technology. Some of them were experts in the field of hardware like designing and building custom made antennas. Others were very skilled at writing software and were engaged in the development of firmware or routing protocols. The idealists themselves 70

123 often had a technical background, but were primarily communicators that brought together all the relevant information. They gave the initiative a direction, a higher purpose and were in contact with the outside world. This role required them to brand FF. They succeeded in doing so and from that moment on FF acquired momentum Way of communication and coordination In an adhocracy communication is very flexible and the main coordination mechanism used is mutual adjustment. Besides that many cases were solved by mutual adjustment the picopeering agreement (PPA) played a central role in the development of FF. It formed a basis for further cooperation. People who joined the initiative were basically supporting the PPA. The PPA is not an enforceable contract because that would be at odds with the decentralized and voluntary nature of FF, but the members were expected to stand behind this idea and agree with its contents. In most cases they did, but as we have noticed some people ignored or misunderstood the PPA and were interfering or modifying the data transferred through their nodes. PICO PEERING AGREEMENT The pico-peering agreement (Appendix D) is a document referring to agreements on issues like free transit, open communication, warranty, and terms of use. It is basically an agreement that regulates the principles of free data transit. The idea is that a member can use his neighbors node to exchange information and form one complete network. This means that participants should allow data not necessarily intended for them to pass through their nodes. In order to do so the technical parameters of each node have to be provided to the participants in question to make peering possible. Participating in FF means that you were expected to agree to the pico-peering agreement. We have already seen that reciprocity played a significant role within the WL community. Interestingly is when looking at the PPA you can see that this agreement also confirms and strengthens the reciprocity behavior. So similar to WL we see that FF relies on reciprocity as well in this sense. Although the PPA in a way was an important coordination mechanism many other things in the organization were coordinated by mutual adjustment. A coordinating mechanism ideally used in adhocracies. Jürgen tells: There was some form of coordination by discussing things. We came up with this idea of organizing the Berlin summer convention. And of course people who made the suggestion helped to organize it. Once we started organizing it other people volunteered to help organize it. So that is how it works. You make suggestions and when people think that is a reasonable idea then they join you and support you. If they don t think it is a reasonable idea they just won t do it. 71

124 The necessary decisions were arranged and conducted mutually in which each member was equal to the other: All members were equal. But there was no voting or any democratic way of deciding. It was either you do it or not. Mutual adjustment is also reflected in how the participants were coping with conflict situations. Usually they came to an agreement through dialogue: [ ] sometimes we had these conflicts, but it was a very rare conflict. Because if somebody does it a way you oppose the only way is to discuss it and come to a certain agreement that it should be done the other way. If this doesn t work you just forge it and do it the other way. So either you have consensus and you to do it in a joined way or you do it in two different ways. This way of organizing things can also lead to a division, which happened sometimes. The various FF members were represented in different groups with some of them engaged in software development for example. Sometimes intense discussions between the developers on software code resulted in a number of factions. According to Jürgen this was not necessarily a bad situation: It could result into a division, but it can also result in positive competition. You have competitive systems in which the best idea or the best solution may be adopted by the majority. If somebody thought it this way and you don t agree that is the best way to do it you talk to each other. You may find a conclusion or not. If you still think your way is the better way you have to show it to the others by doing it. Then other people might agree with your way and you will get more support and momentum for your approach. Pretty much like in the free software development. The only thing that counts really is who delivers the best solution. Sometimes the communication between members is not going well often caused by disagreement and sometimes anger among the techies. In FF especially the idealists saw for themselves a task in keeping things together. They intervened in conflicts and brought the members back together and fueled communication again between members Decentralized control What we clearly see in an adhocracy is the lack of a hierarchy. In contrast to other organizations where you can find a clear management layer that steers in general or in detail there is no such management in an adhocracy. When setting up FF the initiators had discussions about whether there should be some management control and how it should look like: 72

125 There were always discussion to have or no to have a more democratic sort of hierarchical system. But the core of the FF community was always defending this kind of non-structured or self-structuring system against a more hierarchical system. They intentionally choose not to build in any sort of hierarchy into the initiative. The initiators who in a different organizational setting would have probably had a more management role fused with the operating core into one whole. All members were equal and stayed equal. People on the work floor involved in the daily FF activities had the power to make the necessary decisions. If there were some sort of differences between members present then they were based on the level of expertise someone demonstrates. The decision power went to those who had the appropriate expertise. We see this very clearly in FF. Jürgen tells: Off course you have me for example or people together who were really active on a certain topic. They gain some expertise. They get within the community some support from other people. And of course there is some informal hierarchy which developed over time. But it wasn t by election or by a democratic process. Evidence for this decentralization is strongly reflected in the overall organization of the FF. An example for this decentralization can be found in the way the many websites are run. Jürgen tells: The first website we did was very clear. It was like an newspaper with a very clear design. The few information that we were offering was easy to find. And today we have also decentralized the website. There is a lot of websites around FF. We have the wiki and many others things. And sometimes for people to find certain information has become harder today. But I think also that if we are not an hierarchical organization to me it is important to have more people engaged in the process of putting more information on the web. In addition to the websites the following demonstrates that FF is run very locally. One distinctive choice made by FF was to decentralize the ownership of the infrastructure. FF adopted a technology implementation that really corresponded with this idea, namely the meshing technology in ad hoc mode. The idea of shared ownership and then the meshing technology in ad-hoc mode proved to be two very important decisions made by FF. They are discussed below. SHARED OWNERSHIP The nodes in the network are owned by FF members. Each user of FF is at the same time owner of his node. This is the ultimate transfer of power to the very ends of the network. The idea is that if you have something in your possession you can decide what happens with it. In this way you could prevent things from happening that are contrary to the way of thinking within a community characterized very much by a non-commercial approach. The founder of FF tells that: 73

126 From the very beginning we have seen a relationship between ownership and social structure and power. And the very Berlin FF approach is to keep it as decentralized as possible. In a social sense, in a ownership sense and in the sense of power. And as everybody owns their own part of the infrastructure there is no chance for anybody to sell it, to influence it. Nobody has more or less power. The community generates a lot of value. For example the Berlin mesh cloud is depending on the weather and different factors, but the biggest one can be from 500 to 1000 nodes. And that is definitely one of the biggest mesh networks in the world. So there are also the local scientific institutions like the T-lab who are doing research within this mesh cloud. If it was owned by a single entity it could be sold, there could be fraud, damaging community effort and energy that has been put into it. So I think it is really important to protect the communally run and maintained infrastructure from privatization in order to prevent bad effects for the majority of the community. The only way I could think off, if it is not as we do it in Berlin, then it must be something very similar to a co-op system with a shared ownership. Hence, as the network is owned by the users it will be very hard to sell it to a commercial entity to the good of only a few people who might have established some superpower within the local community. A different advantage of this shared ownership has to do with the legal environment. Although this is not part of this research it is worth noting the shared ownership also protects the FF members from laws which are addressed to network providers. Because there is no single entity that runs the network, there is no legal body apart from all the single users who are offering the service within the intranet. At least in Europe these users are not seen as service providers. MESHING TECHNOLOGY IN AD-HOC MODE The network architecture chosen in FF is very consistent with the whole idea of a decentralized organization such as missionized by FF. Not only in the social sense by sharing the ownership of the network as we have seen in the previous section, but also in a technical sense by decentralizing network control to the end-devices. As we know users buy their own hardware and pay for the required electricity themselves. Free trainings are offered to educate new users in how to connect the routers to the network. So the roll-out is done by every single user himself. In this way it is possible for the network to grow almost endlessly without the need of having a huge administrative team to manage the network. As we have seen in WL this was an issue at some point in time. In WL too meshing technology has been chosen, but they used a different model. One could say it is more of a semi decentralized model or a structured mesh. 74

127 FIGURE 9: NETWORK ARCHITECTURE USED IN WL (FRANGOUDIS, POLYZOS ET AL. 2011:207) WL is using a small mesh backbone of point-to-point long distance wireless links, with the backbone nodes providing single-hop access-point service to subscribers. They use directional antennas which requires lots of effort to plan, install and periodically adjust the antennas (Bicket, Biswas et al. 2004:9). So they have to carefully choose the locations to put the nodes on. They serve the clients (users) with Omni-directional antennas. If a network is not that large then this solution works reasonably well. But when too many people want to make use of the network it requires a lot of administration and maintenance to keep the network running and growing. FIGURE 10: MESH IN CLIENT MODE (DRUNEN, KOOLHAAS ET AL. JUNE 2003:4) 75

128 Instead, in the FF network not only the backbone is a mesh but the whole network. As (Bicket, Biswas et al. :1) termed it: This approach differs from the more traditional engineered" network in which nodes are positioned based on propagation surveys or simulations, and in which directional antennas are used to create specific high-quality links. FIGURE 11: MESH IN AD-HOC MODE(FreiFunk 2006) In FF Omni-directional antennas are used. Every node is an access point. Nodes tell each other who they are and which nodes they can see. In addition each nodes tells what nodes its neighbor can see. In this way the network can grow endlessly in a very dynamic and spontaneous way without much need for heavy administration and maintenance. No matter how many nodes the network is containing all information about all the nodes in the network is available within the mesh. The challenge is to come up with a routing protocol that makes routing possible and chooses the best routes between any two given nodes. Ultimately FF succeeded in coming up with firmware that was able to do so efficiently. USER CONTRIBUTED SUPPORT The available resources are controlled very locally. To relieve the real experts and to get as many people as possible involved in FF the real experts are only consulted when the local members cannot solve it themselves. To achieve this goal many people receive training in which they learn the specifics of wireless networking and how they can teach others in their local community. This very same idea is reflected in the c-base meetings. Dennis tells: [ ] we have local groups. They have some place and meet and work together in community houses once a week. The central point for Berlin is c-base which is a hackers club. We meet and work there every Wednesday from all over Berlin. From here we carry it back to the communities. 76

129 We offer regular meetings very locally. E.g. in Berlin we offer regular meetings once a week in the evenings in almost every district. These meeting work like a typical user group. People who have questions or problems can go there. They can ask their questions, and the person with the less skills needed to answer the questions is pleased to do so. If the question is more complicated, a more educated person is asked to answer. And only if it is even more complicated the true experts are consulted. This is a very important methodology to deal with local resources. Also people learn from the very beginning to tech and help each other. It also helps to educate the "experts" not to involve in every issue, but also to give other people a chance to help others and to learn more and more over time, so that they can become experts themselves one day. This ensures that the number of experts are spreading like an ink blot. It not only provides a large growth in the project, but also a sustainable growth. With an increase in the number of members the number of experts will also increase Defining the Strategy Also in FF we see that the strategy formation process arises spontaneously from the activities that people undertake in different places in the community resembling very much the way strategy is defined in an adhocracy as described by Mintzberg. FF has been developing unplanned in a certain direction. The guiding principle was that members were doing the things they were interested in. Jürgen describes this process as follows: We didn t give it a structure. That was something that was already happening. We didn t have any power to enforce it. People did what they wanted to do. They focused on things they were interested in. Like some people were interested in building antennas and optimizing them. Others were interested in helping with software development. Other people were doing marketing. Other people were interested in designing stickers. So everybody did what they wanted to do The next level An adhocracy tends to bureaucratize over time. The two reasons mentioned by Mintzberg are inefficiencies in the organizational processes and tendency in the longer run to benefit from the achieved successes. If we focus on the first reason we know inefficiency is inherent to an adhocracy. It is only compensated by the innovativeness that is generally present in an adhocracy. When the adhocracy loses its innovator role the lack of authority no longer outweigh the costs of the existence of such an organization. The question is whether FF can really still be called innovative. As we have read in the previous sections the meshing technology development is pretty much completed. Would this also mean that FF is finding itself on the path towards a bureaucracy. According to the founder this is not the case. In the eyes of Jürgen the technology may be mature, but FF is confronted with new challenges which have to do with the question how to take advantage of the basic infrastructure now that it is working. Currently, FF has a fairly stable mesh network in Berlin which is not being 77

130 exploited sufficiently. FF sees for itself a role in developing creative and useful services on the mesh capable of competing with the Internet. This is clearly reflected in the previous sections explaining that it's time for a new generation that will have to utilize the Intranet. So in that sense FF has not yet finalized its innovation intentions. In the second reason Mintzberg argues that adhocracies eventually bureaucratize because they are inclined to exploit the successes achieved. If we read the words of Jürgen carefully we see that success in his eyes has not yet been reached fully. There is much more to achieve in the current setting of a highly decentralized initiative acting like an adhocracy. Taking everything into account we cannot really say that FF has surpassed it innovator role and that a possible bureaucratization is still far away. Hence, FF can be stilled considered an adhocracy. H5 states that Wi-Fi communities also share characteristics with a missionary organization. This is discussed in the next section ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND COORDINATION IN THE GROWTH PHASE In chapter 4 we have already noted that WL seems to have more in common with an adhocracy than a pure missionary organization. At the same time we stated that Wi-Fi communities clearly have also elements of a missionary organization. Especially when we look at the ideology that plays a central role in missionary organizations one can find similarities. It is interesting to see whether the same can be found in FF. As we have read in the previous sections FF being strongly driven by ideological motivations should be a community where many elements of a missionary organization can be discovered. In this section we take a closer look to what extent FF shares characteristics with a missionary organization, in particular the way the ideology/mission is developed and strengthened. According to Mintzberg an ideology within a missionary organization follows 3 phases. A phase in which the ideology is initiated, a phase of development in the ideology and a phase of reinforcing the ideology Phase 1 Initiating the ideology Mintzberg states that such an ideology occurs within a missionary organization when (Mintzberg 2000: 228): An initiator lays down a task dealing with the provision of a particular product or service - and gathers a group of people around him to implement this task. This is in accordance with the way it went in FF. We can still remember from the previous chapter how FF came into being. Namely, when Jürgen Neumann and a group of IT consultants unified in a collaborative group called Mindwork found out that Wi-Fi networking could be used to achieve free networking, but that this did not really materialize because of poor information sharing between several small communities. They saw it as their task to accomplish this. Jürgen recalls what they saw as their mission: 78

131 We said that FF wanted to be an initiative that supported the local Wi-Fi communities with presentation materials, documentary not only on the technical side but also on the marketing side. We all were communication experts. We designed FF as a communication platform. Another element that recurs in the theory of Mintzberg on missionary organizations is that members see at least something in it for themselves before they participate. But in some cases, besides the task itself a missionary feeling, a feeling that one has come together to create something unusual and exciting is present. Looking at the first founders we clearly see this attitude. In 5.2 we have read about the goals they wanted to achieve. It boiled down to a wish for free networking based on Wi-Fi. Free networks which are developed by end-users themselves without any interference from government or commercial parties. Interestingly, Mintzberg states that all participants have at least something in it for themselves. The degree in which this applies differs among the participants. The very early participants for instance, the idealists of Mindwork were also driven by a more specific purpose described by Jürgen as follows: Well I mean it was very exciting to get to know people from all around the world. The term community was alluring. It was in the very beginning of the internet community. We are talking about the early 2002/2003. And there weren t any social networks like today and the whole idea of forming an international community and to be in touch with people in other countries, to have exchange over the internet, to work on a website was a very exciting thing. The techies who became involved due to their technology background had mainly a technical drive, which meant they liked to play with the technology, but nevertheless they were also exploring the possibilities of Wi-Fi networking for free networking. This pursuit for digital independence certainly applies for the groups from West Berlin with their traditional hackers background. The users who became involved in large numbers afterwards were also supportive to this collective goal, but the balance was more to their own advantage. Jürgen describes the individual goals as follows: [ ] of course individual goals are individual goals. Maybe one person wants to have access to the internet and is engaged very temporarily. The engagement would start with coming to local meetings and seeking help and information how to set up a link to get access to the internet. Once they manage to have internet at home they disappear. And then other people are very interested in technical issues like developing routing protocols. Here in Berlin we have a very strong tech community who is very interested in hacking and writing software or optimizing routers and even designing hardware. In addition there are other technical people at the same time. People like me. Even though I m an IT-expert my main focus is on the network infrastructure. And concerning FF I m much more interested in the political side and the impact of the wireless technology in general for societies. 79

132 Despite the fact that different user groups had their own individual goals the FF ideology or mission, was strong enough to bind them together and accomplish something which they normally would have failed to achieve separately. Phase 3 elaborates on the different ways in which participants can identify with the ideology of an organization. The next section deals with phase 2 and is about how the ideology gradually takes shape Phase 2 Developing the ideology In this phase, the ideology is developed and will at some point in time have a life of its own. According to Mintzberg this happens through the following process. He argues that the ideology is reinforced by (Mintzberg 2000): [ ] tales, sometimes called "myths", that arise around key events in the history of the organization. In FF, we see that the members identify themselves with certain events that occurred during the development of FF which created a sense of belonging for the members. One of these events and perhaps the most important was the development of the new firmware (See 5.3). This story takes almost mythical proportions. This inspiring story is pointed out by several members when they describe the developments in FF. The firmware was not only technically of critical importance to the success of FF, but it looks like this achievement ensures that members are more involved with the whole idea of FF. So, in that sense the FF ideology is reinforced (i.e. that end-users by their way of cooperation in FF indeed are able to set up their own networks). The next story told by the founder has a similar inspiring effect on the FF members: [ ] I can tell you another story. Electra one of the community volunteers started Batman 5 years ago I think. Because she realized that OLSR was too complicated in the way it worked. Then a very talented young developer joined the FF network when he wasn t even 18. I remember a day when his father brought him to the c-base to check whether it was a safe place that his son could go to. He is a very talented software developer and he developed a Linux kernel module for Batman which is now part of the main Linux distribution. So batman made it from the c-base to the Linux kernel and now the technology is available all over the world now. This has nothing to do with FF anymore, but it only came into the world because this one talented software developer joined the local FF community for a long time back. These stories create a bond between the people and lead to the ideology becoming more recognizable as a result of which more people are wanting to be part of this exciting environment Phase 3 Reinforcing the ideology As we have seen Mintzberg cites four different ways in which organizational members can identify with an ideology. This includes identification through a natural way, by selection, 80

