Login | Home | Story Behind | Press Info | Partners + Sponsors | Contact/Imprint 

 Friday, 03. September | Saturday, 04. September | Sunday, 05. September | Workcamp 6.-10. September 


Djurslands.net is a regional ISP with 20 co-workers and hundreds of voluntaries working together in the villages in self help groups, establishing a radio based broadband landscape network for all of Djursland, a rural area of Denmark. Up to now Djurslands.net has established more than 100 cells of covering through which 1.500 households are permanently connected to the Internet.

The goal of Djurslands.net is to build the necessary IT-infrastructure for all of this rural area and to secure cheap broadband access for everybody all over Djursland. Based on this, Djurslands.net also makes organizational social structures, which let the citizens together form a modern IT-society, in spite of the vast difficulties in rural areas. The goal is to secure development in all walks of life on Djursland.



Djurslands.net is a project with the purpose of strengthening the IT infrastructure of Djursland, a low populated region in Denmark, which is in severe danger of de-urbanization due to a general decrease in infrastructures. By supplying affordable high-speed internet access to all of the residents of the region, we hope to avoid collective social regression. 25% of the 32.000 households in the region (populated with more than 82.000 people) cannot get regular DSL or similar commercial Internet access, because the physical distances makes it unattractive for tele-operators to extend their coverage to these remote locations.

Three thousand five hundred members signed up for an immediate connection and within these members, a board was formed. They contacted every Danish internet providers in turn, to establish the necessary connections on whatever media they would offer. More than 30 different tele-operators were involved without success. No matter what, their solutions were unaffordable. It became obvious that a solution for Djursland was unachievable on a commercial basis. Every media of access was explored but only Wireless technology was found to be a possible affordable solution, fibre or cupper would be too expensive. Self-help groups are formed in every village on Djursland and organized through 8 local boards, one for each municipal on Djursland. The boards all send 2 representatives to Djurslands.net for central organisational purpose. In every village people are now building their own internet connections on a volunteer basis.

By now more than 1.700 households are online in more than 100 areas of coverage. A grand total of 16.000 will be reached within a few years.


The objective is to create an IT community in the region "Djursland" and thereby avoid the ongoing social regression that is immediate. In the object clauses for the community "Djurslands.net" we state the following objectives:

  • To facilitate the establishment of high-speed community network usable for everyone in all of the communities on Djursland.
  • To facilitate access to high-speed internet connections for every community network on reasonable terms.
  • To create a web portal for each of the municipals and to combine those in a common regional portal for Djursland.
  • To organize open IT self-help communities – preferable with local workshops – in each municipal.

By creating this IT infrastructure, we also intend to enforce the possibilities for the business societies and the educational institutions etc. in the region. To create a synergy effect among these parties we are creating a virtual layer on DjurslandS?.net called: "Djurs Business Net" – this to help the companies and educational institutions to make partnerships on various subjects. A special "task force" based on employed skilled personnel is to assist in the process of building "Djurs Business Net" and support the need for "professional IT assistance" in the region. The web-portal is intended to substitute the newspaper, that is no longer available (on daily basis) for the entire region, as well as providing a common media for exchanging information of interest for the public in the villages, the municipals and the region. By supplying an entire region with new IT and connectivity access, many IT related problems will occur. By organizing IT self-help workshops where citizens can bring their equipment and present their problems, we seek to care for these problems, as they actually are escalated by our project. This is done much like in the IT community called "Boevl" that has existed for everybody since 1993 in the municipal "Norre Djurs".


The original offspring for Djurslands.net was the IT community called "Boevl" in the municipal "Noerre Djurs". A group of IT "nerds" made unselfishly their knowledge available to the entire community on scheduled meetings, where everyone were welcome with their IT related problems. Coping with problems are the definition of the term "Boevl".

Boevl was a result of necessity and is still very well functioning as a human network in the municipal. To avoid that the rural area, the municipal Noerre Djurs, was left behind in the IT development that progresses rapidly, the people from "Boevl" realized that an unknown kind of rural area network connectivity was needed. Using their knowledge of various forms for networking, it was obvious that a wireless technology was attractive. The only problem was how to create a sufficient backbone infrastructure to the internet and between the villages.

The lack of sufficient backbone, weak economy and realising that the 7 other municipals on Djursland was in the same situation, the vision broadened from a local to a regional perspective. Thus the locality of the current and ongoing project is the entire region Djursland. Together the 8 municipals were able to afford rental of an existing fibre connection as backbone for a common regional network, thereby interconnecting all of region Djursland in a common broadband net with a shared high-speed broadband access to the internet.

After successfully achieving to connect several parts of Djursland to this net, the rumour spread and several delegations from other rural areas in Denmark visited to get more knowledge on Djurslands.net with the aim to build their own regional networks. This has brought the localisation to a countrywide perspective.

In September 2003 a delegation from Djurslands.net participated in "freifunk summer convention 03 in Berlin", a gathering for independent non-commercial networks from all over Europe – focused primarily on wireless technology. After giving a speech, explaining Djurslands.net, it became evident that Djurslands.net is now Europe's largest non-commercial wireless network. It was also evident that the need for rural network's like Djurslands.net is not a Danish phenomena, but a need and fruitful possibility in all European rural districts. Thus the European network of non-commercial wireless network-organisations has asked Djurslands.net to host the Freifunk messe of 2004.


