Shared Networks: The Paths of Latin-Centric Indigenous Networks to a Pluriversal Internet

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University of Illinois Libraries


This research paper examines the emergence of shared networks in Tseltal and Zapoteco communities in Chiapas and Oaxaca (Mexico): internet first mile signal-sharing practices that articulate interconnection infrastructure and coexistence values to extend the internet to areas where the services of existing larger internet service providers are unsatisfactory or unavailable. In the case studies analyzed, indigenous people become internet codesigners by infrastructuring for their own local networks and interconnecting to the global internet. The paper argues that a hybrid materializes at the level of network interconnection when comunalidad, or the way of these communities, supported by unlicensed frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum, towers, radio antennas, houses rooftops, routers, and cables meet the values of the internet service providers and their policies. Shared networks are a result of what these arrangements both enact and constrain, and the evidence of vivid struggles of Latin-centric indigenous networks towards a pluriversal internet.