133 socialization and calculation. Especially the first and last way can be found in the case of FF. For the other two ways no conclusive evidence has been found in the collected data, but that is not to say that these forms of identification are not used in FF. Collecting more data would clarify this. It is true that FF members have come together in various meetings, but these meetings were primarily practical sessions intended to educate users in the technology instead of reinforcing the ideology of FF. Of the three clearly distinguishable sets of user (i.e. the idealist, techies and users) the idealists are the ones that identify with FF in the most natural way. This applies also to some extent for the techies, especially those from West Berlin. On the other hand the users were mostly driven by calculation, because FF was for them the easiest way to get broadband Internet. Given the four ways of identification the calculation way is the weakest way. The Mintzberg theory predicts that as soon as an opportunity arises elsewhere participants will disappear. Proof of this could already be found in WL. In that respect, FF is very similar to WL. Once the users had the opportunity to obtain broadband elsewhere they stopped their participation in FF. It appears that FF had to rely very much on the participation of the resident user. We know from Mintzberg this form of identification may weaken the missionary organization in the longer run. Despite this it seems that things are changing now. More and more new members who identify in a natural way with the ideals of FF find their way to FF. Alexander tells: The ordinary people they become less. They have their broadband connection. On the other hand the idealists and activists are more present. Opinions differ about this issue. On the one hand, Alexander sees a successful FF in the future consisting of a group of people who are primarily motivated by ideals based on the idea of giving and in which users motivated by the broadband access (the idea of taking) are no longer present. While Dennis is suggesting that for FF to be successful it is necessary that as many people as possible participate, including the ordinary users. In his eyes FF s success relates directly to the size of the network. The larger the network, the more people can be reached that potentially support the ideals of FF. Currently he has a gloomy outlook on the future of FF. He foresees that FF in the future will probably still exist, but in a more isolated form meaning: [ ] in the same form as the amateur radio exists as a technical hobby club The next level The previous difference in vision for FF brings us to the next point. Mintzberg describes in his theory that a missionary organization is dealing with two conflicting forces having increasingly more influence on such an organization. These forces play a role here as well. On the one hand the risk of assimilation and on the other hand the risk of isolation. As we have already noted earlier, it seems that FF is not whatsoever befriending mainstream organizations as we have seen in WL. If FF would have any connection to external organizations then these organization are explicitly those with a non-commercial character 81

134 and a do it yourself approach like FF. The question is whether FF is able to carry out the FF idea in the same strong way in the future in order to stay successful. If we listen carefully to the various participants it seems more likely that FF Berlin at least for some time will become more an organization in the margin than the inspiring organization of the past who was able to attract large numbers of divergent participants. But if FF succeeds in coming up with very innovative and interesting services things might change quickly and the initiative will again attract the attention of large groups of new users ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND COORDINATION IN THE MATURITY PHASE We have seen that in the WL case there was increasingly more top-down control, which was accompanied by more formalization and increasing commercialization. It is currently difficult to predict what the future holds for FF. It looks like things will have a different course than in WL. FF is very decentralized. Top-down management within the initiative seems therefore highly unlikely. The degree of formalization is very small. If there is a rule then it is the informal rule that everyone should do whatever he wants. Commercialization seems for the time being out of the question. The danger of commercialization is very low given the fact that the entire set-up of the initiative is to provide for local ownership of the network. There is also this philosophy that economic incentives are more harmful to the community than they are benefitting the community. This is evident from the following quote from Jürgen, who as founder knows very well how this community functions: We had a long discussion in my group MindWork amongst the IT professionals without profession at that time. We had a long discussion to decide whether it was business or not. But after some discussion we were very clear about running this completely as a non-commercial project without exception. Until today I have never made any money from any activity. There have been some donations, but I never took the money into my pocket because that is really like poison to a community. Because then people are wondering why you get the money and they don t. I mean the amount of money isn t really worthwhile having this problem. If you get a 100 euro for an interview or something it is really not worthwhile to take that into your pocket, because it destroys more than it will help. Based on the above one could conclude that FF will continue as a non-commercial and independent initiative. This intention is currently supported by the FF members. As shown in section FF seems to be still in an innovative phase and not yet in any transit phase towards a bureaucracy. It is possible that FF is really different from WL and that it will choose isolation instead of joining mainstream organizations. The future will bring more clarity concerning this issue. 82

135 H4 states that: 5.7 ANALYZING FF AND FEEDBACK FOR RQ 2 (H4+H5+H6) H4: The emergence of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling an adhocracy. As we have seen in FF strongly shares the characteristics of an adhocracy. Therefore, H4 is accepted. If we look at H5 the situation is somewhat different. We have already seen that FF shares many characteristics with a missionary organization. Besides the obvious presence of a mission/ideology as we have seen above, there are other characteristics that match a missionary organization. There has been a mission that was clear and inspiring and no planning and control was existing, but more something like disorder and disorganization. This is in line with the theory of Mintzberg on missionary organizations. Another relevant characteristic of a missionary organization is that the organization is more concerned with changing the world than itself. We see this also reoccur in FF. This is manifested by the observed external orientation of FF, where many people were invited to join the idea of FF. Moreover one of the objectives of FF is spreading the FF concept globally. The above findings clearly demonstrate FF s missionary features. Hence, one can say without doubt that FF shares characteristics with a missionary organization. However, like WL there is one important element as a result of which we cannot conclude that FF is a pure missionary organization. Comparable to WL there are differences between the various participants in the initiative. Differences in status, knowledge and expertise. Although it was repeatedly stated that all members are equal in FF in practice there are differences between these participants. The differences can be traced back to the different user groups, each supporting the FF mission, but at the same time having its own orientation towards FF. Because of their role the various participants in their respective roles gain a certain expertise. The techies were especially well in solving the technological problems and the idealists in communicating and promoting the initiative internally and externally. Therefore differences in status and expertise between participants within one and the same user role and between participants from different user roles are self-evident. These are not designed in beforehand, but arise naturally by the activities that participants voluntarily carry out. Considering the information above we can state that FF does not resemble a pure missionary organization. Therefore hypothesis 5: H5: The continuation of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling a missionary organization. is not accepted in this form. 83

136 Following from the previous section one can wonder whether the further development of FF will be accompanied by more centralization of power and increasing formalization and commercialization. This is core to the sixth and final hypothesis: H6: Keeping Wi-Fi community networks operational in the long run is accompanied by a change in attitude of participants from an amateur to a professional one with increasing use of economic mechanisms, formal procedures and top down coordination measures. Given the previous findings it is difficult to determine whether FF is heading in this direction. Al least for the time being things are not the way H6 depicts them. However things might change in the future. Hence, for now we cannot test hypothesis 6 adequately enough. In order to test hypothesis 6 one has to keep an eye on FF and perform further research into FF. 84

137 CHAPTER 6 SYNTHESIS In this chapter the previous research findings are brought together and feedback to the research questions is provided. The previously identified hypotheses have provided direction to this research and focused the attention on issues that play an important role in this study. Based on the WL and FF case insights on the role of end-users Wi-Fi community networks is formed. From the synthesis of the previous findings a number of conclusions can be drawn. These are discussed below. First, we look at the collectiveness of an initiative and start with the community goals in Wi- Fi networks. 6.1 UNDERSTANDING THE COMMUNITY GOAL This study deals with outdoor Wi-Fi networks formed by end-users. We have seen that in both WL and FF people wanted to achieve free Wi-Fi networks. These are independent and freely accessible networks formed by end-users on a non-commercial basis. In both initiatives we can find a similar formulation of the general purpose for the community. However, the interpretation and further elaboration of this general idea differs among the initiatives. Clear differences in emphasis between WL and FF do exist. The role FF sees for itself in society is different from the way WL positions itself. WL is not only willing to serve ordinary citizens, but is also reaching out to mainstream organizations. Cooperation with commercial parties is deemed not to be in conflict with the philosophy of the initiative. FF in contrast believes in a revolutionary approach in which other organizations are more likely to adopt the FF idea of non-commercialism and do it yourself approach than vice versa. In any case, what the differences in emphasis may be, these initiatives are clearly a new way of organizing communication networks. To realize such networks one has to rely on the efforts of different types of end-users. We have seen in both case studies which groups were involved in the establishment and development of WL and FF. These groups get together, find each other in the community goal described above and want to contribute to this goal in their own way. The guiding condition is that the community goal leaves sufficient opportunities for individual members to pursue their own goals. The opportunities these members receive is highly appreciated by them and encourages their involvement. Actually, this tolerance towards individual undertakings is also needed if the initiative wants to be successful. The initiative cannot develop without the help and expertise of the various user groups. Different users are complementary to each other and enable their individual undertakings together to be more than the sum of their parts. In fact, it would probably not have been possible to get anything done at all without having the different user groups cooperating with each other. Hence, one can say that the interaction of different types of members has been crucial to the success of WL and FF. Alongside the individual freedom of action for different users there was also 85

138 something just as important to the success of the initiatives. Members were expected not only to pursue their own individual goals, but also to give back and do something beyond their core activities. Something in addition to their individual goals that would contribute to achieving the community goals. Hence, a techie for instance was expected not only to play with the technology for personal interest, but also provide technical support to ordinary users. Even if these technical problems were in the eyes of the techies very simple and boring. Another example deals with the maintenance work. Maintenance is necessary to ensure the quality of the network. Part of this maintenance is easy and very boring. Sometimes it was really just clicking on the node s reset button which was installed somewhere on a roof. It's easy to imagine that none of the members is very keen to carry out this type of work. But for the sake of community success performing these activities was necessary. Not because people were obliged to do so, but because it felt as part of the package deal they had with the community. Put differently, there was a reciprocal relationship between the individual goals and the community goal. In short, one might say that in these two communities a balance existed between the pursuit of individual goals and the community goal. As long as this was the case things went quite well. In WL and FF this was in such a way that both communities were able to achieve their goals and be successful. The following section discusses the presence of different user groups in these initiatives. 6.2 USER GROUPS From the PhD research of Verhaegh much information about the situation at WL can be gathered. Verhaegh finally came up with a taxonomy of different user groups who have been involved in WL: Wi-Fi community phase User role Initiating phase Lead user Growth and stabilization phase Sponsor Volunteer (different sets of volunteers) Residential user Maintenance TABLE 4: USER ROLES IN WL 86

139 In FF we saw that these user roles were not all recognizable in the same way as in WL. Based on both the findings in WL and FF below a table is constructed that characterizes the main user roles. This table can also be used for new cases studies in any future research. Most of the user roles found by Verhaegh in WL are provided with sufficient explanation and are sufficiently clear in his PhD thesis research. When things were not entirely clear, adjustments have been made. The volunteer and maintenance role are not expressed that clearly. Based on the findings in FF more substance is given to these roles. Table 5 attempts to give a further characterization of the identified user roles. This will happen on the basis of four attributes associated also with the phase in which each of these roles is clearly distinguishable. In the founding phase, the lead user role played by the founders is the one and only role. In the growth phase these are the volunteer (consisting of techies and idealists), sponsors and residential user role. The attributes which are dealt with are the incentives and goals relating to the specific user role and the resources needed to fulfill this role. The last attribute looks at the reward and deals with what the various members in the different roles get in return for their participation ATTRIBUTES Incentive In this incentives column we find the underlying reasons for users in different user roles to get involved in the initiative. Goal In the goals column we find the various individual goals associated with the respective user role. Resources 2 In this column the resources are discussed. To achieve individual goals and ultimately the community goal each of the different participants brings something in. In this way everyone contributes a bit to the creation of a community. Reward The last column discusses the reward for each participant in a particular role. The reward is very important because it clarifies what one can expect in return for participating in the 2 Individuals within each user role share certain characteristics which determine the success of Wi-Fi communities. They have for instance resources that can help them to establish their individual goals. In Table 5 we can see what resources are needed to achieve the goals associated with the different user roles. An important note here is that these same resources simultaneously contribute to the community goal as well. As indicated earlier, the community goal is achieved by achieving the various individual goals. The sum of the individual goals together makes the creation of the collective goal possible. In other words, we can also say that the sum of all the resources relating to the user roles allow for a Wi-Fi network to achieve its collective goal. 87

140 initiative. So here's the aforementioned link between individual goals and collective goal. Participation means that one contributes to the creation of the collective goal. In return participants are also offered an opportunity to achieve individual goals. Wi-Fi community phase User role Main incentive Personal Goal Main Resources Personal Reward Knowledge Initiating phase Lead user Personal need Satisfy personal need Expertise Equipment Meet personal need (realize a working Wi-Fi network) Organizational talents Techies Technological curiosity Satisfy personal hobby (doing it for fun) Show your competence/skills to others (doing it for self-esteem and ego) Technology expertise (including expert maintenance skills) Intellectual reward Reputation Recognition by peers Career prospects Marketing skills Growth and stabilization phase Idealists Ideological aspirations Safeguard community s momentum Organizational skills Communications kills International contacts Free communication Improve social network Recognition Sponsor Explicit reward (Opportunity for Mutual interests) Benefitting from reciprocity Money Suitable node locations Advertising your organization Benefit from Wi-Fi network Residential user Explicit reward (Experience lack of service/high costs) Improve quality of personal communication Participation Social network Equipment Easy maintenance skills Receive more and better communications services (especially Broadband Internet) TABLE 5: USER ROLES IN WI-FI COMMUNITIES 88

141 6.2.2 USER ROLES A participant may simultaneously or sequentially have more than one of these roles. In practice, it is true that most participants once they decide to be part of an initiative they have a leading reason for it. In general, this reason does not change. Put differently, a participant who decided to get involved because he is particularly interested in Wi-Fi technology will most likely hold the techies role in the community and continue to do so in the future. Probably he will not be taking the role of residential user after some time. In the same way a residential user involved primarily because of broadband Internet access and generally having little knowledge of technology will not/cannot assume a techies role Lead user role The lead user role is a special case because it marks the beginning of an initiative. In this role, the background of a member (it can be a techie or an idealist) is less important. The point is that someone has a particular need which is not fulfilled. Both the first founders of WL and FF were driven by a certain need (it may be a technical need, but not necessarily) which before setting up the initiative was not accommodated for. In both WL and FF there was clear evidence for this role during the (pre-)establishment of the initiative. In both cases the founders felt that the creation of outdoor Wi-Fi networks was required to meet their needs. Compared to all members of the community one could state that the lead users identify the most with the community goal. Their individual goal overlaps highly with the collective goal which is not really surprising of course, because they are mostly the ones who are very involved in drawing the common goals at the start of the initiative. The point is that they cannot achieve the collective goal on their own. This is partly due to size. The number of founders of the initiative is generally low and the amount of work is huge. We saw this in the two case studies. Besides, in the two cases it is also shown that despite the lead user s respectable capabilities (knowledge, expertise... etc.) these are not sufficient to bring the initiative beyond the start-up phase. Knowledge and expertise from others is required too. Persuading other type of members to join brings the collective goal much closer Sponsor role In FF, the role of sponsorships was of minimal significance. There was some sort of sponsorship, but the success of the initiative was not depending on it. Yet sponsorship is included in the table because it can play also a very important role in the success of a Wi-Fi initiative. In WL such sponsorship was crucial to the growth and ultimate success of the initiative. The sponsors in WL saw that the Wi-Fi network could contribute to the their own organization in two ways. Firstly, by the traditional mutual beneficial relationship between sponsor and the sponsored party. The whole idea of a city-wide Wi-Fi network set up by 89

142 end-users had a strong appeal on the local sponsors. They would like their name to be connected to such innovative initiatives hoping that it would benefit the organization s image with the general public. Secondly, by directly benefitting from the presence of the wireless network. We saw that employees of a sponsor organization could make use of the WL network. The network offered the employees the opportunity to work from almost anywhere in town, including from their homes Volunteer role The volunteer role is not elaborated extensively by Verhaegh in describing the situation in WL. Therefore this role creates some confusion. All involved members - some more so than others - can indeed be classified as volunteers. This is because we are dealing with end-user networks in which voluntarism is a leading principle. From his work, we can understand that the term volunteer is at least used for the first participants who joined the initiative after the founders were searching for people who could support them. It seems the volunteer role is more a label to indicate the participation of this group who joined WL in the phase just after its founding rather than to define a clear and distinguishable role. These were both people who helped with the technical work (installation of the nodes, etc.) as well as people who initiated and kept contact with the sponsors. Because of the insufficient demarcation of the role this role is removed from the table. Instead there are now two roles that were most evident in the study of WL and FF and perhaps the ones that are most entitled to claim the term volunteer. Based on the case findings in both WL and FF we can speak of two clearly distinguishable types of volunteers. These are the techies and the idealists. In examining several new case studies one can make an improvement to these two types. For now there are two. TECHIE ROLE In this role the participants will be guided by the Wi-Fi technology and the opportunities it provides for the establishment of a city-wide Wi-Fi network. For the creation of this network, this group is crucial. In WL and FF the techies got to work with limited resources to establish Wi-Fi communication over long distances within restricting criteria. They needed a lot of knowledge and experience about the hardware and software to build such a network. The source for their interest comes from a curiosity in the technology, an urge to learn about the technology and to master it. The way the techies look at the reward for their involvement varies. Some of them are involved just because it is their hobby. They get a thrill from engaging in the art of playing with the technology. Solving technical problems gives them an intellectual reward. This is clearly an intrinsic motivation. For other techies the environment plays a much bigger role. They get involved because they want to impress their colleagues or because they want to have better qualifications on their résumé. By solving complex technical problems they increase their reputation, career prospects and recognition by peers. We saw this clearly in the WL and FF cases. Some of the techies are very often mentioned by their colleagues and still receive the credits for their contributions, even if they are not contributing anymore. Some are no longer involved in the initiatives, 90

