While not wanting to mire this term in the connections of online communities
, web communities
and virtual communities
, it does have a connection with everything to do with the internet
which means of course the web
and so on.
A community network is defined by me as an on the ground Internet service, a facility with staff and hardware, that provides Internet services to the community in a particular geographic area (location, town, city, region). Its a not for profit organisation, and its aims are to deliver services to the ordinary people of that community free of charge or at reasonable charges.
The tools and services (bits and pieces) of the community network are the computer hardware, server room, dial in modem hardware, hardware for the users (computers and modems), web servers, web pages, mail servers, email, software for users, staff to run the network, staff to assist the users of the network. Mailing lists, forums, web boards and other online community tools then offer the community network the ability to build their virtual community.
VICNET is an example.
Similar terms might be free nets.
Community networking is the work you (as a member of the community network) do within the region that your community network serves.