WiFi Comes to Roxbury

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 09/20/2007 - 20:07.

We're close enough to our move in to 1894 Roxbury, in East Cleveland, that we have had our DSL service switched over from Ohio City to East Cleveland. Whereas on Clinton, at W. 45th Street, there were several WiFi signals in the air, my new POP on Roxbury is the only signal in the digital darkness of this corner of East Cleveland.

I've discussed with several of my neighbors that a few of us can each get DSL and offer WiFi from our homes and effectively cover the street with a few access points like mine, offering WiFi to everyone on the street for a total of under $100 per month. As there are probably over 20 homes on this street, the cost per home would be $5. But our signal would cover the blocks to the East and West, and at the end on Forest Hill, adding 40 or more additional homes to the cloud, which could reduce costs per home to a few dollars per month. Even if only 25% of households agree to pay and pay, the cost per household would still only be around $5/month. That is a doable strategy for taking East Cleveland WiFi, which we are now pursuing.

21st century pioneer

Little House on Roxbury.  Norm and Evelyn have laptops and wifi mesh on their front porch!    


It is just the type of reasonable cooperation which you are suggesting that is the anathema of the providers.  Here in the US we don’t ride share, don’t hitch hike, don’t share wifi because we have been made paranoid by vendors who want us each to pay singly, individually, and duplicitously for the service we should share.  You could do what Dominion Gas does – charge the people who do pay for their service plus add the defaulted payments to the bills of the paying customer.  Well, say it a bit more diplomatically than that.

talking about the rich...

I noticed you were talking about the rich people over on Jeff's blog a minute ago, and now I see you have a veritable verandah!


Soon, you'll be jetting in and out of Burke!


That would really be a way to DISRUPT IT!





Free Wi-Fi In 'Frisco

Meraki Aims to Link Up a City

Plan for Free Web Access In San Francisco Is a Bet On Technology, User Help
January 4, 2008; Page B3

Meraki Inc. plans to offer free high-speed wireless Internet access throughout San Francisco this year, betting that low-cost technology and help from users will bring success where other municipal Wi-Fi projects have failed.

The closely held Mountain View, Calif., start-up says the free San Francisco wireless project -- which doesn't involve city funding -- is a test of technology it has developed for building low-cost, large-scale networks, generating some revenue from small ads viewed by users. Meraki last summer began offering free-Wi-Fi Internet access to residents of a roughly two-square-mile swath of San Francisco and says it currently has 40,000 users.

[Outdoor Meraki repeater being installed.]
Outdoor Meraki repeater being installed.

Residents of other U.S. cities -- including St. Cloud, Fla., and Mountain View -- have access to free wireless Internet service using Wi-Fi technology. But ambitious plans for private-public partnerships to create such networks have fizzled in some cities over the past year, partly because of Internet company EarthLink Inc.'s decision to retrench in cities, including San Francisco. EarthLink had joined with Google Inc. to negotiate a wireless-network deal with the city, but abandoned the effort amid political opposition and financing concerns.

Meraki's approach is to use lower-cost equipment and rely on consumer volunteers who install small Meraki boxes in their homes, known as "repeaters," that help spread the wireless Internet signal. The playing-card-box-size gear, which Meraki provides free to San Francisco residents who contact it, can be attached to a window with suction cups and helps extend the distance the wireless Internet signal can travel. It needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet.

Meraki itself plans to install a few dozen wireless gateways connected to the Internet and hundreds of solar-powered repeaters on San Francisco rooftops to also help spread the signal. It hopes every San Francisco home will be able to access Meraki's service by the end of 2008, though that timing depends on volunteer installation of the Meraki boxes in consumer homes. Consumers will be able to access the Meraki service using standard Wi-Fi technology in their computers and mobile handsets, even if they don't install one of the Meraki boxes. Meraki said it is targeting providing access at a speed of one megabit-per-second, comparable to some wired high-speed Internet connections.

A spokesman for the San Francisco Mayor's Office, which had championed the free wireless deal with Google and EarthLink, said it was exploring with Meraki and others how the city could support their efforts. One area of possible collaboration aims to speed up the availability of networks in low-income areas, starting with municipal housing authority properties.

Meraki, which was founded in 2006 and sells wireless gear and related network services to organizations and individuals, says it is financing the free San Francisco wireless service itself as a research-and-development expense, though it will receive some revenue from small text ads users will see when they use it.

The company announced today $20 million in funding from Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, Northgate Capital and other existing investors. It had previously raised $5 million from Sequoia and Google.

Write to Kevin J. Delaney at kevin [dot] delaney [at] wsj [dot] com

From: http://online.wsj.com/services/article/SB119941321177666843-search.html?KEYWORDS=Meraki&COLLECTION=wsjie/6month