143 but make good use of the name they have built to make a career. This setting in which individual contributions are equally important as the collective work is very important for the involvement of many techies. IDEALIST ROLE In this role, the participants are guided by ideological aspirations. Users in this role have this idea that end-users are able to set up free and independent networks and they should exploit this opportunity and take control over their communication environment. This idea is very present in FF and to a lesser extent in WL. The idealists see for themselves as a main objective in the first place to create and maintain a good momentum for the initiative from their background as communications, marketing and organizational experts. They are the people who form the face of the community to the outside word and in that role try to obtain a lot of support for the initiative. Often by tapping into their international contacts. They find it very exciting to do so. Besides these public relations function to the outside world they often act as mediators between members. Sometimes disputes arise between the members. Although they would prefer not doing it they are taking on that role in the interest of the community. They bring the vital communication between members back on track. Their long-term view of things appears to be essential for the success of FF and WL. In the end as a reward for their work a network is established that meets their ideological aspirations. Namely, a network that actually made it possible to communicate easily and cheaply and exchange information and services freely. In addition, as social networkers they proved to be very important for the community s success. In return for this the community gives them a reason to benefit from their (international) social networks and even improve and expand them Resident user role The residential user role seems to be key to the success of a Wi-Fi initiative. Both in WL and FF, this role has been of great importance to the success of the initiative. The huge interest from the resident user provided an additional reason for the expert volunteers to make and keep the network accessible for the ordinary user. Even though the early members had the intention to do so - it was laid down in the overall objective of the community to be accessible for as many people as possible - this huge interest from the ordinary users gave a huge boost to the initiative thereby increasing network value and making the network interesting for many more than the small group of specific users consisting predominantly of techies. The resident users are mainly driven by an explicit reward being mainly the access to broadband Internet. This has been repeatedly stated in the previous chapters. The resident users in both WL and FF had no access to Internet or were very dissatisfied with the quality/price ratio of their Internet connections. In their eyes, the Wi-Fi community networks provided them with an attractive solution for their problem. So the immediate goal sought by the resident user was to improve their personal communication 91

144 environment. Similar to other user groups the resident users contributed on their part to the success of the Wi-Fi network. Their main contribution lies in their participation. Due to their participation the network could grow significantly. Not only in the number of users, but also in the physical (more nodes) size of the network. Hence, giving the opportunity to many more residential users to join the initiative. In the same line the resident users used their own social network and mobilized their environment to join the initiative. The ultimate reward for their participation is of course no surprise anymore. They benefited from services provided through the Wi-Fi network, especially broadband Internet. As previously mentioned participants to a community network as defined in this research are not driven by the profit motive. Yet for any successful participation the cost factor is important due to the fact that limited costs can act as a pre-condition to get involved for the average end-user. Given the more economically-oriented nature of a resident user it is expected that especially this type of user will give more priority to the amount of investment costs required in deciding whether or not to participate in a Wi-Fi community. Fortunately for community networks, the cost factor is one of the many characteristics that distinguish Wi-Fi networks from other infrastructures. Compared to alternative infrastructures the installation and equipment costs for Wi-Fi networks are relatively modest (Wu 2004:1). Even in the very early days of the WL initiative one of the members developed a plug-and-play device for resident user costing 250 and containing everything an end-user needed to have access to the internet. In FF the costs for participation are limited as well. Today members can buy the necessary equipment for approximately Maintenance role Maintenance in this context is mainly about the technical maintenance of the system. The people who are involved in maintenance can be put in two groups. The first group is very interested in technology and one might even say that they carry out maintenance (expert maintenance) without complaining. They derive great pleasure from working on the complex technical issues that arise in the network. While the second group consists of people for whom maintenance is not a goal in itself, but a necessity you cannot ignore. One could say that they see it as a necessary evil in the sake of the greater good of the initiative and eventually their own individual goals. In the case of WL some resident users took the obligation upon them to monitor an adopted node and do the easy maintenance. In FF it went much further as a result of the chosen network set-up in which each node owner was asked to maintain his own node. This second group generally is more influenced by the social pressure on them to do maintenance work than that they are really enjoying the maintenance. For the first group, however, the technical challenges associated with expert maintenance is the goal. Due to the technical orientation of this group and the many techies that are involved, this maintenance work is actually belonging more to role of the techies. The techies are indeed not only concerned with improving the network (groundbreaking and pioneering technology), but must also very often resolve problems that arise in different parts of the network. This type of maintenance is often difficult to execute and ordinary maintainers of the second group are not able to handle this kind of maintenance. 92

145 The maintenance role in the work of Verhaegh primarily refers to the type maintenance that is simple and which can be done by the ordinary users themselves. Hence falling under the activities performed by resident users. As mentioned, when it comes to expert maintenance this actually fall under the techies role. Based on the analysis of FF and WL we may conclude there is no need for a maintenance role as a separate role. Maintenance is mainly about technical maintenance. Hence it is part of the techies role. When it comes to easy maintenance it is part of the tasks of the ordinary user and belongs therefore to the resident user role. Hence, the maintenance role does not belong in table 5 because it coincides with two other roles. That is why this role is removed from the table. We have seen how the different user roles described above play an important role in the establishment of development of both WL and FF and perhaps even in other cases as well. It is now time to direct attention to the conclusions we can derive from the way these communities are organized. 6.3 WIFI COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION (H4+H5+H6) In the preceding chapters WL and FF are presented as organizations that have developed in clearly distinguishable phases. In the transition was presented by the picture below. After a first phase which has much in common with an adhocracy the initiatives transformed into a missionary organization. The missionary configuration was shown in phase two as a separate organizational form and a successor to the first phase. FIGURE 12: CONFIGURATION OF WI-FI COMMUNITIES DURING DIFFERENT PHASES 93

146 The impression that there are clear boundaries between the different phases and configurations is not entirely justified. The transition from an adhocracy to a missionary and then to a bureaucracy is not that clear cut. Having a close look at the findings in the WL and FF case study shows that a clear distinction between the initiative as an adhocracy and initiative as a missionary cannot be made. We can find in the initiatives from their launch on both adhocracy and missionary characteristics. Hence a better way to depict the real situation is the next picture. FIGURE 13: TRANSIT PHASES OF WI-FI INTITIATIVES A few modifications stand out. Firstly, the missionary characteristics described so far are also present from the beginning. In WL a predominate mission was for instance already present from the beginning. The early members had a strong identification with the early mission as it was defined by Koolhaas. In addition more missionary characteristics can be found from the start like the decentralized management approach displayed by the board which is complementary to the decentralized approach in an adhocracy. This decentralized approach was also very present in FF. Hence, there is not a real division between these 94

147 organizational types. Instead characteristics from both configuration types are present at the same time during the initiating and the growth phase. However we can state that during the establishing phase the adhocracy characteristics were more prominent. After the major technical hurdles were taken and the most urgent problems were solved the missionary characteristics can be increasingly found. In this phase many lay volunteers (resident users) wanted to join the initiative because they wanted to be part of its success. A second major difference with the former figure is that the missionary organization as a separate configuration phase is removed. A reason to keep the missionary organizational configuration out as a separate phase has to do with what was already mentioned briefly in the feedback to H5 in sections 4.5 and 5.7. Reading the previous parts gives the impression that there are only similarities between WL/FF and the missionary organization, yet there is one important feature of missionary organizations that is not compatible with what was has been found in the two case studies. According to Mintzberg a pure missionary organization consists of (Mintzberg 2000:233): "[...] an amorphous mass of members within a common ideology all working in the same direction, with minimal job specialization, a minimal differentiation and status differences between individuals." It is true that the WL/FF members believed in a common ideology and worked together in different degrees of commitment to achieve that, but the later characteristics of complete non-differentiation between users are not found in both cases. In fact they are contrary to the way the variety of user roles have manifested themselves in these communities. In both WL and FF in theory all members are equal, but in practice we have seen that differences between groups of participants do exists and that participants differ for example in the degree of expertise, the roles they assume and the leadership they portray. The preceding explains why we cannot state that these initiatives during the growth phase resemble a pure missionary organization. The missionary organization is in them but not in its pure form. WL/FF share some characteristics with a missionary organization but not all of them. These Wi-Fi communities can be best depicted as a combination between an adhocracy and a missionary organization. Mintzberg states that a missionary organization as an organizational ideology can be placed over a conventional organization (Mintzberg 2000:226). So, it is possible to have an adhocracy which also contains features of a missionary organization. If we look at WL/FF we find this situation indeed. During the establishment phase and growth phase WL/FF can be considered an adhocracy with missionary characteristics. Although bureaucratization is not (yet) the case in FF we have seen in WL that both the adhocracy and missionary characteristics fade away as the initiative grows and the organization continues to bureaucratize. Hence based on insights from the empirical evidence from the two case studies the former hypotheses 4 and 5 are slightly altered: 95

148 H4: The emergence of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling an adhocracy. H5: The continuation of Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling a missionary organization. These two hypotheses are combined in order to form a better representation of the real situation within WL/FF and assumable within other Wi-Fi communities as well. Hence the hypothesis will be: H5: The emergence and growth of a Wi-Fi community has its roots in the decentralized organizational structure resembling an adhocracy with missionary characteristics START LIKE AN ADHOCRACY WITH MISSIONARY CHARACTERISTICS Hence, the course of WL/FF can be divided into three phases. An establishing, growth and maturity phase merging gradually into each other. The success of these initiatives can be derived from the organizational structure and coordination mechanisms chosen for each of these phases. In the beginning, the initiative had much in common with an adhocracy. This configuration made it possible to bring creative people working together in an innovative environment. The leading mission was the creation of a city-wide wireless network for enduses and by end-users. Ultimately this mix of volunteers succeeded in their pioneering attempt. We saw that the first group of volunteers used mainly mutual adjustment as a coordination mechanism. Later, as the number of participants grew a different mechanism comes in place being the standardization of norms (mission was strong enough). This mechanism was that strong that it ensured that participants could work together during a long period of time in order to achieve the community goals. Underlying this was a mix of several different ways in which volunteers identified with the mission. These identification methods were strongly present and ranged between natural selection, proper selection, socialization and calculation. With these coordination mechanisms a management approach that can be characterized as decentralized comes along. The success of WL/FF in the establishing and growth phase can be traced back to this approach. Decision power was shared with all participants. There were two reasons for this approach. First it could not be otherwise because management /founders lacked the necessary technical expertise especially in the beginning to achieve the mission. On the other hand this attitude was also in line with the initiatives culture as it was propagated from the beginning and fits the missionary character of the organization. WL/FF had an open attitude to anyone who wanted to make a contribution in order to achieve the mission. This includes also the allocation of sufficient freedom to the volunteers. Hence it was left to the various participants to make the necessary decisions. These were in return very much committed to the organization and did their best to achieve the mission to the extent that differences in status and expertise did not lead to uncooperative behavior. 96

149 6.3.2 ON THE WAY TO A BUREAUCRACY Both WL and FF began as an adhocracy missionary with characteristics. However in WL things have been changing clearly away from this situation. With time passing WL shows fewer and fewer similarities with the starting situation. This is difficult because many rigid bureaucratic measures that have been taken do not fit the informality and flexibility that is present in an adhocracy and missionary organization. The same applies to the used coordination mechanisms. While at the start and growth phase mutual adjustment and standardization of norms were used, currently WL is moving towards a centralized form of coordination. Choosing more bureaucracy means the abandoning of the pioneering environment and a choice to exploit what has been achieved. We have been seeing this development clearly back in WL initiative. WL is now in a transition phase between adhocracy with missionary features on the one hand and a bureaucracy on the other hand. As we have seen some volunteers indicated that this development imposed a threat to the very identity of WL characterized by its nonprofitless. Despite this opposition the expectation is that WL will continue to bureaucracy and act as an innovation platform for external organizations which are more interested in the economic value of its network and less in its virtuosity and community values. The case in FF is different. Based on the FF case study we can maintain that FF is an adhocracy with missionary characteristics. It remains to be seen whether FF will follow WL down the path towards more bureaucracy. It is also possible that FF is different from WL and that it will choose isolation instead of joining mainstream organizations. The future will tell. CONCLUDING REMARKS Based on the previous some concluding remarks are presented below that make a connection to the research questions in this research. Figure 2 in chapter 1 illustrates the research design in this report and clarifies the relationship between the different research questions. This figure assumes that the individual goals (which follow from the incentives), the collective purpose, and the organizational structure change with time. If we look at the collective goal in a narrow sense then we could say that in both FF and in WL the collective goals are equal. We might even say that this is true by definition for all Wi-Fi communities. It is about achieving a free physical infrastructure based on Wi-Fi technology through bottom-up development by end-users. However when looking to the underlying thoughts behind the different communities things are different. Wi-Fi communities differ amongst each other on the leading functions that these networks should have according to their participants. When looking at one and the same community we can see a change over time in the interpretation of the collective goal. We have seen a slight shift in the elaboration of the community purpose in both WL and FF. In WL we saw that the collective goal shifted from the focus on the technical challenges of developing a functioning Wi-Fi network, to 97

150 facilitating an easy participation by residential users in the network and then to reaching out to mainstream organizations. In FF we also noticed in the first place the focus on developing a technically working network and then diverting attention to making things easier for ordinary user to participate. Next, the focus is shifted towards the exploitation of the intranet. WL Phase 1 Establishment Phase 2 Growth Phase 3 Towards Maturity Goal (focus) Re-engineering Wi-Fi technology for outdoor use Increase size and number of users of Wi-Fi network Relating Wi-Fi network to mainstream organizations FF Phase 1 Establishment Phase 2 Growth Phase 3 Towards Maturity Goal (focus) Re-engineering Wi-Fi technology for outdoor use Increase size and number of users of Wi-Fi network Exploiting the FF intranet FIGURE 14 : ELABORATION OF COMMUNITY GOAL OVER TIME IN WL AND FF If we look at why people join the initiatives over time we see a natural shift in the individual goals that has to do with the composition of the participants within the community. This was changing over time in both WL and FF. Hence, in the beginning especially the involvement of techies and idealists is clear. Later on new participants consisting primarily of residential users who perceive different goals (see Table 5) became very distinguishable within the community. So in that sense the leading individual goals in each different phase have been changing over time. As for the structure which is extensively discussed we can observe a clear change during the various stages the initiatives went through. 98

151 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION This thesis began with a search for what may explain the success of Wi-Fi communities. We see more and more communities emerging which are created by end-users. There is no government or company involved in setting up these networks. With little resources endusers manage to create something for which many IT companies need a lot of money and manpower. Some of these initiatives succeed and others do not. The question why some of these initiatives survive and others do not is therefore a logical question to ask. This very same question has triggered this study and has been central throughout this research. Now after a long search and many pages later the findings in this thesis may help us a little bit further in understanding successful communities. To obtain insights into successful communities one has to distinguish two aspects. Firstly, one has to understand the people that form these communities, and secondly the way these people interact with each other and organize things together, i.e. the underlying organization. If we look at the members of Wi-Fi communities we can ask ourselves what drives them to devote time and energy into Wi-Fi-networking into something that others would avoid. What do they want to achieve and what do they think to contribute to the creation of Wi-Fi communities. Moreover, it remains to be seen if their participation will go the way they hope it will. Establishing communication networks is a complex matter. Wi-Fi networks are no exception. The founders of these networks need to collaborate intensively with others. How does this partnership evolve and how does it contribute to an effective community. This research makes an attempt to provide answers to these questions. Although it is difficult to generalize, given the findings in this report which are based on two case studies, the following tentative conclusions regarding the potential success factors of Wi-Fi networks in general can be drawn. Further research should show whether this can be confirmed by other cases. 7.1 THE PEOPLE BEHIND A WI-FI COMMUNITY The creation of Wi-Fi communities needs leaders. There must be one or more persons who are willing to take the lead. As found in this research the lead users take this task upon them. They are driven by a strong need for communication which can be fulfilled by creating Wi-Fi community networks. Therefore they decide to engage in Wi-Fi community networking and establish a network. What characterizes these founders is a very strong commitment to achieving a goal that they define at the beginning. They obtain enough energy from this goal to continue their undertakings during difficult moments. And these moments occur very often in the beginning. They are people driven by a strong intrinsic motivation to set up a Wi-Fi network that meets their needs. They can have different underlying motives to do so. Some of them may focus on the opportunities offered by Wi-Fi technology. Others see a higher purpose for Wi-Fi networks, and are more driven by strong ideological reasons, such as free networking. Also very important for community success is that the lead users are capable of convincing others to join the initiative who have the 99

152 necessary knowledge and skills that founders themselves do not possess. These are often people, who similar to the lead users, are driven by technical or ideological motives. Important in the initial phase of the initiative is the involvement of the techies. These are generally very creative members who know a lot of Wi-Fi technology. Without their knowledge of technology (hardware, software), it is impossible to lay the foundation for a network. Furthermore the input of the idealists is very essential. They provide their contacts, organizational strength and long-term thinking to the initiative and keep it moving in the right direction. Ultimately, the resident users are of vital importance for the success of a Wi-Fi network. Because of their size, this user group is of great importance for the sustainable growth of a Wi-Fi initiative. Next to the techies the resident users can also assume part of the maintenance work to provide for a sustainable Wi-Fi network. One must therefore do everything to make the initiative as interesting and accessible to the ordinary user as possible. External funding can play an important role in the success of a Wi-Fi initiative. One has to consider whether this financial support outweighs the disadvantages. It may be that with external financing restrictions will be imposed on the conduct of members in a Wi-Fi community. Even associating a Wi-Fi initiative with commercial external parties can be enough reason for some (potential) members not to be (anymore) involved in the Wi-Fi initiative. Hence, what we see in Wi-Fi communities is a mix of individuals who each in their own way make a contribution in a collective setting and can provide for a strong push in the development of a successful community. At the same time conflicts in these kind of communities are very often present. Most of these conflicts are needed to take the community to a next level. Sometimes these conflicts run out of control and potentially create factions in a community. The challenge, especially for the idealists in the community, is to get the best out of these conflicts and maintain the cohesion. 7.2 WI-FI COMMUNITY AS AN ORGANIZATION OF PEOPLE The way these people work together is as important for success as the mix of people that is involved. For a successful Wi-Fi network one needs a strong decentralized organization. Members must feel free to follow their preferences and by doing so they can contribute to the greater whole. Apparently this is the way one gets commitment from the members. They appreciate the freedom of action they receive in such an environment and are willing to do something in return. Hence, there is a reciprocal relationship between their own goals and those of the community. Things can be coordinated among participants by mutual adjustment. In addition to this coordination mechanism articulating and promoting a strong and unambiguous mission is very important for the commitment of members. When this is done sufficiently, there is not much anymore between members that has to be settled and subsequently coordination will go easily. A strong mission determines which way to go. It is difficult to ensure that only those people that will naturally identify with the mission find their way into the community. More often, new members are in many cases guided by calculation. This is especially true for residential users who are mainly appealed by the possibility of free or cheap broadband Internet. Their involvement is very thin, making their departure from the initiative as easy as their coming. In the long term their departure may 100

