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Rural environments of developing countries usually lack of the appropriate communications infrastructure, accentuating the geographical isolation of rural communities. A cost-efficient and service-oriented deployment of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) helps to reduce the so-called "digital divide", improving the productivity and quality of life of those communities. Mobile communications have settled down a foundation for the development of new and rich network applications which are particularly attractive as digital inclusion tools for rural environments, where they can be deployed with comparative simplicity and reduced cost. In this paper we propose the Rural Ambient Network (RAN), an architecture for wireless networks specially designed for digital inclusion enabling global optimization of resource utilization using the Community Cost metric. This architecture uses a policy-based management framework for the integration of heterogeneous technologies in a common network control space. We also present a RAN prototype which uses mesh networking as a key technology; several scenarios involving policy-based decision-making have been tested on this infrastructure. Our early results show that RAN augments the native routing capabilities of the underlying technologies.