September 2004 the volunteers of Djurslands.net are hosts for this years "Freifunk.net Summerconvent" on Djursland, Denmark. We are inviting representatives from all over the world as the implementation of this technology is suitable for any rural area all around the globe, - actually the main part of its surface. The only exception might be in the heavily populated areas – like big cities. There the broadband should be provided with more suitable techniques – and the availability of these is often already present in various forms.


As stated above the project started as an offspring from the "Boevl" community in the municipal Noerre Djurs that was founded in 1993. After various experiments with amateur radio and computer technologies, knowledge of early state wireless data communication arose. After several approaches during the 90'ies, the community "Djurslands.net" was officially founded in 2001 with the previously stated aims.

During 2001 and 2002 several tests and development was performed to assure that the technology chosen was the right one. Antenna types were developed for the purpose, and the organisational foundation was build. During 2002 the first couple of test areas was implemented and interconnected wirelessly. June 2003 the fibre connection was opened and the first hundreds of users were connected. Several hundred volunteers were coordinated to help roll-out the net in this large rural area. They were trained, educated and motivated in the coordination centre of the project, located in the small village "Glesborg" in the municipal "Noerre Djurs", at the location where it all started with the "Boevl".

September 2003 the net counted 600 users and nearly 30 areas of coverage. At this point we realized that our community was the largest of its kind in all of Europe.

Today areas of all the 8 municipals are online. More than 110 areas of coverage, each with a minimum radius of 1,5 km, are interconnected. More than 1.700 households are connected in these areas of coverage. Within the next few years we expect to cover each and every corner of Djursland and to provide net to at least half of the households, more than 16.000.


Membership of Djurslands.net is free and open for everyone and without commitment. Everyone should have the possibility to influence the development of the IT society of their region. Members that choose to be connected to the net change their state when they sign an agreement for the connection. When a connection is made, the member is required to pay an initial fee of € 265 (2.000 Danish Kroner) which covers all expenses to their own equipment and their fair part of the infrastructure needed. Every month an annual fee of € 13,50 (100 Danish Kroner) covers all expenses related to the traffic and surveillance of the net.

Workgroups in the villages assist in building the net on volunteer basis. Several hundred people participate on this level, mixed among IT educated over technicians to craftsmen and uneducated amateurs. Each municipal has its own board and rules of conduct (within the framework of the regional organization). Typically 10-15 persons per municipal are involved in the organization on this level. Every local board points out a coordinator for establishment and DRIFT of each of the areas: Netbuilding, Webportal and the Boevl-workshop. They also select 2 representatives for the regional board. The regional board consists solely of representatives from every local net area (16 persons); their task is to ensure the coordination of the development of the Net, the Web and the "Boevl" workshops across the local municipals. A team of 15-20 persons from all over the region, each with various degrees of disability diseases or otherwise economically supported from other sources, are employed in the coordination centre to maintain the daily coordination and supervision of the net together with central purchase and distribution etc.


We are currently in the process of documenting and evaluating the knowledge and skills achieved by this project. This process has been ongoing every Wednesday during the spring of 2004 on Grenaa Technical College. More than 60 of the volunteers from all over the Djursland region have participated in this process. The immediate goal has been to grow collective competence among those responsible for the net in the villages, but also to develop educational material and prepare ourselves now that we are inviting anyone interested from all of the World to the "Freifunk.net Summerkonvent 2004" in Glesborg, Djursland, Denmark. After the fair we will be offering a week's work-camp on building "rural area network" to give room for practical education to anyone that wishes to participate.


To dig into the techniques applied to make this network available, we would in general like to refer to the presentation found at: http://www.djurs.net/biblioteket/international/djurslands_net_english_presentation.ppt.

But here are some key issues:

  • A fibre backbone connects the 8 administrative villages of Djursland (one for each of the communities on Djursland).
  • This fibre connection is connected in both ends to the Danish internet backbone, thus providing redundant internet access to the region.
  • In these main villages, the signal is spread wirelessly to the end users.
  • It is also send wirelessly, by point to point connections, to all the neighbour villages, where the signal is spread to the residents in the same way, and at the same time is wirelessly send on to the next villages, and so on.
  • Every village, or area that receives the signals, provides a kind of local "hot spot" for the village or rural area.
  • But the coverage of these "hot spots" are extended to 1,5 km by antenna amplification, to the limits of the local laws and regulations.
  • The bandwidth to every end user should never be less than 256 kbps, today a connection of 1-2 Mbps is most common.


The potential beneficiaries are everyone, everywhere ! - In every country all over the world, there are vast rural areas that may not easily be covered by high-speed network while thinking in traditional ways of implementation. The end users are everyone that lives in these rural areas and who already today suffers from the lack of ability to keep up with the demands of tomorrows IT society. The children of those areas should have the same possibilities as the children of the large cities – otherwise the world will be further divided.


The reason that the press should put spotlight on this project, is not the fact that it is the largest non-commercial wireless network of Europe, but the fact that we here have a practical and proved cheap model for the rural and low populated areas around the world. The World needs spotlight on the otherwise impossible ability for everyone to be winners in the technological societies of tomorrow.

It is essential to promote the knowledge accumulated to any and all that wishes to copy the idea of a rural wireless network for their own local society. For this we still need to generate extensive but easy adoptable documentation and educational plans. This will be done but support will be most welcome. In this context it should be mentioned that Djurslands.net as a “Community-Projekt” has won «Honorary Mentions» at ARS Electronica 2004.

/Bjarke Nielsen
Chairman of Djurslands.net

Map of coverage areas of Djurslands.net. http://www.freifunknet.dk/mapofcoverage

back to StoryBehind