153 leave behind a fragile initiative. Yet they are necessary for the growth of the initiative. The challenge is to find mechanisms to ensure that their involvement increases, such as offering unique services other than broadband Internet access. Wi-Fi initiatives that succeed in doing so indeed have a greater chance of long term success. Wi-Fi initiatives that fail to do so risk isolation or a merger with existing organizations. 101

154 CHAPTER 8 REFLECTION The search for success factors concerning Wi-Fi community initiatives was not an easy quest. Looking into the success factors is a complex task. Due to the complexity of the matter it is not straightforward to determine where the success of a Wi-Fi initiative is coming from exactly. One has to prevent that incorrect analysis is made and factors are wrongly seen as a success factor. Often it involves a combination of different factors that are affecting the initiative s success. In addition, the issues/factors/conditions that determine or influence success can be very large and diffuse. Hence, thinking of an adequate scope before looking into these communities is a challenging task. To illustrate this a list of possible issues that might play a role in the success of Wi-Fi communities is depicted in Appendix E. The difficulty lies also in finding success factors that go beyond a specific case study. Although a case study goes into details on the specific case the challenge is to combine different case studies and find success factors that are valid in many cases and may be generally true for all Wi-Fi community network. This task is even more difficult than the first one. In doing case study research one has to take these difficulties into account. Hence from the beginning a well-grounded theoretical framework is taken as a starting point. Based on this theoretical framework several hypotheses were derived to give the research the necessary direction. Developing the theoretical framework has definitely not been an easy job. For doing so various theories have been studied. Many of them proved to be inadequate to describe Wi- Fi communities. Theories with an economical angle like Transaction Cost Economics and the Theory of the Firm were not useful in describing how Wi-Fi communities function (see for more elaboration last paragraph). Especially, since it appeared that economic thinking is generally not present in Wi-Fi communities. These communities are led by noncommercialism and non-profit while economic theories assume a monetary way of thinking. Participants are engaged in Wi-Fi communities for many reasons not anticipated for by these theories. The next step was a step towards the search for theories that focus on the structure of organizations and the underlying mechanisms that keep these organizations functioning. The Mintzberg theory about the various organizational configurations proved very useful in describing Wi-Fi communities. Besides the above theories it was quite interesting to build on already existing research on Wi-Fi communities. Stefan Verhaegh who has made a comprehensive study of WL and has drawn some important conclusions. It was interesting to see whether the same conclusions 102

155 could be drawn for another case as well. Research into the new case shows again how difficult it is to find valid characteristics for Wi-Fi initiative that are applicable in general. It appears that there are similarities between the different cases, but also differences. It was quite challenging to comment on this research and make an attempt to take the findings found by Stefan Verhaegh a step further. Ultimately this comparison has resulted in table 5 that can be used in characterizing user role properties found in both communities and probably in other cases as well. This brings us to how students can use this research for doing additional research on the success factors of community Wi-Fi networks. How can students continue this research? Bachelor or Master students can use the theoretical foundations in chapter 2 to search for new cases and test these according to the prepared hypotheses. They do not need to go through the complexity of setting up a theoretical framework. Coming back to table 5. This table provides a fairly comprehensive mold to determine the type of users involved in a Wi- Fi community. On the basis of several attributes a further deepening of various roles can be made. Students may use this table for validating the identified roles. When they find user roles that do not fit in the defined ones they are invited to come up with new roles and characterize them by looking at incentives, goals, resources and rewards of these members. Also useful is figure 13 dealing with the organizational development of Wi-Fi communities from an adhocracy with missionary characteristics towards a bureaucracy. The question is whether this is true in other cases to be studied. This is a very interesting conceptual development that requires more research. The question is how students can tackle this research. It all starts with finding more support for the conclusion that Wi-Fi communities share characteristics with an adhocracy containing missionary characteristics. This means first of all a further consideration of the Mintzberg theory regarding the characteristics of the adhocracy and missionary organizations. Based on this it can be explored whether the same can be found in a different Wi-Fi community. It is also interesting to look at Wi-Fi networks that are more mature than the ones described in this research in order to see if it is true that communities that have existed for some time tend to bureaucratize. It is expected that they change into a traditional hierarchical organization or merge into an existing hierarchical organization. However, things might be quite different. TCE not suitable for describing Wi-Fi communities When starting this research an attempt is made to use the Transaction Costs Economics in order to understand the characteristics of Wi-Fi communities. However this theory proved not suitable to describe the way these communities function. First of all transactions costs economics explain the reason behind the existence of an organization, but does not describe the characteristics of organizations in itself. So in this sense this theory does not help to explain any possible organizational structure in Wi-Fi communities. The transaction cost theory goes very much into the transactions coordinated through markets. Looking at Wi-Fi communities one cannot disregard the fact that Wi-Fi communities are not driven by the profit motive and as such there is no market for Wi-Fi 103

156 communities. In fact, looking at the characteristics of this communities coordination goes very informal and is based on horizontal non-market coordination. In addition, the focus in transaction costs theory is on costs that come along with transactions in an atmosphere characterized by bounded rationality and opportunism. High transactions costs come from the combination of opportunism and small numbers. The idea is that some people will behave opportunistically sometimes. Since it is impossible to pinpoint who will behave opportunistically in advance one has to expect opportunistic behavior in every transaction. No attention is given at all to trust as a potential factor of importance. We have seen that trust is indeed playing an important role in the success of these communities. The TCE theory leaves no room for the inclusion of trust and norms when trying to understand Wi-Fi communities. 104

157 CHAPTER 9 FURTHER RESEARCH RECOMMENDATIONS In order to increase the validity of the findings two case studies has been performed. In qualitative research it is not about the quantity of things but more on the nature of things. However, the more case studies are being performed and the same research findings as in this thesis are found, the more justified are these findings. Students that are interested in this field of research could use the thesis findings and have a look at other Wi-Fi communities as well. CANDIDATE CASE STUDIES These following community initiatives share the characteristics of end-user voluntarism and non-commerciality and seem to be useful to be used as a case study in any further research: Funkfeuer Funkfeuer is an Austrian initiative to develop free wireless networks across many cities in Austria. The goal of these experimental networks is to bridge the digital divide between social layers and offer knowledge on how to do this (Funkfeuer 2010). Started in 2003 the initiative has grown to provide community networks in five different cities across Austria. The present number of active nodes is 300 and still growing. AWMN The Athens Wireless Metropolitan network has been founded in the 2002 and is using wireless technology to connect people and services with each other (AWMN 2010). At the moment the community network has 1080 active nodes and over 2900 members. Growth is still present and the expectations are that 9000 more users will join the network in the near future. Especially parts in Greece that have traditionally no or limited access to broadband infrastructure like the many islands are targeted. The ambitions are huge and the vision is to connect all the wireless community networks in Europe and form one network. A first step in this direction is the initiation of a wireless network in Ljubliana, Slovenia. Guifi net Guifi net is a Spain based joint initiative of individuals, educational institutions, government offices and enterprises started in 2004 in order to create a free and wireless network (Guifi 2010). At the moment the Guifi net has grown to a cluster of multi networks totaling approximately working network nodes across and beyond Spain and provides broadband internet access to more than 5000 homes (OpenLivingLabs 2008). A total of more than 4000 new network nodes are planned making it a fast growing community initiative. The idea behind these networks is to promote the information exchange and offer equal opportunities to anyone. 105

158 Although the findings in these thesis provide a useful contribution to understanding Wi-Fi communities further research is needed into these initiatives. In the following sections some interesting issues and viewpoints are presented which due to limited time and resources felt out of the scope of this research. In further research one could have a look at them. INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENT The institutional environment can be of great significance for Wi-Fi community success. Success originates not only from the inputs of individual participants and their interplay at an organizational level, but is can also be determined very much by the institutional environment. For instance, for the emergence of Wi-Fi networking the supporting legal context is important. Rules and regulations concerning the use of spectrum for Wi-Fi means is a precondition for Wi-Fi deployment. Success originating from the individual level and organization level have been studied at length in this thesis. Further research can focus on the role the institutional environment has in the way these communities function. An important issue in the Wi-Fi community success is the attitude and reactions of ISPs towards the sharing of bandwidth by end-users with strangers and in so doing form complementary (or competitive) networks. Most ISPs according to their contract terms do not allow the sharing of broadband capacity with third parties (Tobias, Shaohui et al. 2007; Biczok, LasloToka et al. 2009). Even if these ISPs do not take Wi-Fi communities serious still national computer laws and governance policy in many countries have to be kept in mind. The legality of Wi-Fi sharing is not settled yet in jurisdictions. The existing laws are not clear about sharing your personal Wi-Fi and the degree of responsibility for data send on 106

159 this wireless connection. As a result volunteers may be more reluctant to participate in a Wi-Fi community initiative due the fear for being held liable for any abuse or misuse of such local networks. In FF for instance it was stated by different members that sharing content on the intranet was increasingly risky. The founder of Freifunk Berlin states that: Another counteracting situation is the legal situation in Germany. Because since 2 years people are made responsible if they share their internet line with somebody else who is downloading music files or sharing digital content illegally, so violating property rights. This is a very bad legal situation which is really counteracting people to share their DSL line and contribute to the FF infrastructure. That is something we are actively fighting against on the political level. INVERSE INFRASTRUCTURES On can have a different perspectives on how Wi-Fi communities are organized. This sections pays attention to some useful contributions in literature that attempt to characterize Wi-Fi communities. Egyedi, Mehos et al. (2009) relate Wi-Fi communities to the concept of inverse infrastructures. One can use this framing in any further research on Wi-Fi communities. Inverse infrastructures are organized and developed differently than the traditional large scale infrastructures which are governed top down and follow a tight scheme of phasing beginning with initiating, designing, building and then operating them. Each phase clearly having an outcome. In contrast inverse infrastructures are (Egyedi, Mehos et al. 2009:3): [ ] typically user driven, self-organized, bottom-up developments with decentralized control, and based on bottom up investments by many. Although inverse initiatives are not without aim or direction, given their developmental characteristics, their outcome is less predictable that that of designed infrastructures. In addition they are characterized by (Egyedi, Mehos et al. 2009:3): [ ] a relative low threshold-financial, knowledge an technical- for developing a new infrastructure. In these type of infrastructures the tasks and responsibilities of each participant are not clear from the beginning. Infrastructure development is not pre-defined and as comes merely from the emergent interaction between network participants who organize themselves in some way. This self-organizing behavior is believed to stand at the core of the inverse infrastructure development in the longer run. INVERSE INFRASTRUCTURES AND COORDINATION WI-FI COMMUNITY NETWORKS The concept of self-organization in inverse infrastructures needs more clarification. (Egyedi, Mehos et al. 2009) has done research on self-organizing systems like Wi-Fi communities by 107

160 focusing on coordination issues and their role in the start and the emergence of these systems. This article is useful because it connects the emergence of self-organizing systems and their success in the longer run to coordinative action. The authors identified the following coordination mechanisms based on standardization literature, studies of OSS (open source software) communities and theories of self-organizing systems. The idea is that these coordination mechanisms can be found in Wi-Fi communities as well. Further research should clarify whether this is the case. Trigger for coordinative action Committee coordination This type of coordination occurs when committee members decide to use certain standards. Consensus between these committee members is the leading driver for the outcome of certain standards and agreements. Market coordination In contrast coordination by the market is more unpredictable due to the existence of complex underlying mechanisms such as bandwagon effect, network externalities and economies of scale. In markets the bandwagon effect occurs when (important) market players accept a certain standard. Others market players are then tempted to follow these first movers hoping that others will follow soon and that the chosen standard will in the end be the predominant standard. Network externalities relate to the value of the network. Network value increases with increasing numbers of network users. In addition, an increasing number of users leads in general to decreasing costs per user too and hence economies of scale. The idea is that these concepts due to their positive effects trigger coordinative action in self-organizing systems like Wi-Fi communities. Coordinative action in practice Operational coordination This category of coordination deals with how coordination takes in the emergence of selforganizing systems. What tools do users use during interaction to focus and structure their activities in the longer run. From (Egyedi, Mehos et al. 2009:5) we know that developers in OSS communities user tools like to do lists (ideas that are parked there to be taken by others), orphanages (for OSS project from which the project leader or maintainer withdraws and which is open for adoption), concurrent versioning systems (enables software developers to work on the same version simultaneously) and many more tools. Regulatory coordination When participation in self-organizing systems goes along with certain formal rules one can speak of regulatory coordination. This category of regulation exists when participants for example need commit themselves to participation agreements, have to sign contracts or use certain intellectual property right licenses. 108

161 Coordination by authority Not all community members are equal in the contribution to self-organizing systems. Some community members will have more authority based on their knowledge and/or experience. They can use their position to coordinate in a more top down manner. The next table gives a summary based on the previous literature review of the different coordination mechanisms that occur in self-organizing systems like Wi-Fi communities and play an important role in the their development. Interesting is to determine whether the coordination mechanisms as described by (Egyedi, Mehos et al. 2009) can be found in Wi-Fi communities. Wi-Fi community Phase Initiating phase Coordination mechanism Common standards Common purpose Growth and stabilizing phase Bandwagon effect, Network externalities Economies of Scale Operational coordination Regulatory coordination Coordination by authority 109

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165 The role of users in innovation processes has gained increasing attention in innovation studies, technology studies, and media studies. Scholars have identified users and use practices as a source of innovation. So far, however, little insight has been generated in innovation processes in which communities of users are the driving force in all phases of the innovation process. This article explores the conceptual vocabularies of innovation studies and actor-- network theory and discusses their adequacy for describing and understanding the dynamics of userinitiated innovation processes in which community and innovation are closely intertwined. The authors introduce the concept of community innovation and argue for its relevance for understanding the full dynamics of innovations initiated and shaped by user collectives. The article elaborates a qualitative case study of Wireless Leiden, a local wireless network infrastructure in the Dutch town of Leiden initiated, designed, and maintained by a local community of users / Verhaegh, S., Ed. (2010). How community innovation works: a material-semiotic analysis of the wireless leiden wi-fi network. Amsterdam, Universiteit Twente. Von Hippel, E. (2005). Democratizing innovation. Londen, MIT Press. Wong, M. (2007). Wireless Broadband from Backhaul to Community Service: Cooperative Provision and Related Models of Local Signal Access. Faculty of Information Studies Toronto, University of Toronto: 30. Wu, M.-Y. (2004). Wi-Fi Community Area Networks Enable A Connected Community. IEEE 6th CAS Symp. on Emerging Technologies: Mobile and Wireless Commm. Yin, R. (2002). Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Third Edition, Applied Social Research Methods Series, Vol 5, Sage Publications, Inc. 113

166 ADDITIONAL REFERENCES Carroll, J. M. and M. B. Rosson (1998). Network communities, community networks. CHI 98 conference summary on Human factors in computing systems. Los Angeles, California, United States, ACM: Coase, R. H. (1988). The firm, the market and the law. Chigaco, The university of Chicago. Dahlman, C. J. (1979). "The Problem of Externality." The Journal of Law and Economics 22: 148. Douma, S. and H. Schreuder (2002). Economic Approaches to Organizations. Essex, Prentice Hall. Gergely, B., L, et al. (2009). On incentives in global wireless communities. Proceedings of the 1st ACM workshop on User-provided networking: challenges and opportunities. Rome, Italy, ACM. Kramer, R. D. J., A. Lopez, et al. (2006). Municipal broadband access networks in the Netherlands - three successful cases, and how New Europe may benefit. Proceedings of the 1st international conference on Access networks. Athens, Greece, ACM. Maria, B. and M. G. George (2006). Unwired Collective Action: Motivations of Wireless Community Participants. Proceedings of the International Conference on Mobile Business, IEEE Computer Society. McCullagh, D. (2005, July 8, 2005 ). "FAQ: Wi-Fi mooching and the law." CNET news. from Neufville, R. d. (2002). "Thesis definition and preparation: Some general guidelines." Terry, S. and T. Anthony (2003). "Why Wi-Fi wants to be free." Commun. ACM 46(5): Wireless community initiatives in the Netherlands: tywirelessnetworks/15 114

