Community Wireless

The Detroit Community Technology Projects works with neighborhood leaders to design, organize, implement, and maintain community wireless networks as a way of both addressing the lack of digital access and digital literacy in Detroit. The networks we support can both distribute internet connections as well as act as a local network or "Intranet". On the Intranet, neighbors can communicate and share information without the internet, using the community wireless network to house radio apps, an offline searchable version of wikipedia, store music and movies for people to share, have a local chat and phone service.

DCTP has supported 19 local and international community wireless networks through its digital Stewards training program, which was designed in partnership with the Open Technology Institute.

Anderson standing on a rooftop, holding a laptop next to a large wireless router mounted to the roof. City skyline in the background.

Anderson installing and configuring a wireless router on a rooftop.

Digital Stewards

Communication is a fundamental human right. The Digital Stewards Training is an effort to actualize that right at the neighborhood-level in Detroit. This 20-week training prepares teams of community organizers, people with construction skills and techies to design and deploy communications infrastructure with a commitment to the Detroit Digital Justice Principles. The training includes wireless engineering, neighborhood mapping and network design, basic IT troubleshooting, community outreach, and engagement. Digital Stewards build upon already-existing digital and social resources within Detroit communities, such as public computer centers, block clubs, and community organizing initiatives. They learn how to cultivate this ecosystem, adding in their new capacity and technical skill to grow and sustain a community wireless network.

Locally, the program has trained over 35 Detroit neighborhood leaders to build their own community wireless networks. Check out all our documentation and teaching materials here.

Read more history about the Digital Stewards Program.