Best Practices Guide for CNs

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Deliverable 4.5 ends WP4 and, with D3.5 also closes the netCommons project. As such it is naturally a collector of the many discussion, actions, findings, and analyses that were carried out during the three years of the project, mainly from the legal/policy point of view, but also including some technical considerations (albeit never at an engineering level) and global visions. Indeed, D4.5 is also a book on how to build a Community Network (it will be evident from its structure and language, far less technical and academic than other deliverables of netCommons), thus the terms deliverable and book will be used interchangeably in this document. With the proper changes, it will be published after the end of the project including the comments and suggestions that may come from its early reading by Community Networks and also by netCommons Reviewers and Advisory Board. It will be illustrated, copy-edited, and published by the Association for Progressive Communications in 2019, thus contributing (we hope) to the future impact of netCommons. Meant for a wide audience, the book includes several anecdotes –or stories– as well as legal, technical, governance, economic, and policy material extracted from our 3-year-long research project. Its goal is to guide the reader through a set of actions aimed at setting up and foster the growth of a Community Network, but also, for policy makers, local administrations and the general public to create the right conditions to let Community Networks bloom and flourish. The book is organized in six Parts that group 25 short chapters. The Parts address different topics, starting from high level definitions of what Community Networks are and why they are important in society and in the global communications scenario. Next come more technical parts that address how to bootstrap a Community Network and how to let it grow properly and how to make it sustainable. As, after three years of work and research, it is now evident that a single recipe for the success of a Community Network does not exists, the book takes an exemplify and experiment approach. The exemplification starts from (success) stories and frame them into a more general and methodological process to highlight positive patterns (negative ones are not analysed in this Deliverable, as they were included into many other documents, and to keep the document to an acceptable size). The experiment takes the form of questions and reasoning upon them to help the reader and practitioner to elaborate a correct strategy for his/her own context: social, cultural, economic, political, and geographic. The book is completed by a seventh Part with five appendices. They include the Pico-Peering Agreement, an example of document formalising the interactions between volunteers, owners of individual network nodes, a template for a Terms of Use that will make the Community Network using it legally safe and robust (at least in Europe), Guidelines for Policy makers on how to foster Community Networks, and finally a glossary to navigate into the complexity of legal and technical terms that are needed to understand a Community Network and a list of reasoned Suggested Readings to strengthen knowledge on specific themes and find appropriate resources to step up know-how and technical skills.