167 APPENDIX A INTERVIEW WITH JÜRGEN NEUMAN Q1: I would like to distinguish three parts in this interview. The first part is about the incentives of Berlin FF. There is one important thing that I haven t mentioned yet. There are two levels for answering the questions. Firstly, I would like you to answer the questions on a personal level and secondly on behalf of the whole FF group. I will ask you both type of questions. But the difference is important for the research. It may be difficult to answer the questions on behalf of the whole group but if you could try I would appreciate that. First of all what is your connection with FF at the moment? I m still a member of the community and do various activities. I hang around. Q2: If we go to the early start of FF. I know you were the founder of the FF. Could you tell me more about this early phase? How did you get involved in this community? I can tell you how we invented FF. There are different strings that led to the development of FF. My personal string was that I moved to East Berlin from West Berlin shortly after the reunion of East and West Germany. I moved into this house and as in many parts of East Germany there was no broadband access to the internet because the German Telecom removed copper lines from the ground and put fiber into the ground which was called OPAL, but the problem was they wouldn t delivered it to private households. In the meantime DSL technology was invented and rolled out but the telecom realized that over there fiber infrastructure they couldn t run this product. So as a result wide parts of East Berlin and East Germany hadn t access to broadband at all. My personal story is that by the time I moved here I was at that time working as an IT-consultant I didn t have broadband access to the internet. The only opportunity for me to get online was to get a 56 Kbits/s ISDN phone line which I had to share with all the 35 inhabitants of the house. So I was really seeking for any opportunity or way to get faster internet access. This was around 2002 I think. At that time Wi-Fi products became cheaper already. In Berlin there were these smaller groups who were already experimenting with Wi-Fi networks. There was a local initiative which has been trying to establish the first Wi-Fi group here. As I did some research on the internet I found out that smaller groups all over Germany and also of course internationally were doing the same. Especially Consume.net in London, SeatleWireless and some other groups in the US. And then around the same time there was this event which was organized by a group which was called BootLab. They are located here in Berlin. They invited some Wi-Fi activists from London to come to the BootLab. I went there and It was the first time that I met other people from Berlin who had the same problems and also who had the same ideas. It was also the first time I met with similar people from abroad. From London especially. I met Julian Priest and other pioneers of the European Wi-Fi community movement. I went to more events and 115

168 dropped into a discussion about the pico-peering agreement (PPA) or the idea of how you could standardize or describe a community Wi-Fi network. It was the first discussion about the PPA. Q3: That is some paper that members have to sign when they join the community? No, they don t have to sign it. It is more like a description. Well actually at that time it was not defined yet. I just went to this event here in Berlin and I dropped into this discussion. I understood that it was not just my personal issue to build a wireless link to my house but that it was really a political issue. I understood that access to broadband is a real issue about the digital divide and that the Wi-Fi technology being very usable to people was key to maybe solve some of these problems. And this turned me into a person who became interested in net-politics. Before that I was just a technician looking for a way to solve my own problem but from that day on I understood it was a major issue. The first idea was just to copy the ideas from Consume.net and make it a German branch like Consume.de or something similar. At that time you had the dotcom crisis. Many people in the IT field were unemployed and had lots of spare time. I was part a group of people who all were professional designers or net- developers or other IT-consultants. I came back from this event and talked to these people and said to them we need to think about how we can turn this topic into something bigger. The other outcome of the meeting was that the local people who had the same problem like me were also meeting each other for the first time at the conference in this Bootlab. We got to know each other and we said that we would continue meeting at the C-base which is also a very important local hub. And so this local approach grew into WaveLötung which is a combination of two terms. Wave like in the English and Lötung meaning soldering in German. So it was called wave soldering, because at that time many were building their own antenna and there were a lot of practical workshops how you could build your own antennas and so on. And so I had my feet both in the local initiative and also I was part of this group we called mind work which just was a loose community which got unemployed in the dotcom crises. We started to think about how we could help to raise this topic in the German speaking community. We did a lot of research on the internet. We found some other local initiatives in other German cities and also in Austria and Switzerland. So we gathered all the information and started to translate many things from English because the English communities and US were a bit ahead of everyone. So we translated some of this articles and started a website. We were thinking of for a meaningful name for the website. After one night by chance one of my colleagues came up with Freifunk. We were thinking about publy net and other kinds of funny names, but then we realized that the Freifunk domain was not registered and was the perfect name for what we wanted to do. The idea of FF from the very beginning was to form a meta community of all the existing German speaking Wi-Fi communities. A place for exchange and information collection. Our input was to shift it a little bit from the very technical side to a more 116

169 understandable one and more to the public so to speak. We were quite aware that we wouldn t stay unemployed for a very long time. So we were also thinking of how we could get rid of our engagement as quickly as possible. So it was very important to structure the whole thing we were doing and make it a community approach. An approach in which we invented something which we now can call a community franchise model. Because we gave it a label, we gave it a design, we wrote presentations, we developed teaching materials and it was for free and everybody could use it. New communities could call themselves FF without many conditions. We just gave it a brand. Some conditions for the idea of community franchise model were like it should be a non-commercial project having a local approach. Q4: What is the role of a broadband connection exactly. For you personally it started with the need for broadband but then it turned to something much more bigger and idealistic. But how about the others. Some of them had already internet connection. Were they mainly driven by things like digital divide and free information or was it focused only on having a broadband connection? Broadband was the main driver. At that time there were only very few locations in Germany that offered broadband access to the internet. There was this situation in East Berlin and East Germany in general which hadn t broadband access. There were also some parts in the West where you also couldn t access broadband. Even if you had access it was quite expensive. So the main motivation for the people to get engaged definitely was to get cheap broadband access to the internet. Q5: So you had the first group of participants as you describe who were driven by the idea of cheap broadband connections. Then the initiative started to grow. How did the others who came afterwards become involved? How did they hear about FF? Was that because of you? Did you do a lot of promotion to sell the brand and was it difficult to do so? Yes and no. I mean I got addresses from these people we met on the conference here in Germany and we stayed in touch. They organized another meeting in Copenhagen because some of them were also located in Denmark. And so a few weeks later me and my friend from this Mindwork think-tank went to Denmark to meet again. We told them that we had invented the name Freifunk. They really thought this was a great name and we continued to work on the Pico Peering agreement and have discussions about it. Then the next meeting we organized was a meeting in Berlin. That was the first FF summer convention in And it was in the C-base. That was really the first time we invited all the German communities that we could find on the internet and also international communities in Europe. We just invited them for a greater gathering of all Wi-Fi activists in Europe and Germany. Then it happened and we got media coverage. The German media and local TV came and also newspapers were 117

170 writing about us. We had a 5 min documentary on the summer convention in Berlin people were quite happy to see. At the very beginning the local Berlin community was a bit skeptical about why there was a need for another brand. We had already the local community called WaveLötung. So there was a bit of a competitive attitude towards this new project. I was very strong in my opinion saying it was important and necessary that we gain our forces. Because we could already see at that time the local small initiatives that started with a website failed just a few months later because they hadn t the critical mass of people to stay active. So we organized the first summer convention and it was a great success. We had the website online, we a bunch of international and national who were coming. Q6: What kind of people were visiting this convention? Wi-Fi activists or people who were just interested. But mainly people who were doing the same thing. Like starting a local community or running a local community. Very impressive was that the people from Djursland came there. Two tall and shy men - Danish farmer style - came to Berlin and expected that we in the big city had much bigger networks and stuff like that. The second day they presented what they were doing on the small peninsula in Denmark. And everybody was really impressed by the work they had been doing. It was really like the biggest Wi-Fi network we had ever seen. During the Berlin summer convention we decided that we would hold the next one in rural Denmark. Because we said we had to go there and have a look and pinpoint everybody on this great effort they were taking. Q7: Could I say that there the people involved in the very beginning were people who were in somehow technical experts and that the non-technical people were not involved at all? Yes, definitively. It was impossible by that time to use the technology if you weren t really into technology. It were people who were more or less from the hacker movement. Q8: Did you also have paid volunteers in the beginning? No never. We had a long discussion in my group MindWork amongst the IT professionals without profession at that time. We had a long discussion to decide whether it was business or not. But after some discussion we were very clear about running this completely as a non-commercial project without exception. Until today I have never made any money from any activity. There have been some donations, but I never took the money into my pocket because that is really like poison to a community. Because then people are wondering why you get the money and they don t. I mean the amount of money isn t really worthwhile having this problem. If you get a 100 euro for an interview or something it is really not worthwhile to take that into your pocket, because it destroys more than it will help. 118

171 Q9: Did you have a clear and explicit mission in the beginning. So for example written down into some paper and distributed among the members? Yes. I still have a copy of the program we had for the first summer convention we organized. We said that FF wanted to be an initiative that supported the local Wi-Fi communities with presentation materials, documentary not only on the technical side but also on the marketing side. We all were communication experts. We designed FF as a communication platform. Q10: Have you made any adjustments to this mission afterwards, so during this whole project? All the key aspects are the same. It has changed in the sense that it has become much more broader. Many people have been getting engaged. So this to some extent led to more complexity. The first website we did was very clear. It was like an newspaper with a very clear design. The few information that we were offering was easy to find. And today we have also decentralized the website. There are a lot of websites around FF. We have the wiki and many others things. And sometimes for people to find certain information has become harder today. But I think also that if we are not a hierarchical organization to me it is important to have more people engaged in the process of putting more information on the web. Q11: So the identity of FF has not changed at all? The only thing in the very beginning was it wasn t really accepted. Q12: Why was that? Because the people couldn t see the reason to have a sort of meta community. People were skeptical about the need of another community when they had their own local community already. The design was really a bit strange to the technical people. Because it was really pink and yellow and looked like a Japanese manga design. It was designed by a stylish woman. The whole techy community consisted of men. But we sticked to it and it completely flipped to a success at some point. Suddenly the design was accepted and the whole idea was understood. That was mainly during the first summer convention we organized shortly after we started. Q13: The didn t accept it because they had a different vision maybe? They didn t accept it because they said why should we do it. Why should we have another group. 119

172 Q14: So people were working together to achieve this mission. But how about individual goals. Was there any room for people to follow their individual goals? Yes, definitely. It would not work at all if it wasn t the case. Every individual engaged in the FF community is a complete volunteer. There is no money or other traditional sort of incentive playing a role. The most important thing is that people are doing what they want to do. And of course individual goals are individual goals. Maybe one person wants to have access to the internet and is engaged very temporarily. The engagement would start with coming to local meetings and seeking help and information how to set up a link to get access to the internet. Once they manage to have internet at home they disappear. And then other people are very interested in technical issues like developing routing protocols. Here in Berlin we have a very strong tech community who is very interested in hacking and writing software or optimizing routers and even designing hardware. In addition there are other technical people at the same time. People like me. Even though I m an IT-expert my main focus is on the network infrastructure. And concerning FF I m much more interested in the political side and the impact of the wireless technology in general for societies. Q15: So you are saying that each community member has his own role and at the same time contributing to the main mission. Haven t you encountered any problems in doing so? Certain members that wanted to do things that were contrary to the main mission. Yes. There is lots of trouble. Especially if you think of those people that are playing a key role like the alpha men. There happens a lot of trouble about why we don t do this and why we don t do that. You should do it this way or that way. That is of course part of every community approach. If you don t have a clear hierarchical system then of course everybody have their own ideas and of course there are conflicts about how do it. That s how it is, but that s also how we, the group who started FF wanted it to be. We didn t want to have a legal organization with a structure. Q16: So at one time there was a group of people with a clear vision wanting to develop a Wi-Fi network? No, to develop a meta community. Because the idea of developing Wi-Fi networks was always a local initiative. Q17: You tried to bring these local initiatives together? Yes. To link them together under the umbrella of the brand of FF. We wanted to join forces. That was the main idea. We could clearly see at that time already that the local communities were very small groups which started maybe very enthusiastically with vision of building their own networks using Wi-Fi technology. But then they didn t have 120

173 the energy to maintain it technically, run a website, do the social networking, publish materials and the things that need to be done to have a wider community. So we mainly wanted to support local initiatives by linking them together with other initiatives. Q18: How did you tried to achieve this. I mean how did you divide for example the tasks that had to be performed to join the forces? We didn t give it a structure. That was something that was already happening. We didn t have any power to enforce it. People did what they wanted to do. They focused on things they were interested in. Like some people were interested in building antennas and optimizing them. Others were interested in helping with software development. Other people were doing marketing. Other people were interested in designing stickers. So everybody did what they wanted to do. Q19: How did you coordinate the whole process of joining forces? If you say everyone does what he wants to do and likes to do maybe then you get a situation that you cannot go further. Some work that is not done or done in a wrong way. Yes. But that is something you have to live with. Q20: How do you solve it? Either there are people who do it or not. Luckily Berlin is a place that has a huge potential of activists and very skilled people in many fields. The time was right, the economy was down. People had a lot of spare time and we managed to find enough people to do the key things that had to be done. Q21: Was it difficult to find people? Were you searching for people? Yes or they just appeared. Our public relations was really good. We were on TV and radio. We were mentioned in many articles in newspapers. So more and more people joined in and they brought their own skills. One of the key players was a guy called Sven Uhler. He developed the first FF firmware based on the OWRT and that was very interesting for me. We had a regular meeting every Wednesday. An one day I was in the c-base and I saw a guy who was working on something and it looked like our website. I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he had written firmware for the OWRT router. He adapted the FF brand which we used for the website for this firmware. With the firmware with had a very powerful next step which was very important for the further approach of FF. Q22: So if something has to be done and nobody volunteers to do this job the consequence is that the job remains to be done? 121

174 Yes. Q23: If we take a step before real jobs have to be done people have to come up with new ideas about what to do. So I m referring to the phase before a person decides to take the task upon him. How do volunteers know what to do if they want to help? We had regular meetings and we were discussing on various levels what had to be done. It differed between the more strategic decisions and practical issues like what to do to fix somebody s problem. Q24: How big was this group of people? It grew to a very big group in a short time. Q25: It seems to me that it is difficult to decide on things in such a big group without some sort of coordination? How did you coordinate the whole process? There was some form of coordination by discussing things. We came up with this idea of organizing the Berlin summer convention. And of course people who made the suggestion helped to organize it. Once we started organizing it other people volunteered to help organize it. So that is how it works. You make suggestions and when people thing that is a reasonable idea then they join you and support you. If they don t think it is a reasonable idea they just won t do it. Q26: There is a community in the Netherland called Wireless Leiden. They had different user groups each being part of the initiative at different moments. You had in the first place similar to FF Berlin the techy people, but after some time other types of users became involved. They were not driven by the technology itself but by other reasons. Could you say that in FF different groups were manifesting themselves as time passed by and the initiative grew into a more mature state? I would say there were 3 main people engaged. These were people who just wanted to have access to the internet which we could say are mainly users. We had people who were very skilled and were interested in the technical development which I would say are developers. And we had people who were very interested in communications and public relation stuffs which I would say are the communicators/social networkers. Q27: If we focus on the first group. Could I say this groups consists of only opportunistic end-users who only want to be part of FF because they could have an internet connection? 122

175 Yes, but they had to do something for it. We made a very important decision that we wouldn t deliver internet for the end-user. And in combination with the meshing technology we decided to run only peer to peer networks which would not offer internet access by each just running an access point and running http service on it or that you could become an end-user. But you had to buy a router yourself and set up a node yourself. Every person that wanted to join the FF network had to become an active member in the sense of running another mesh node. For the meshing technology and the whole peer to peer approach was really key to activate the so-called end-user to be part of the network and to become a maintainer of their mesh node within the network. So there was a very important convergence between the meshing technology and the peer to peer approach and the growth of the network as such, because if we had offered internet access to passive end-users you could get lots of people doing nothing. We decided not to go this way which was good and bad. It was bad because we had to disappoint many people who just wanted to use the network. So they didn t even get access to the network. But on the other hand it was a very good decision because everybody who really wanted access to the network had to be an active member of the community and run their own router which resulted in the growth and success of the network. Q28: Could you tell me more about the social networkers? What drives them to be part of the network? To make it more successful. To be part of a successful community. Q29: I trying to found out whether there is a difference in the motivation between the different groups. We have seen the people who wanted to have access to the internet had to be also active members. But nevertheless the first thing that triggered them was internet access. So there is a difference in focus between the different groups. I m trying to find out what the main focus is of the last group, the communicators. Could you tell me more about that? Well I mean it was very exciting to get to know people from all around the world. The term community was alluring. It was in the very beginning of the internet community. We are talking about the early 2002/2003. And there weren t any social networks like today and the whole idea of forming an international community and to be in touch in with people in other countries, to have exchange over the internet, to work on a website was a very exciting thing. Q30: Can I say this group of people are idealists? Yes. 123

176 Q31: Coming back to how things were organized. How are community members related to each other? Were all community members equal for instance? All members were equal. But there was no voting or any democratic way of deciding. It was either you do it or not. Q32: How about things that are done by group members which are opposed by others. Practically it is a conflict then. How to you deal with that? Yes, sometimes we had these conflicts, but it was a very rare conflict. Because if somebody does it a way you oppose the only way is to discuss it and come to a certain agreement that it should be done the other way. If this doesn t work you just forge it and do it the other way. So either you have consensus and you to do it in a joined way or you do it in two ways. Q33: If people try to join forces but they don t succeed and follow different paths of doing things. Doesn t this create a division into the community if two ways are being followed? It could result into a division but it can also result in positive competition. You have competitive systems in which the best idea or the best solution may be adopted by the majority. If somebody thought it this way and you don t agree that is the best way to do it you talk to each other. You may find a conclusion or not. If you still think your way is the better way you have to show it the others by doing it. Then other people might agree with your way and you will get more support and momentum for you approach. Pretty much like in the free software development. The only thing that counts really is who delivers the best solution. Q34: So people follow good ideas not by voting but by a natural process. Yes. We had a lot of discussion about these methodologies. Because of course some people wanted it to become an official entity, a legal club. There were always discussion about whether we should have a more democratic sort of hierarchical system. But the core of the FF community was always defending this kind of nonstructured or self-structuring system against a more hierarchical system. We think that the quality of the idea or the perception of the quality of the idea is a very important thing. Q35: So then you didn t have any officials roles like someone who is managing the whole process? Of course you have me for example or people who were really active on a certain topic they gain some expertise. They get within the community some support from other 124

