Shaun Fensom has more than three decades’ experience working with Internet technology and in the cooperative movement.

In the 1980s, Shaun co-founded Poptel, one of the UK’s first Internet Service Providers. Poptel played a pioneering role in connecting NGOs and human rights organizations worldwide. In 2001, in collaboration with the US National Cooperative Business Association, Poptel launched the .coop top-level Internet domain, which now serves cooperatives around the world.

Most recently, Shaun has played a key role in establishing and growing Cooperative Network Infrastructure (CNI). With its innovative ‘thin layer model’, CNI enables the sharing of digital infrastructure by public and private sectors. CNI now operates some 250km of spine fibre routes and provides data centre capacity in major UK centres.

As a consultant with Community Broadband Network (CBN), a freelancer cooperative, Shaun advises city authorities on the deployment of digital infrastructure for economic and social advancement. CBN is a founding member of – a collaborative umbrella for digital and social-purpose enterprise.

Shaun co-founded Manchester Digital in 2001, an association of digital-tech businesses that has helped establish Manchester as one of the most dynamic digital-tech clusters in Europe.

Shaun helped create the Customer Union for Ethical Banking, a union of thousands of customers of the UK Co-operative Bank. The union works to ensure that the bank maintains its pioneering ethical policies and aims ultimately to return the bank to the cooperative movement following its demutualisation in 2013.


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