Members of the FDN Federation are Non-Profit Internet Service Providers sharing common values: volunteer-based, solidarity-driven, democratic and non-profit working; defense and promotion of Net neutrality. As such, the FDN Federation aims at making its members be heard in debates about freedom of speech and Net Neutrality. It provides its members with tools to grow and address issues surrounding their missions as Internet Service Providers.
Before the Federation
In the old days, in 1992, before the web, there was FDN, which provided access to the Internet. The standard for an ISP was to be an association, run by a handful of enthusiasts, or a very small company (usually living from another more lucrative activity, such as Minitel). Since then, small businesses have grown, or have been swallowed up by the telephonosaurs.
FDN defends a different vision of the Internet and has proven that, with a little will, it is possible to offer a viable alternative to the large ISPs: an Internet that belongs to its subscribers.
Since the arrival of ADSL in 2005, and especially since the Minitel 2.0 conference in 2007, the number of members and subscribers has increased sharply, from around thirty members in 2005 to more than three hundred in 2010. Soon enough we reach a paradoxical crisis: FDN was meeting more people of good will without being able to involve them in the functioning of a single association; in a single structure, it is complicated to manage to involve more than 10 or 20 volunteers on a daily basis. One of the solutions is to multiply the structures. The idea was then launched: to spread out.
The objective was simple: to enable all those who wished to do so to create, at home and among themselves, associative Internet Service Providers (ISPs), their access provider.
The FDN Federation was born out of this movement. It was founded on 12 March 2011, by seven associations (Aquilenet, Franciliens.net, FDN, Ilico, LDN, Sames Wireless, Tetaneutral.net).
Since the creation of the federation
- Other collection gates have been opened for ADSL (FDN in 2005, Grifon, Grenode in 2016).
- Several members have become LIR: tetaneutral.net, Aïl-Network, FDN, Franciliens.net, Grenode, Illyse
- 2013 The Federation is interested in SDTAN and FTTH
- 2014 The Federation begins to litigate
- 2014-2015 Birth of laBriqueInter.net (history)
- 2015 We deal with telecom regulation by responding to ARCEP consultations
- 2016 Les Exégètes obtained the censorship by the Constitutional Council of the "hertzian exception" which opened up the prospect of uncontrolled surveillance of all wireless communications by the intelligence services.
- 2016 Establishment of working groups
- 2017 Creation of the FTTH Group
- 2019 Publication of the FTTH barometer
- 2019 Signature of a FTTH RIP contract (Illyse)
- 2019 La Quadrature, FDN, FFDN, igwan.net (and others) plead before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), against the French regime of generalised retention of connection data and the Intelligence Act.
Goals and Actions
Members of the Federation are varied, and we like it that way. Some provide ADSL access, others aim to deliver local services, others again build their own local loop, for example by providing Wifi access in areas where ADSL or cable access is lacking, some target a specific population while others don't, and some provide a mix of all these activities. Our associations all have as their main activity to provide Internet access, but this is not our only activity. We also work to defend our values: freedom of expression on the network, neutrality of the network, involvement of members in management of the network, spreading of knowledge about the inner workings of the Internet. All these activities, which are required to defend a free Internet, require participation of the people. Firstly so that we can be many to act, allowing us to spread over a large number of associations. Secondly so that many others may support our action, stay informed, and spread our message wherever needed. Members of the Federation are active on many fronts. On the regulatory front, we follow the work of the French regulators (ARCEP) towards protecting (or not protecting) the neutrality of the network, and towards protecting the citizens, users of the network, against any abusive or overbearing position. On the political front, since politicians decide to "civilize" us, or to "regulate" us without a good understanding of what the network is: we work with all political parties to make sure that, at least, they understand what they are doing, and that they do it consciously. On the European front, we attempt to intervene, one way or another, on all topics related to the network (excessive extension of the concept of "intellectual property", telecoms regulations lobbying, outrageous lack of democracy surrounding ACTA, etc.) Finally, on the front of educating people, we go out and explain what the Internet is, how it works, its relationship with changes in our society, and how anyone, anyone can take its place in that change.