177 people. And of course there is some informal hierarchy which developed over time. But it wasn t by election or by a democratic process. Q36: We have said that conflicts are inevitable within this kind communities. Of course there are different kinds of conflicts. Could you mention one or two big conflicts within the community? Conflicts which had a key influence on to the development of FF and created maybe a lot of tension within the community. There were personal conflicts among members. My general approach is more in pointing out the success and be quite optimistic in what I m saying. But for a long time we had big issues and troubles with the technical side of the system. And so there was criticism saying If I say we have a working system but in fact it worked only to some extent because there still were some problems. Then of course the other community members were saying how can you say that because you know we have this and that problem and you don t speak about those problems. So it s similar to saying whether the glass is half full or half empty. There were also some heavy discussions between some developers because they were quarreling about the code they were writing or the question what to do we really need to do next. People disagree about that and sometimes you have really conflicts. So what you also need in these communities are also social engineers which are a very important part of a working community. People who are trying to make people speak to each other again or solve conflicts. That is another very important part of the community. That you have people who find the consensus or are like diplomats between people. Because that is a very important task. Q37: If we relate this the very first beginning of FF. I forget to ask about the complexity of the environment when FF started. The equipment was cheap and you saw a possibility to join the different local communities. Have you been doing a lot of technical work when FF started or had the different communities already done a lot of technical work and needed only to be joined. So the work was in the end more social work instead of the technical work? No. The technical work was really one very important theme. Besides the marketing work and developing all the materials, explanations and translations the most important thing for Berlin I think was the technical development. The technical development on the driver to improve co-work in Wi-Fi technology. The technical work on developing the routing protocol: OLSR and later on Batman. FF activists played a key role in this developments. Also the development of FF firmware with a graphical user interface. I mean when we started we knew that peer to peer mode or ad-hoc mode was implemented in the IEEE protocol. But it didn t work. The first thing we found out was that the ad-hoc mode in most of the Wi-Fi equipment and firmware drivers didn t work. When we started to play with the first meshing protocols the first one we used was I don t remember the name of the first protocol. We used our laptops 125

178 and made a chain of 15 people and wanted to ping one to the other using the ad-hoc mode. And the first thing we found out was that the equipment wasn t working. So the equipment from the manufactures didn t work in the ad-hoc mode. The next thing was that there were some people who had been developing their own Wi-Fi driver for the Linux system (mad-wi-fi). Q38: How did the local communities cope with those problems? They didn t use the ad-hoc mode. Instead they used the infrastructure based mode. But that was very costly. I mean in a city where you want to peer with many people a client server set up would always mean that you had to use twice as many access points because you needed a client and an access point, a client and access point and so on. And it was very difficult to expand this infrastructure in terms of a peer to peer network. Every singly link had to be constructed whereas in peer to peer meshing infrastructure somebody can join just by putting one access point which is in reach of the other access point. So I think for FF the technical idea of a mesh network and the social idea of a community peer-to-peer network were the two equivalent in the social idea of the network in combination with the technical solution of a mesh network in ad-hoc mode. Q39: I have some question about how FF is now and how its future will be? Is FF growing at the moment? No. Q40: How many volunteers are part of FF at the moment? We don t know. The question if FF is growing can be answered in two ways. In Berlin at the moment it is not growing anymore. The FF community as a German wide movement is still growing in other cities and villages and especially the rural area are adopting FF. So it growing in the sense that within Germany there are still new communities, new people who set up local FF infrastructure and communities. And this is still growing. In the last 2 or 3 years in Berlin there is a stagnation and maybe a decreasing development. Also because the possibilities of the intranet are ignored. The main focus for people to join FF in the beginning was to get access to the internet. But one idea we were always talking about and one of the important things we build is the local intranet. Our own network infrastructure were we can have our own content and free data exchange. But until today there is no service or application which has been the killer app why people would want to have a local community intranet. But I think there is still potential for this because the technical infrastructure is working quite well. The wireless hardware is very stable, the meshing protocols are quite good now. They are performing well. The CPU power of the access points is good. Most of the 126

179 technical problems are solved. For now I hope that there is a next generation of people who are interested in FF and put energy in establishing the intranet and use this infrastructure for their own ideas within the local infrastructure. Q41: Why aren t there any local services to utilize the intranet at the moment? One of the first visions we had when we were thinking about community Wi-Fi networks was that we could do zero costs telephony within the cities. But because in the city of Berlin we do have cheap GSM, UMTS and land line telephone is not really a killer app anymore that people are looking for. The costs savings by don t having a GSM phone is not that high for people here. This is true for all welfare states like Germany. Maybe you have heard of our village project. It is a free Wi-Fi telephone system based on mesh Wi-Fi. One of the key developers of this system is Electra from Berlin. She is from the local FF community. So this vision has become true because it is open to our hardware router. In combination with a PDX telephone system you can set up telephony in a community. But this project was taking place in Africa were you had a GSM network but very expensive for the people to use. The idea we had 10 years ago here in Berlin to run a telephone system on top of a Wi-Fi mesh network has become reality by technicians from Berlin. But it is successful in Africa. And that is a lot of what people are doing today. There are many villages in Germany that until today don t have access to the internet. We had a presentation in the c-base from people who lived in a very small village with less than 100 households. They have connected most part of the village via the Wi-Fi infrastructure to the internet. And they say you guys in the city are doing the technical development and we in the rural areas are implementing it. Also the social structure of implementing it in the rural areas is different. They are not a loose community but rather a structured group maybe a cooperative or legal club. In general they have only 2 or 3 techy people who are doing the installations and that should of course serve the local community users much more in the sense of professional service than here where it is just a game or a play for many people. In some parts of Berlin gaming has been an application that people use the community infrastructure for. Q42: Is FF mainly used for internet access or only to communicate with each other? From day to day it is used mainly for internet access. Q43: What we see is that the internet prices are falling and the coverage is increasing. I can imagine that this has its implications on FF. If FF is used mainly for internet access then people might leave. How to deal with that? 127

180 The reason why it is decreased recently is indeed because internet prices became lower and coverage better. And of course the land lines at home have now a much better quality of service then a shared Wi-Fi mesh infrastructure. So if you can afford a cheaper internet access which has a better performance and better quality of service then of course you decide to have you own DSL connection. That is something we have been seeing here Berlin. So there is a new challenge now. Everyone has a mobile device today. And it is very convenient to have internet access in the public space. 3G and 4G internet is still quite expensive and slower than Wi-Fi. So I see a new opportunity for FF to gain more attraction again. What we see in other countries in Eastern European countries like for instance the city of Ljubljana where everybody has fiber to the home and 20 or 50 Mbits/s coverage they start local Wi-Fi communities again because they want to get the same data speeds into the streets. That would mean a change in our model. Then we would really have to serve the public with HTTP service who are just consuming the network. But our mission will stay the same. The goal would just shift from your home to the street. Let s have internet on the street and have our own local infrastructure in the public space; a mobile community network. Q44: So you are saying that the traditional FF model will always come to end, especially in the European cities where you have broadband internet and internet prices are falling? Yes, but If we manage to link to other social movements or ideas... I mean in the city you have things like city gardening which is a great movement for do it yourself and if FF can hook up to these movements now that we have a working technology it can become a fashion to run your own network in the same way. So I really see a next level for FF but nobody knows if it is going to happen or not. Let s see it. Technology wise most things are solved now. Something we didn t talk about is that the FF firmware was translated into six languages and that the outreach of our activities here was really on a global scale. I think that is for many people also a motivation to be a member of the FF community. Because it is a successful community and people can put their own branding on the firmware. In Brazil there is a local community which is using FF firmware. Sven Urler put their own design into the firmware so that it doesn t look FF, but it is our technical development they are using. There are people in Africa who are using it. There are people all over the world who are using our firmware. Q45: FF like many other communities is voluntary community with a lots of volunteers. In the end you may need some sponsoring because you have to things that costs lots of money. How about sponsoring in the case of FF. Have you received any sponsoring? 128

181 Very occasionally. Things do not depend on sponsoring. Those days we went to India or Denmark of course we needed some sponsoring to organize these events. Or when we organized the FF summer convention we needed some sponsors to organized this event. But for everyday business it is not necessary. The other thing is that those people who are really engaged into the FF community in the technical end have all become very good developers in the field and their job opportunities have tremendously increased. So people who started as hobbyist in the FF community, at least some of them are now really well paid developers that work for commercial companies. What I m trying to say is that within the FF community they became very skilled people. Then companies hired them and they get a lot of money for that giving them more spare time and money to still volunteer for the FF community. Q46: In Wireless Leiden they looked-for places to put their antennas on. Sometimes a company, a church organization or some other organization sponsored them to put the antenna on a roof with their name on it. Because they have also benefit from that. It is to some extent the same in Berlin. We have 4 or 5 churches with antenna s but of course on the small scale level we have lots of support. Every user who puts an access point in his window or roof top is a supporter the same time because they help spread the network. But there are also churches, sometimes companies or non-profit organizations which give sponsorship and support. Q47: In the case of companies. Do they do that because they or their employees get access to the internet? No. Q48: I have seen in WL that companies who sponsored them were in most cases also benefitting from the access to the network. No similarities? There are actually some people who are using FF as a local intranet. There is for example one company which is making pictures of building grounds. If a huge building is build they make a picture every minute or so and then you have a movie showing how the house is build. They need wireless infrastructure to store the photos locally. There are for example also local music clubs who want to stream the music from one club to the other. We have some people within the FF community working on this. But actually we never no because you don t need to register. You don t have to be visible. Q49: So when new members connect their router to the mesh network they are part of the community. They don t need to do additional things? 129

182 No. If they want to run their own little mesh network they don t even have to register for an IP address. If you want to run a small mesh network in the back yard you just take the FF firmware and put it on the router and you have your own local FF network. Q50: Are then any such initiatives from people? Yes, lots of them. If you want to become part of the whole bigger mesh cloud here in Berlin then you have to register for an IP address. Q51: You meet every Wednesdays in c-base which is a kind of central meeting place. What do you do during such meetings? Once a month every first Wednesday is beginners day. People who want to learn on FF should come on this day. There used to be presentations and questions-answers sessions. But in general if you want to know something about FF then you can go there. On the other hand there is this regular meeting for members who are engaged in FF for many years now. They just hang out or talk about development, exchange knowledge or they will just barbecue. But that is not the only meeting. I mean we have been running a meeting in this area where we are sitting now for many years once in a month. But it stopped since three years because people were not interested anymore. But we could start easily again if there is greater demand. Berlin is a big city. It doesn t make sense to have one centralized meeting. So in other parts of Berlin other meetings are organized by other smaller local communities. Q52: Could you tell me more about the type of people coming to this meetings? Has this changed over time? So in the beginning it was like the technical expert who were coming and now the ordinary people. No, unfortunately not. It is more the techies that are still coming to the c-base. Q53: The local community persons, the people without any technology knowledge do not come? Very few because there is no reason to come there anymore. In the past this was otherwise. Because then the technology was not highly developed. You had lots of problems when you were trying FF or flash the router, but now if you want to be part of FF you don t need to go to those meetings anymore. You can just buy a router and flash it and register for an IP address and that s it. Q54: So you don t know how big the network is at the moment? No not exactly. We can tell from the routing table. Like we can see how many routers we have in the routing table. In the one big mesh. I mean I know there are people at 130

183 the other side of Berlin who are running their own mesh network which is not part of the big one. But that has always been one idea of FF. It just: here is the technology, here is how it works and then of course people locally can adapt it without having anything to do with FF anymore. So spreading knowledge was one of the very key elements from the beginning. Q55: I have some questions about the future of FF. You have already told something about it. Maybe you can add some remarks. Will there be a general need for this type of communities in the future? So will the masses be convinced in joining these networks or will it stay in a niche position? I think it depends on whether or not the idea a network approach will be adopted by the citizens or not. You don t know. Especially in a city like Berlin you see so many types of initiatives. I think it will manage to hook up to one of these initiatives. If one of this local initiatives has a DIW approach in a different field and see the benefits of FF it can always be fueled again. City gardening is a good example here in Berlin. There are many city gardens. People take their mobile devices to the city gardens. It could be that they think having our own Wi-Fi network in the city garden is a good idea and they could just do FF and set it up. I m planning to do some art work here in my district where I want to distribute audio plays via the Wi-Fi router. So that people can walk through the area and every Wi-Fi router has a different part of an audio play similar to a location based service. And then people can walk around with their mobile device and listen to audio play and walk through the district and hopefully the audio play will have a connection to the location. So when you stand in front of our house you hear some information that is really like locations based. Maybe if we manage to write a good play it can be a thriller, poetry or something else with a relation to the area which people can listen to from artists here in the city. That s a project I m planning here. It is in its very early stage. Q56: The targeting people group are then the people in the area? Yes. Q57: Do you foresee that in the future there would be much more rules or much more hierarchy within FF? No. Q58: The success of the initiative because you were talking about some sort of a new model in which you want to create a sort of mobile community. If it works 131

184 it will be a big thing then. There are lots of mobile users in the city. Maybe you can create for that a business model? I wouldn t be interested in a business model. Q59: Let s say that somebody within the community is thinking ok I see a good commercial opportunity. We have a community, we can use it for commercial deployment. Is he free to do so? Yes of course. But I think if you start commercializing you cannot speak of a community anymore. Because then you will have paid and unpaid members of the community. Why should the community contribute to your private business. You have to be very careful about which business model you want to apply. If you have some micro payment system you could end like FON or the Google community approach. I mean of course there are all kinds of people that want to do something. I think FF as a brand will always remain a non-commercial project. I think for a community approach there is only two models. The one is that it is a noncommercial approach and the other is a co-op in which the community is represented in a legal structure. But if it is a private business then it is definitely not a community approach anymore. Q60: How do you see a community as a co-op? In the more rural areas for example you have the problem that the people who have the technical skills are very few and that the users are very many. What happens is that 2 or 3 technical people need to installs the network and maintain it. For installation they need installation material and don t want any user to have another device. Instead they want monolithic set up which is easier to maintain. So there will be centralized decision making on issues like: what routers shall we buy, how do we set them up, are we using meshing technology or not, where do we use meshing technology. They need to do the monitoring of the system and if this or that is not working their phone will ring and they have to fix it. So you need some (semi)- professional set up. I think a cooperative is a good way to solve it because then any member of the cooperative like the user will pay into the cooperative and the ownership of the system is still within the community and not privatized to a single entity or person. So I think a co-op model can work quite well. That is what others communities like Djursland have done. Guifinet in Spain for example does the same. They avoid centralized ownership. Everybody who is part of the network owns his part of the network. The community generates a lot of value. For example the Berlin mesh cloud can vary from 500 to 1000 nodes depending on the weather and different factors. And that is 132

185 definitely one of the biggest mesh networks in the world. So there are also the local scientific institutions like the T-lab who are doing research within this mesh cloud. If it was owned by a single entity it could be sold, there could be fraud, damaging community effort and energy that has been put into it. So I think it is really important to protect the community infrastructure from privatization to the bad of the majority of the community. The only way I could think of if it is not as we do it in Berlin then it must be something very similar to a co-op system with a shared ownership. Q61: Also in a community with shared ownership you can have problems. the commercialization of the certain communities leads to problems, but there are different sources of problems. People could have personal problems or whatsoever and because of that do not want to cooperate, so there is a shared ownership but no cooperation. That creates maybe also a division in the community. Of course. It is not that I m saying this is good and this is bad. I just think that a different model with different processes will reside in different solutions. Like the completely decentralized network that we run here in Berlin is definitively the equivalent of our social organization. And if we were and entity or an organization the structure of the network would be different. Q62: Don t you foresee that you may be part of a commercial party. Let s say a company is very interested in your initiative. They see possibilities with the initiative and they say if you are part of our company then we will deliver services. What do you think? What will happen then? As everybody owns their own access point this company would have to talk to 1000 or 2000 people and convince everybody to join. Which could be problematic. Q63: This is a difference with WL. Because they actually say we are decentralized but you see in time is that much power came in the hands of a few founders. At a certain time different organizations where interested in the initiative. These corporations get power into the organization. Some members said this is not the right way to go and they have installed their routers themselves. It is not that the people own the routers. That is a difference with your approach. From the very beginning we have seen a relationship between ownership and social structure and power. And the very Berlin FF approach is to keep it as decentralized as possible. In a social sense, in a ownership sense and in the sense of power. And as everybody own their own part of the infrastructure there is no chance that anybody to sell it to influence it. Nobody has more or less power. I mean there are some important links on the churches or long distance connections which somehow play a key role in some parts of the infrastructure but as long as we use the network actively as an 133

186 intranet that s also less important. A different thing is that 90% of the houses in Berlin have the same height. So it is very easy to for example if somebody has a node on the church tower and plays tricks with this church tower and really this isn t so bad because it is rather easy for me to set up an alternative link. The structure of the city is very convenient in this respect for our model. But what I wanted to say is that there are others FF communities in other cities which are running a different model. We are not saying that you have to do it this way. We are saying it has to be non-commercial but if you organize yourself as a legal club or you have a more centralized system that doesn t matter. Q64: You haven t FF register at some place? No. Q65: In WL they organized themselves as a Stichting which is the Dutch word for foundation. No such model in Berlin? No. Some other FF communities in Leipzig for example use the same model. Such model gives power to the board of the community to take decisions. The legal rights...in Berlin we have chosen for a different model. We have the so called Freie Netzen. It hasn t anything to do with FF. It is only for convenience. If you are having an event for example and want to rent a place and you don t want to do that as a private person you can use this it. So we have a legal club for renting a space or equipment. But the legal club has no decision making competence on the content or anything within FF. So it is only for sponsoring FF activities and not to be part of any decision making process in FF as such. It s only a financial contract partner and support system. If we collect money to finance local project we use it, but local communities can decide we want to do this project. And then they can say give your money to this legal institution. Then within the donation you write which project you want to fund and then the money is collected by the legal institution and given to the community that is doing the activity. It has no effect on how the setup is run or how the network is designed. If local communities need a legal entity and they don t have one themselves they can use this service as a legal entity to fundraise or for whatsoever. Q66: Could you mention positive points and improvement points concerning the way FF is organized or managed? The success of FF has been much greater than I could have imagined when we started it. Especially if you think of the international success. The input of well skilled technical people within the Berlin community helped so much to make the OWRT system and routing protocols better. Also that we have a working firmware model which has been adopted by so many communities in Germany and around the globe. Of course you can always say some things could be better. I think the next really big question is whether 134

