Community Wi-Fi

Broadband for everyone.

Momentum is building behind the various efforts which are developing WiFi networks within communities, at little or no cost to those who will use the service. The motivation is often that the main broadband providers don't cover the area, but sometimes people just object to paying £30/month for service. There's even a company offering a product called the MeshBox which is an all-in-one box Linux-based solution for £300.

I think this is great. A couple of people in my team work from home but have to make do with ISDN because BT don't offer ASDL in the backwoods (and no other companies offer alternatives either). Of course the sticking point is that you've still got to pay for some kind of fat pipe to the Internet, and if you can't get ASDL in the area then that probably means that you've got to pay out for a T1. Still, if there's a hundred people sharing the fees then it won't sting too much.

I wonder how long it will be before our wonderful government excels itself and passes a law banning this kind of thing. Or then again, since the telcos have already had to stump up for their 3G licenses, maybe uncle Gordon won't listen too carefully to their concerns.

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This page is It was first published on Sunday 9 February, 2003 and last updated on Sunday 9 February, 2003.