Since 2015 IDDS Amazon works in partnership with the  Association of Organic Farmers of Boa Vista (APOBV), a small rural community near the city of Belem, about forty minutes riding a boat from a small local harbour. Boa Vista has an estimate of two hundred families that uses the land and the gathering of forest resources as the main source of their income. APOBV was founded in 2003 by about thirty families, mainly farmers developing projects of mixed agriculture and extraction of forest goods, based on sustainable management of those resources.

In 2015, amongst other activities, we idealised a project to bring internet to the community. Their three main arguments to have internet signal were to call rescue, educational purpose for younger generations, and for business transactions. The association has plans of expanding the activities to create other business arrangements, such as a cooperative to deal with different farming products of the families in the surrounding area, and looking for ways to generate more income and to further develop the community.

Nowadays, the service is provided by companies is 2nd and 3rd generation of data exchange technology, and their services are billed in terms of traffic amount. There is not enough coverage area to provide a good quality of service in terms of speed and there is virtually no chance of getting an affordable contract based on bandwidth to institutional use inside the community. The lack of coverage puts people on uncomfortable situation to try communication. If communication and energy cuts off, than bikes or motorcycles are used to drive to the next closest place to receive network again or to communicate in person.

In 2016, the project proposal received a grant and support from Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA), where we established a cooperation agreement between the APOBV and  Laboratory for Embedded Systems (LASSE) of the Federal University of Para. So we installed the equipment to receive internet in four points: police station, health center, school and association building.

During IDDS Amazon, a group of specialists, students, and local members of the community, consolidated the idea: Our proposition is to establish a local network, managed by the association and allowing them to operate as an autonomous Internet provider. This means that they would act as a proxy, with autonomy to deal with other providers, managing the contracts between the association and community members, with freedom to establish their own rules and expand their network and to find local solutions to address technical and administrative solutions.

The main goal is to develop a governance model to create the conditions to have a consistent income coming from the community, in terms of financial resources, labour or goods exchange. Some technical problems in terms of wired and wireless connectivity arose during the analysis, because of the sometimes extreme conditions imposed by the landscape, such as constant thunderstorms, and unstable trees falling often, as part of forest self regeneration process.

They proposed and built a tower made of local materials that are readily available in the community. However, during the process the team had some insights and challenges, where they identified the “need of resilient structures to keep the hardware antennas and physical structure steady and safe around the territory”. So with active members of the community, the tower was putted down and they built another one out of metal.

Nowadays the project is lead by Debora Leal, APOBV and LASSE in working collaboration to guarantee internet connectivity in the region and finding ways to expand the network. In this process we also have on our radar the important tasks:
  • Provide good quality Internet service for the community in terms of adequate contracts and respecting local practices.

  • Capacity building on the first generation of management team.

  • Create management structures of network governance based in local practices and principles for problem solving. In a way to sustain the costs that come with it.

  • Generate income for the association through the provider and through online platforms, increasing the general interest on local matters on the youngsters of the locality.

  • Increase the access to political education in the community.
  • Offer training for content producer, especially for the exchange of traditional knowledge from the region and from communities around.
  • Stimulate the synergy between the academic and productive sector, using circular economy and regenerative development as groundwork.
Today we are a group of twelve people steering the next steps of the **Internet Community Provider**. Where two are UFPA’ students, and nine are from Boa Vista de Acará.
IDDS Amazon and Debora Leal would like to thank the incredible people who collaborated and collaborate to the project: Jeferson Leite, Rafael Yamagata, Philip Guedes, Marcel Ribeiro, Lauro Brito, Emerson Junior, Lorena Freitas, Moacir Neto, Eliane Teles, Nahomy Hernandez, Pedro Belasco, Miguel Chaves, John Kleba, Aldebaro Klautau, Cecilia Cesar, Carlos Teles, Cristina Soeiro, Dione Gomes, Elaine Correa Teles, Ellen Nascimento,Gaúcho, Jose Maria Gomes, Josy Teles, Leandro Teles, Samara Vilhena.