187 we could manage to develop services which are interesting and competitive in some ways to the internet as such. Mobile internet gets cheaper again. So the question again is really whether there is a need and will to run a DOW network as an urban intranet with interesting services on it. If we fail then there is still all the rural areas that get a lot of support from the urban FF. And if internet is so cheap that we need not to talk about it then that is ok. If FF has no reason to exists anymore it will disappear because mainly all goals have been achieved one way or another. I think it is very important if people don t see a need to start a local FF initiative and if they don t gather enough people around them who want to run their own network then ok. Then probably we don t need it. I think the most important thing we are still missing is a better frequency band. The 2.4 GHz and 5.2 GHz ISM bands are really crap for outdoor WIFI infrastructure due to the characteristics of the frequency. It doesn t go through buildings, trees and you need line of sight. I think a very big enabling key issue would be to have better unlicensed frequency for outdoor WIFI. A different frequency band like 900 MHz or wide space. The cognitive radio approaches to use wide space can be of great enhancement for community applied wireless infrastructures. Q67: It could be that ordinary people need it but they don t have the ability to create a network themselves. How to deal with that? To a certain extent this cannot be all. I can tell you another story. Electra one of the community volunteers started Batman 5 years ago I think. Because she realized that OLSR was too complicated in the way it worked. Then a very talented young developer joined the FF network when he wasn t even 18. I remember a day when his father brought him to the c-base to check whether it was a safe place that his son could go to. He is a very talented software developer and he developed a Linux kernel module for Batman which is now part of the main Linux distribution. So batman made it from the c-base to the Linux kernel and now the technology is available all over the world now. This has nothing to do with FF anymore but it only came into the world because this one talented software developer joined the local FF community sometime or long time back. For example the open.com mesh router are pre-flashed routers with batman. And it very easy you don t have to configure them anymore it is a plug and play system. Just buy an open mesh router and plug it into the electricity plug and you can have meshing Wi-Fi infrastructure with zero configuration. All this has been the result of the wireless community approaches which has been taken by not just FF but also other highly skilled people from wireless communities so that it is broadly available with low costs, zero configuration. If you today went to set up a mesh infrastructure you can go to openmesh.com and buy a pre-flashed router for 39 euros or so. So it has made it to the mass market. I think for many people from a technical angle that was a very important motivation to be part of a community that has that standard and has really been very successful approach. 135

188 Q68: Do you provide also any technical training and specialization programs to members? In the c-base and in other local community gatherings you can come and learn a lot about setting up your own Wi-Fi infrastructure. I mean in the c-base with high skills you can learn a lot. Sebastian Butrichen from the wireless road show gives technical trainings in Africa with the FF firmware. So there are organizations who are teaching in Africa or India how to implement the FF firmware and technology into setting up their a wireless community infrastructure. Q69: That would be difficult because governments are earning a lot of money from these frequencies. That is true, but if you think about the success of WIFI there has been made a lot money with unlicensed spectrum and of course it is the other people who are making the money, but if you look at it not as a private economy but as a common economy then I m sure that the unlicensed spectrum wide space which could be used for community Wi-Fi or user run Wi-Fi infrastructures would be of great economic benefit to the commons. Q70: So every member is maintaining his own router. This is maintenance on an individual level But don t you do maintenance on a different kind of level. Maintenance to keep the network running? Yes. We have a typical map just showing all the links and the link qualities. So you can easily detect which link is very bad. If the people running the two end nodes are interested they will improve it or there is greater community voice claiming that it would be good this link was better then maybe people take the effort to optimize it. Q71: The type of maintenance work is kind of different, more challenging work compared to the first part of FF. I could imagine that technical experts are more motivated by the difficult tasks rather than the simple tasks. Can you always find people who want to do the maintenance, even for the simple and boring tasks. No, not always. For example there is a church next to my house and for years the access points on the church were not running. Nobody wants to put energy into making them run because they don t have the need for it and they just don t work. This is something you have to live with. And if there is a will to have a working network then people need to put in some energy and time or otherwise it just doesn t work. Q72: So there is no one saying that you have to do this or that maintenance work? 136

189 You can say that. For example I live here and need this link to connect to their and then ask someone to do that or do it yourself, but you cannot force anybody. Q73: How about ordinary people who can t do it themselves? Sometimes they are lost. Q74: Isn t that a weakness of the initiative? Yes. That is a weakness. That is definitely where critic comes from. People say you are the geeks and doing what you want and people who don t have the technical skills cannot put trust in the network. There is no reliability in the management of the network. In some parts it true and in other parts it is not true because where you have a working functioning local community of people who is interested in keeping the system up and running they manage and if you don t have that it doesn t work. So yes that is one of the main critic and one of the main failures, but you cannot convince people to do something they don t want to do. Q75: Due to the lack of some authority? We have now more than 2000 nodes which are not all connected. So it is more or less 2000 people who are running a FF node. I m questioning whether you could get 2000 people engaged in a top down approach. Q76: How many of them are ordinary people? I don t know. Q77: Can we assume that the majority are technical people who want to play with the technology? I would say that those who are interested in technology are definitely very present within the community, but as the technology became better and better and easier to install and maintain the number of people who just want to share their network and DSL line has increased a lot. Another counteracting situation is the legal situation in Germany. Because since 2 years people are made responsible if they share their internet line with somebody else who is downloading music files or sharing digital content illegally, so violating property rights. This is a very bad legal situation which is really counteracting people to share their DSL line and contribute to the FF infrastructure. That is something we are actively fighting against on the political level. 137

190 Q78: But if you have a router in your household then others could also have a connection to the FF network even if they themselves don t have any router? It depends whether or not you offer IP addresses with HTTP clients or not. That is an individual decision. For example we have in this building 3 antennas on our rooftop, we have 8 routers spread in the house and here you can have free internet access without any registration. But that is our individual decision. I decide to share my DSL with other people. Community members are not forced to do so. You can also run a mesh node in ad-hoc mode which is only part of the infrastructure without DSL or HTTP service just as a relay. All the access points on the churches are just relay nodes to link from one community to another. Q79: Maybe you want to add some lost words. Things that are not mentioned yet? Just lost week I got an from somebody who moved here and found the FF network. He said internet access is very poor, it is very slow, but hey it is a community approach and it is for free thank you for doing this and how can I support you. Some years ago somebody run my bell and wanted to give me some 50 euros for using the FF infrastructure for writing my diploma. And I said ok sorry I don t take any money because it was not a commercial thing. Then he asked what can I do for you and I said to him lets go have a beer. He invited me to have a beer. It is a lot of these success stories that keep you believing to continue this work because there are people who really understand the idea of this community approach. And even if it wasn t having a good quality of service sometimes they can cope with it because they know it is for free and a community driven approach. 138

191 APPENDIX B INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDER MORLANG Q1: Could you tell me more about problem issues that arose within FF? Conflicts between humans are always complicated and there are reasons you never hear about. And then you can say these routers are trusted and those are not. You have actually a cloud. And the cloud is interconnected and slowly separated from the rest. Technically you have to decide whether you are part of it or not, that you are not experienced. These local guy you go to him and then you connect to the local cloud and then you are disconnected. I think this local net is even not visible anymore on the FF net. This also happened in Leipzig. In Leipzig it was a guy, former employee of a telecommunication company, who said we need exact measuring and exact control. A typical central way of thinking. He somehow disagreed with the others and bought 50 routers and gave them away but kept control over the routers. Suddenly he switched to a different channel as a result of which his router was disconnected from the rest of FF net. And now there is a part in Leipzig which is basically disconnected. So you get a fragmentation of the community. You get islands. This is one of the problems I see. Q2: It started like that in Berlin I think. In the beginning you had local communities who were not really working together. At some point in time encouraged by the FF idea they decided to do so and interconnect. It seems to me this is the other way around. Now they disconnect. What is in your opinion the source of these problems? Is it a personal thing or are there more fundamental things involved like disagreement about community goals? I don t know. I can guess and speculate. When I started here Berlin I was quite new in Berlin coming from Hamburg. I didn t want to get involved. You hear always one side of the conflict. So it s not good to believe everything. There were reasons why some thought bad about some community members but nobody told me. You know there were strong discussions about the technology which could lead to this kind of conflicts. When you have people of the whole society from all parts of society working together on projects. So you have to deal with different people. In Leipzig there were different reasons than in Berlin. I think the reasons are always different. But the basic thing is that these in these kind of open communities people can grow in the working network. People see that they don t need to build up their own network but can start with the existing network. After they have more than 50% of the network they can disconnect everybody who is in the middle. Everybody who is disconnected has to connect with them. 139

192 Q3: You shouldn t have that due to the mesh networking, should you? I mean that guarantees there are enough alternative routes to connect with each other so limiting the power every individual node owner has. One person can gain control if he controls enough nodes in the mesh network. So I change all my nodes to a different channel. If you are sitting in the middle you are dependent on your neighbors. If your neighbor changes the channel you have also to change your channel otherwise you don t have connectivity. Q4: If we go to the incentives of organizing FF and the way it s organized? What could you tell about those issues. In Germany we have two kind of FF communities. The East German and West German communities. The incentives for East German FF have to do with the lack of broadband. With the fall of the wall they put fiber optics into the nets and they were not able to use it for broadband for reasons too long to explain. So you had only 56 Kbits/s lines. So all these East German cities had no broadband connections. At that time the Wireless stuff was already existing. Then the European Union said the communication between houses should be possible. I think it was some directive from the EU to make it national law but Germany didn t do it. So after 2 years it became national law automatically and that was the moment you legally could do FF. Before that it was not legal because you had to be a telecommunication provider to connect two pieces of properties which led to interesting things. The university for instance had a building across the street and they wanted to connect wirelessly to the building but they were not allowed to do that. So what they actually did was buy the ground between the buildings from the city so it was their property. Then they were allowed to put an internet connection. So then it became legal. The university had to become a telecommunications provider. That time government had a monopoly in telecommunications making it possible to become a telecommunication provider and so it was the only legal way to connect these buildings. And then it became legal. So people started building links and small communities. In Dresden form example you had the BurgerNetz. It was possible to organize like a classical German association. In Rostock a community was started by the local university by some professor there. In Leipzig it is like Berlin. They used FF Berlin Firmware and enhanced it and were quite successful. So the incentive for East Germany was the lack of broadband. In West Germany it were mainly people from the computer club and hackers scene who said communication should be free. They said we need free information and communication infrastructures and so we start a wireless network. Hannover for example is a city which had DSL already. But they decided to create a community. FF Hannover has now probably a 100 nodes, but now it is not growing anymore. We have this discussion about incentives. I m trying to clarify the incentives for the FF. I would say there are two approaches. One approach is just putting your personal files online in the mesh network using a small device with USB interface and Linux on it. So you 140

193 take a low power device, connect a terabyte hard drive to it and have lots of e-books, mp3 files and lots of interesting created common stuff and make it accessible over the mesh network only. So then my neighborhood can access my public files. So the incentive is not getting internet uplink but connect to the neighborhood. Related to this we have developed a search engine. It is a peer to peer search engine. So it running and indexing the file servers of the neighborhood. So you have a search engine for the file servers of the mesh network. The other incentive is that I created a pirate FF. I m member of the pirate party of Germany. It is a political party. We are now running here for election in Berlin. And I said ok I m a pirate now and I m a wireless guy. So let s combine it. So there was then this party fighting for the digital world, citizens rights, civil rights and against digital censorship. To get our basic thing as pirates; to give people access to knowledge and information. Q5: So these were your personal reason to get involved in FF? Yes. Two reasons. There was this idea of citizens data networks from one of the founders of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC). And he actually infected me with this idea. It was 20 years ago. So they tried to make packet radio for citizens with a low bandwidth over a traditional transceiver with a high antenna on the roof top. FF is just the basic idea of burger daten netze. Some of the basic ideas of the CCC from the 80s were free information, free access; people should communicate and should be able to communicate free. The other reason is there was this specific Linksys router. You could install Linux on it. And for so many years the Unix boxes were big and expensive. They became faster but never became cheaper. And then there came this Unix box of 200 MHz and it was like 60 euro. It was a device with low power consumption and it has enough RAM and flash to run an operating system. And then you had the dynamic networking. I put a box here and box there and they interconnect. When you add a third one they interconnect. It was a fascinating technology. Both actually. So these Unix boxes and the embedded Linux systems. Wireless was great. Mesh networking was great. The technical stuff was really interesting and is still interesting to me. On the other side it is a way to implement the ideas of the early idealist of the CCC. But now with enough bandwidth and dynamic routing it was possible. Building free information infrastructures was one of the two reasons why I joined the community. The other thing was the typical nerd thing. I wanted to play with interesting technology. Q6: When was this router on the market ready to be used? It was some 6 years ago. Linksys found out that Linux was already running on it. So the GPL (General Public License) violations people said you need to open the source code. Linksys refused. Then they went to court and won. So Linksys had the choice between publishing the source code or not putting their router on the market. And then there was this big bunch of source code nobody understood. People start looking at it and then Sven Uhler said we have this routing Daemon we can use. We tried it out on our 141

194 notebooks and it worked. We took a router and modified the firmware. Then the first notion of OWRT emerged which was a Linux distribution for these devices. So Sven Uhler modified OWRT and from then on it come into existence. So there was firmware which made it quite easy to do this. And then people started to buy this device and go to C-base and learn how it works. So the mesh network started growing to 600 nodes here in Berlin. Q7: Is it easy for ordinary people to install the firmware on their routers? Ordinary people need help. The average computer guy can work through it. There were so many places like C-Base on Wednesdays and meetings in Berlin North East and many other places. So there are many local groups who support ordinary people. Q8: Are there a lot of ordinary people interested in FF? When there was no broadband everybody was interested. Now you are getting broadband nearly everywhere. So only the idealists stay. Q9: Is there also a decline in the number of users in Berlin? In berlin we don t know. The network is fragmented now because some links went down like one of the churches is offline which connected major parts of the network. But I think it is steady. People are coming and people are leaving. Q10: Could you tell me more about the type of new users? Are they the same as the ones that leave or the ones that are already in the community? The community is too decentralized to know. But as I said we now are bringing new incentives into the community. It is a basic thing for a pirate to help people to have access to knowledge and information. And the best and sustainable way of doing it is to do FF. So I started pirate FF. So we take the firmware which is open source and we put a pirate theme on it with branding that it is pirated but still compatible and working to FF firmware. Then we educate pirates how to operate the router and to learn it to others and be multiplicators. We show them how to put routers in the windows and on the roof tops and this actually works Slowly but it s gaining momentum. The interesting part in this case is previously the incentive for people was to get internet. Now the incentive is I want to keep internet. It is part of my duty as a pirate to care about my neighborhood, to care about those who have not access because of their social situation and all those other reasons why people haven t access. In the last 2 years we see this happening in other parts of Germany as well. In Nordrhein-Westfalen new associations where created for this end. 142

195 Q11: Because they don t have access to the internet? No no they just said ok I just want to spread internet. I want free networks. I want free internet access for everybody. So they were putting up their nodes and these nodes are popping up on the map and local communities are emerging. New communities are emerging with completely new incentives with the idea of giving. In the past many said ok I will go through it and get FF because there is no other way to get it. Q12: Wasn t this also the case in the early days of FF when the first participants joined the community? Much happened in a time when I was quite fresh. But as I understood there were in the first place activists/idealists who said we need to get internet spread. So we are not doing it for ourselves but for everybody. Then many people joined who said I need internet. What do I need to do to get internet. These were ordinary people next to the technically interested people. So it grew fast and big. But the majority of the participants were ordinary people. Now there is another change which is like my neighbor said we need to increase link speed because the download is so slow. It was not internet but intranet he wanted. He wanted fast download from my server. And there are people who are idealist and say ok I m not a technical person. Quite ordinary but I m a political activist for free access and connectivity and the best way to do it is FF. So please help to give FF to other people. And this happens now. This is I think the next change which is happening now. Q13: I understand also from Jürgen that the idea from the beginning on was to focus on the intranet. Internet was interesting for a lot of people but ultimately for many in the beginning it was about intranet. The problem as I understood from him is that there is no killer app for the intranet. Broadband is now everywhere, it is cheap. So many have already access left FF for a commercial provider. So you have to create something within the intranet to make it interesting for people to be part of this intranet (FF) to stay, come or join again? I don t know. I m here to tell my view of some kind of truth. I can also tell you idealistic convenient tales. There is one killer app for the internet. We don t do that here in FF, but the original killer app for the internet is pornography. The other thing is many people have a ADSL line not because they have access to information. They got it because of ebay. Many ordinary people got internet because people were increasingly using ebay. So the online trading of things. That s what average ordinary people do a lot. I know this is not convenient. This is hard to take. So the killer app we have here is if you talk about internet app is to put a bunch of ebooks online, music online, movies online and it worked. I moved last month. It is easy to attach a terabyte drive to a small device. 5 years ago you needed a server which needed a lot of power and is loud 143

