Short Summary

Guifi·net is a cooperative in Barcelona, Spain, that provides crowdsourced infrastructure for high-quality Wi-Fi service. By committing itself to principles of mutual ownership, net neutrality and community control, has grown from a single Wi-Fi node in 2004 to more than 35,000 active nodes and ~63,000 km of wireless links in 2018.

Website address:

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Logo source

Profile is committed to "creating a free, open and neutral telecommunications network based on a commons model" (source).

Guifi got its start when Ramon Roca, a Spanish engineer at Oracle, hacked some off-the-shelf routers. The hack made the routers work as nodes in a mesh network-like system connected to a single DSL line owned by Telefonica serving municipal governments. This jerry-rigged system enabled people to send and receive Internet data using other, similarly hacked routers, for free.

As word spread, Roca’s innovation to rectify the scarcity of Internet access quickly caught on. As recounted by Wired magazine, grew its system through a kind of improvised crowdfunding system: “’It was about announcing a plan, describing the cost, and asking for contributions,’ Roca says. The payments weren’t going to Guifi, but to the suppliers of gear and ISP network services. All of these initiatives laid the groundwork not just for building out the overall network, but also creating the array of ISPs.” established an affiliated foundation in 2008 to help oversee volunteers, network operations, and governance of the entire system. As Wired described it, the foundation “handled network traffic to and among the providers; connected to the major data ‘interchange’ providing vast amounts of bandwidth between southern Spain and the rest of the world; planned deployment of fiber; and, crucially, developed systems to ensure that the ISPs were paying their fair share of the overall data and network-management costs.”

Working Nodes in until 2017. source

YOUTUBE gD3HYeD4Lm4 Video about by the European Broadband Awards, awarding it "best project for the category on innovative model of financing, business and investment."

Friends & Partners

  • RIPE NCC Member
  • European Network of Living Labs
  • Premis Nacionals de Radiodifusió, Televisió, Internet i Telecomunicacions
  • CitiLab
  • The dotCAT Foundation

Finances is financed by its users and their commitment to a shared infrastructure and mutualized benefits. Anyone who uses the Guifi infrastructure in Catalonia—individual Internet users, small businesses, government, dozens of small Internet service providers—is committed to “the development of a commons-based, free, open and neutral telecommunications network” (source).

This means that Guifi provides far better broadband service at cheaper prices than those paid by Americans, who pay very high prices to a broadband oligopoly (a median of $80 month in 2017) for slower connectivity and poor customer service. ISPs using Guifi were charging 18 to 35 Euros a month in 2016 (roughly US$20–$37) for one gigabite fiber connections, and much lower prices for Wi-Fi.

Like other commons-based ventures that operate in markets, has been able to assert some measure of price sovereignty for the benefit of its users. It is responsive to market trends and user needs, but it does not seek to maximize or privatize market gains.