Community Democratization of Telecommunications Community Cooperatives in Argentina: The Case Of TELPIN
AbstractA telecommunications community cooperative (TCC) is an autonomous association of individuals, which join forces to solve common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned enterprise, democratically governed and managed. In Argentina, TCCs were created by community conscious members to fill in for the State role when it was unable to provide telephone service in remote areas, generally marginalized from services provision. In 1989, the State telephone enterprise was privatized. From 1992 onwards, TCCs replaced the large private telephone enterprises, since these were not interested in providing non profitable services in remote or low-populated areas. TCCs provide telephone and Internet services, by dial-up and/or broadband (ADSL) connections, as well as IP telephony, to their target populations at significantly lower costs than the large traditional firms (Telefónica and Telecom). Most of them offer also free community services, such as courses on information and communication technologies (ICTs), free Internet access to public schools, libraries, and public facilities (police stations, hospitals, etc.). This work focuses on a particular case study: TELPIN, the Pinamar Telecommunications Cooperative. Telpin was created by a group of Pinamar neighbors, most of them founders of the local community, in 1962. Since then, it has become the largest and most successful Telecommunications Cooperative in Argentina.
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