196 and create a lot of heat. Now it is much easier. There are many good ideas like streaming content and having free content in the mesh network. Q14: Do you see a future for FF? I see perspective. And there are the sort of people who saw what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. Who see what happens in Libya. We need an independent infrastructure. We need something they can t switch of so easily. I spoke with them and they said for many years FF is not secure with its cheap routers with its big devices. Suddenly they said they can switch us off. We need to have our own independent infrastructure in case something goes wrong. You know there is a reason for the existence of the pirate party. Maybe we are not successful. The political leaders say we do censorship and we switch off people. We need a plan B. And FF is this plan B. Now the US government is funding people with millions of dollars for developing something like FF for certain countries where the governments are evil. And when they realized there is FF who are doing it for years they are interested in us. And so I m working on building infrastructures in developing countries. We are building boxes for communication and trying to develop this technology. Q15: I get the idea that FF is now oriented to the outside. If you look at Berlin what activities do you do for FF berlin. Is it a project that is stalled, not growing anymore, everything is already done and developed? I personally will go next week to a church tower and install some hardware there. Q16: So you do that yourself. I mean getting connected? On the technical level we changed the old firmware to the next firmware. The old firmware was based on really old OWRT and it was running on this specific set of routers. The new firmware is running on hundreds of routers. So now you have outdoor routers. The change is that we got a lot of new hardware. It is cheaper and easier to do things on a technical level. On the social level I already explained through the technical innovations we are able to put our files online and make the intranet more interesting. Also the risks of file sharing is getting higher. The risk of getting caught and pay a fine. So file sharing is not legal but giving my music that I bought to a friend is legal. And the way to do that is FF. FF is a way of legal file sharing. If I rip it and put on a hard drive and then give it to a friend that s still legal because I purchased it. And the German copyright law still allows to give a copy to a friend. And the risk for getting caught is nonexistent because the FF network is not comparable to the content mafia. So the intranet idea is getting momentum. Like I said people are doing FF with the idea of giving access to the others. So it is not growing but still moving. The goals are changing, the incentives are changing, the people are changing. The ordinary people they get less. They have their broadband connection. On the other hand the idealists and activists are more present. 144

197 Q17: More idealists than techies? We have no clear statistics due to the decentralized nature of the community. In other parts of Germany if I look at the federal level I see how communities are emerging because of the idea of sharing. I see how communities are shrinking. Consumers are leaving because you get better broadband form elsewhere. The idea is that if you get broadband you give back. But the idea of giving back is not so present you know. But the change from the consumer to the activists/idealists view is good. Then you have the techies who say I teach, I help them and configure their router and help them to fix problems. An then you have these people saying I would like to do it but I have no clue. And these groups are working together. Q18: A good mix then? Actually after the election here in Berlin I can get back to firmware development. To make it much more convenient and easier to set it up. Make it easier for ordinary people to participate which I think is key. Many people would like to do it but it is still complicated. And I intend to travel around to teach people how to install their routers. Actually to travel around to teach people how to teach other people. Because we need sustainable development. And it works. I think the movement is changing slowly but clearly. And it changing back to its roots. Q19: If you go back to the basics I imagine that the community cannot grow big. You can say you are serving then only a niche group of people. The number of idealist and techies is small. Do you agree with this idea? I m not sure about that. If we look at the CCC when it was founded in the 80s it was a bunch of hackers who suddenly became legal. So they founded this association for the German Hacker movement doing now more than 20 years in many cities. They organize conferences with large group of people participating each year. The chaos communication camp for instance is a huge camp north of Berlin where there are 3000 hackers and activist form all over the world coming over and work together and having talks and workshops. Chaos computer club became the official part of the German hacker movement doing press work and lobby work. We did some papers for the highest court in Germany about booting computers. Doing lots of work against the introduction of the voting computers. Q20: How to you decide on things to be done? You are an organization but at the same time you are not. How does it work in practice? If there is a problem with some link not working. There is this association for free networks which is able to make contracts with node locations. This is the official part. So the people living there can install the hardware. We have a wiki, we have a bunch of mailing lists of course. This part of the 145

198 organization is like an open source project. On the other hand we have local groups. They have some place and meet and work together in community houses once a week. The central point for berlin is c-base which is a hackers club. We meet and work there every Wednesday from all over Berlin. From here we carry it back to the communities. Q21: How many communities are there? 3 or 4 all of them connected to one whole mesh network. 146

199 APPENDIX C INTERVIEW WITH DENNIS BARTSCH [One of the guys responsible for the local community network in North East of Berlin] Q1: I m doing research on the Wi-Fi communities like FF and interested in the incentives of this kind of initiatives and how they are organized. Alexander has told me a lot about that, maybe you can add some remarks. Let s start with your role within the FF community. Can you tell me more about that? I don t know whether I have a specific role but one can say that I m one of the technical guys in our community in the North East of Berlin. When we started in 2005 there were not many people who had the time to work into all the stuff. It was highly experimental at the time. It was for me at the end of my secondary school. There were many months of time between the ending of school and the job education. We spend nearly all the time filling around with experimenting. Documentation was very thin at that time. So you try everything out and then be surprised that it works. But it seemed at that time no one had the knowledge to do it right from the beginning. So we made one mistake after the other and tried to combine Omni-directional radio interfaces and directional radio interfaces on the same channel. We soon saw that a.2.11 was not meant for this kind of infrastructure. We had this problem with the cell ID and negotiation protocols, and we build a patch for persons id to get rid of this very broad implementation that let in the worst time to the effect that the net in Berlin was dead half the day. Only because a new business id was crawling through the net and caused many bugs. Because we needed someone to fix all these problems I stayed in this community Q2: What triggered you to be part of the community? Was it only because you could experiment with the technology or was it more than that? In my view it was very unspectacular in the beginning. We wanted to start Wireless networking in north east district of Berlin. Some 100 meters form the Berlin border. At that time we thought about how we could do the lock in management and all those things. It was really lots of pain at that time. What we and the rest of the FF community had...actually the FF community did not exist at that time yet... but I mean the local community in very corner of East Berlin. The guy who initiated the initiative organized some map material. At that time there was no open speed map so we had to get some mapping material. And began to manually put the access points on this map before they were established. That was the point when the FF invited us and we were confronted with the concept of free networks. Then we thought why should we do authentication, encryption and all of this. Why shouldn t the users care about all this stuff. And there began the boom. 147

200 Q3: Did the users know how do this stuff? No. At that point you had to know the tricks how to configure the firmware and figure out which antenna point is the strongest. In addition antennas were at that time expensive. So we build our own antennas. An amateur radio guy form the Netherlands helped us with a robust antenna design. Some of these antennas are still in service today, but most of them got broken or fallen from the roofs. Q4: So this was before you were part of the FF initiative? What did you think of the FF initiative? Yes. But very soon we realized that the solution provided by FF was much better. Especially when you want to be non-profit. First we had the idea that there had to be someone responsible for the network. If you were looking to your neighborhood, local government or on the schools you always see the concept of central authority. Everything had to be centralized to work. You don t even get the idea that something decentralized could actually work. And that was the impulse that came from the c-base people (FF), and it worked very well. The node count exploded in the first year. The first year alone there were 150 nodes on about 5 km 2. It probably grow to fast because we couldn t handle the technical problems at that time. So when the 5 GHz hardware get cheaper we build 5 GHz backbones which greatly improved our situation because we didn t interfere with ourselves during forwarding data and we used different channel zones. Some people do believe that FF should be channel 10 and because the interference range is huge. We build three roof nodes that we could permanently populate. Some of the roof nodes were without the permission of the house owner. You don t want to rely on that because some people try to use it and rely on it and then comes the moment the house owner says the node has to be removed. This threatens reliability. If you offer this service people will rely on it and you don t make friends if you disappoint them. Getting the reliability was hard. Mesh routing at that time was highly unstable. It took some time to establish a 247 service. At the height times we had 220 nodes. Now this is down to 80 nodes. It is fairly stable. There are still users who switch off their nodes when they don t use it because they don t understand the concept of free mesh networks meaning that you are part of the infrastructure and so on. Q5: So you are saying there has been a decline in the number of nodes? I cannot speak for other parts of Germany but in Berlin I would say it is in many parts stable, in some parts declining but the boom time is definitely over because internet access over GSM (3G) and UMTS got fairly cheap. It is no around 30 euros and you get to the point where people say I want to be always online and I can afford to use mobile internet. 148

201 Q6: Could you describe the people saying so? It is the ordinary people who say so. But in the end you need them too. You need them because without them you don t have a mesh and without having a mesh you cannot address the people who are probably interesting for the community. You have to spread the net to reach people. You want them to be in the community. Q7: What is in your opinion the way to get the ordinary people back who have left the community because of the advantages of cheap internet connection? It is difficult to do so. In the past we had the big marketing machinery and things like that but it has not worked to keep the people. Even flyers didn t work and the name Freifunk is for many people associated with technical problems. If they see the name in their Wi-Fi connection they don t even try to connect to this network because they tried earlier and saw that it didn t work. At the early times we didn t provide the http service (internet) in the mesh because the windows drivers were so heavily full of bugs that they broke the mesh. This was 4 or 5 years ago. At the beginning we had also the problem that the broadcom binary driver had problems with combining 11 B en 11 G nodes. It fall back to 11 B as soon as there was any node which could not handle the rates. That and the very bad rate control in the driver made the network very inefficient. Sometimes you had to reload the site 5 times to get the site loaded. That s what we experienced. Nowadays we have a highly optimized rate algorithm. This ratecontrol-algorithm was designed, optimized and implemented in the worst environment possible. Q8: Isn t that too late now given the fact that lots of people have already left the community? Yes. Now we have the technology to mesh nearly everywhere but the name FF and the concept of meshing is for those who were once interested burnt. They don t touch it anymore. That and some social problems that arose at the time about the ownership and the maintenance of some nodes and yeh there were quite some problems. Q9: Could you tell me more about these problems? When I m part of a mesh I have to let any traffic pass through without touching it. There are certain degrees of understanding of the pico-peering agreement. Some say that you even shouldn t imply force rules to optimize network and the traffic flow. There were people out there who didn t find themselves bound to this pico-peering agreement. They filtered nodes, limited the bandwidth of traffic through nodes, and that is a problem. Sometimes you have the situation that there is one node far out there having to moderate links and one and if this node loses its partner just because the one wanting to optimize his network access kicks out the one which is out there who has only this link. There were many situations like this and it was also part of the 149

202 project. There was no central planning of the infrastructure. Such things happened by people who didn t have the right understanding of all those layers of FF. You need to know why you don t this or that with the routing protocol or the wireless driver. Q10: Could these problems not be settled easily then? Yes, but communication between people was the problem. It often started wrong and get worse [laugh]. People don t talk to each other and in the end they do what they want; it was like anarchy. Q11: Could you tell me more about the situation now regarding the conflicts? Have these conflicts influenced the success of FF? You can say that people who remained in the net are able to maintain the nodes properly. Those couldn t have left the mesh network. And that s the point where you haven t to maintain much and if there is a problem there is direct communication between people who know who maintains which node. Because the infrastructure has settled over year we know who to mail or to call to get things fixed. There are no arguments anymore. In the past it was simply a too fast growing net and the routing protocol was not up to this. Now small problems happen too sometimes. There is no instance that sits in the middle of every communication. When you can get to the web interface of the neighboring node you can write an directly to the mail address that is hopefully configured on this node. That is why nobody knows who communicates to whom and when and how often. That s why I don t have clear figures about that. But the situation in Berlin North East that people rather leave the mesh than trying to optimize it. Sometimes it is frustrating when you see the mesh ring on some parts. Q12: Do you foresee a future for FF? Will FF still exist in the coming 5 years to 10 years? Yes. But probably in the same form as the amateur radio exists as a technical hobby club. This is the future I foresee. Q13: If you say a technical hobby club than I think of people who are not driven by ideals but are more interested only in experimenting with technology. Are the idealists going to vanish then from FF? The techies have to stay on this whole thing because you have to adapt for example to changes in the Linux kernel. You have to keep things running for those activists who want to deploy free networking in a new town out there or in rural areas where you still don t have broadband. The idealists are less in number nowadays. The idealists that are left are poured out. Sometimes there are different views on things between the 150

203 techies and the idealists. The techies I would say are good informed pessimists and the idealists are bad informed optimists [laugh]. Q14: Could I say they had the upper hand in the beginning, the idealist I mean? No. It developed in parallel. Before the FF concept was written down and actually became a movement there were people out there who began to build nets over the roofs. So the techies show the idealist what is possible and the idealist gave the techies a reason to investigate more on the technical stuff. So in the early days it was clearly a win-win situation. You saw that the idealists prepared PR interviews, use paper articles, and even the CT, the biggest computer magazine in the German speaking world, had a 5 page big article about FF in 2006 and there were Wednesday evenings meetings in the C-Base which were full of new people who wanted to know about FF. The main hall was full of beginners giving presentations or trying to get new information. That was the booming time. This would not have been possible without the idealists, the non-techies, which took care for the PR thing. Q15: But nevertheless the idealist are shrinking in numbers? Yes, I would say so. Q16: So the idealists have proven to be very useful for the success of FF in the past, but now they are shrinking in numbers. How about that? Is there any future for FF without them? Some names got big through projects like FF net. Their names are like Mario Behling, Jürgen Neumann and others. People that were heard much in combination with FF and so got jobs outside of FF and so they had much more to do outside of FF and now they barely do anything for FF. They give interviews clearly, but they don t have the personal capacities anymore to push FF. They have grown out of this rather small community. Q17: I was wondering how do you decide on the future course of FF? Certain steps have to be taken and certain decision have to be made. How do you arrange that within the initiative? How does it work? If you see FF.net isolated then there is nothing to decide. FF as an idea is the wiki with all its information. It is the name with which you can clearly attract attention from people who have to decide whether you can put nodes on this roof or that one. But FF itself doesn t act in any kind. The communities in the districts and towns which have to decide which way they go. Whether they found the so called associations or whether they organize unorganized. Q18: So some of them have really legal structures? 151

204 Yes. We have some communities who pay a certain fee every month. This is not the case in Berlin but outside they are from some owners of nodes who offer their internet connection into the mesh cloud. There were agreements between those who offer the internet access and those who use it to pay 2 or 5 euros a month. But these are very local agreements. We clearly wanted that everyone is aware there is no central point which is responsible for everything that happens. But that everyone for itself has to look whether the mesh net could be optimized, whether there are social things that have to be optimized. Q19: For that you mean a certain coordination. It seems to me that if I m one member of the network and I don t have internet connection because my neighbor has doing things wrong I have to communicate with him directly. I can imagine that the problem is bigger than 2 persons so that more persons are involved. So how can they arrange things if you don t have an arbiter. People came to FF community is some way. They have found the website first which explained what the mesh network is, what it does, what is does not. It that way you always have hints how to communicate. Nearly every network has its regulator where new people can come or where regular things are talked about. Some communities were so small that meetings of once a week were sufficient. People knew if you go there you would meet someone from FF. Q20: Was this before FF? No. This is a thing in every small community that you have a certain place where you can meet people from FF. Many people that are interested are those people who are not technically talented. They want to know which device they have to buy, where they have to go to get this device. This are the only two things they can handle at that point. Q21: And in the beginning before you were part of FF the group was consisting of technical people who were experiment with technology. Is that correct? We didn t exactly experiment. The FF net was over 2 to 3 years called the OLSR experiment. We only said we don t have to give 247 service because we are an experiment. And it clearly was an experiment. There were no meshes outside which were that big cuase we connected al the several communities over VPN. At some point in time we reached the 400 node barrier and the nodes crashed. Every time we reached a certain barrier crashed again which had to be fixed again. There was not time spent where we had this testing fields where we could optimize that, but in actually took place in the production mesh. If there were problems we fixed them. It led to many head eggs but it worked ultimately. Problems were fixed by people individually. If there was a problem someone thought a fix for this problem and tells on the Berlin mailing list the fix for the problem and other people tried out and so it founds its way to the firmware. The FF firmware which was at that time a one man show of Sven 152

205 Uhler. He made decisions which involved many meshes in Germany and out of Germany which used this firmware. People criticized him for doing so. But it was also not bad because the discussion about certain fixes and concepts would have led to no decision. So Sven Uhler was often the one who created facts over things that were not even discussed. Q22: Could you say that he was centralizing control? Yes, a little bit. But he was one of those who could handle it. He didn t freak out. It was important that he was not one of those people who wanted to be famous with such firmware. He concentrated on the technical solutions not bring himself as a person in front but he did it for the community. He used the firmware himself. He could often fix bugs before they even got explored by others. So the firmware over the time was quite stable in its core parts. Sometimes some extensions of the firmware were broken, but it was not so important. More important was the fact that the wireless thing worked, the meshing worked and FF net had the most stable meshing software for nodes you could possibly get at the time. Now that the wireless drivers or the meshing got stable it is no problem. Q23: Al last question. Where there certain decisions in the course of the whole project which you could have been much better for the community. Let s say has the FF community taken all the right decision. It is difficult to answer for one group member because it concerned the collective. But what is your personal opinion on this. There were not many decisions. So there could not have been many wrong decisions. So the key decisions which were the pico-peering agreement was a core element, the fact that it was a free network. The fact that it was decentralized, not dictated from above but bottom up. These were clearly right decisions. But this formed clear borders for those of the initiative because there a not many people out there who have the horizon to fully get the potential of free networks. They think it is their internet access and if it does not work they take another. And that s the real problem. People are to dumb to know this. FF initiative it does not act it only keeps informed the idea and the concept. But it acts not as someone who builds nets. It is a PR and marketing instrument to form a brand that is gets to be known by many people. So when you say to anyone who is IT interested you say FF about 50 % of them say I heard about that. They make something with WIFI on their roofs and that is very worthy. If you go the local government and say you are from FF they probably have heard of you. It makes you a huge difference. 153

206 APPENDIX D PICO PEERING AGREEMENT V1.0 Preamble There are now many community networks, but they are separated geographically and socially and do not form a coherent network. This document is an attempt to connect those network islands by providing the minimum baseline template for a peering agreement between owners of individual network nodes - the Pico Peering Agreement. The PPA is a way of formalizing the interaction between two peers. Owners of network nodes assert their right of ownership by declaring their willingness to donate the free exchange of data across their networks. The PPA is maintained at by a group of volunteers from around the world. It is intended to be used as a template for other small-scale peering documents and licenses. 1. Free Transit: Agreement The owner agrees to provide free transit across their free network. The owner agrees not to modify or interfere with data as it passes through their free network. 2. Open Communication: The owner agrees to publish the information necessary for peering to take place This information shall be published under a free license The owner agrees to be contactable and will provide at least an address 3. No Warranty: There is no guaranteed level of service The service is provided "as is", with no warranty or liability of whatsoever kind The service can be scaled back or withdrawn at any time with no notice 4. Terms of Use: 154

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