Sascha Meinrath

Ashoka Fellow
Washington, DC, United States, North America
Fellow Since 2012
My work: Deploying a disruptive communication architecture to ensure free and open communication as a human right.


This profile was prepared when Sascha Meinrath was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
In an effort to democratize access to broadband Internet in the United States’ rural and low-income communities, as well as in countries controlled by oppressive regimes, Sascha and his team at the Open Technology Institute are pioneering a new type of tool for democratic organizing. His open source “device-as-infrastructure” distributed communications platform integrates users’ existing cell phones, WiFi-enabled computers, and other WiFi-capable personal devices to create a metro-scale peer-to-peer (mesh) communications network. Such a network would largely circumvent the need to use centralized Internet Service Providers, thus creating market pressures to decrease cost, democratize access and, in an oppressive regime, make surveillance and censorship much more difficult.

By introducing such disruptive technologies onto the market and simultaneously influencing policies with regards to open technology, Sascha is pushing both corporations and the government to reconfigure our Internet infrastructure in a way that increases connectivity, stimulates the economy and enhances democracy. Sascha’s goal is to reconfigure our communication infrastructure in such a way that establishes and entrenches the right to communication as an inalienable human right.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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