Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sat, 04/08/2006 - 13:08.



About five years ago I watched a bucket truck pull up under this light pole and the guy went up and attached this radio device onto the arm of the light pole.  The unit is powered right off the constant feed to the light’s photo voltaic switch.  It took the guy less than 5 minutes to install.  Note how the power plug is piggybacked by the old photo cell.

When he came back down to ground level I asked the fellow what the purpose of the radio unit was, and he showed me a plan of the Town on which numerous hexagonal cells were show.   In the center of each of those cells (1/4 mile radius) was to be one of these radio transceivers.  The cells communicated downstream to the numerous homes in each cell, and they communicated upstream to two or three cell tower locations from which they connected to land telephone lines.  The unit was able to handle dozens of simultaneous discrete individual connections with data rates up and down in the 300kbs range.




Their intended purpose?  Wireless multi-channel digital connection for internet and TV!

The system never came on line.  So I telephoned the municipal light company and asked what was up.   I was informed that the company had filed for bankruptcy.  From what I could gather, it was a San Francisco company, and before they went into bankruptcy they had agreed to pay the Town $6.00 per month per unit for the location on the pole and the power.  They had installed units in several communities across the country, but none of the systems ever came on line.

The first thing I thought – the SF company had been purchased by a subsidiary of a national cable or telephone company and intentionally bankrupted to avoid competition.

Anybody know anything about this?

A similar “last mile” radio transceiver system is in use in several US and overseas communities now but their use needs to be expanded.   It is clearly one way to economically bring internet to communities where paying for a dsl connection is a strain on the budget to the point where the use of fast internet is deterred. 

Why couldn’t ONE CLEVELAND connect its fiber to this type of RF transceiver mesh net to bring the digital highway deep into the community?



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deep into the community

This sounds intriguing Jeff, but my thought is that One Cleveland or whatever it is called now should work with public transit first. That would be a way to leverage infill ridership and diversify the transit riding public. Imagine the parking lots at Beachwood Place or Crocker Park as park and ride areas. That's a private/public partnership that could go a long way toward improving the use of those massive impermeable surfaces in sprawl land. Imagine a levy to support RTA being supported by people who live outside the City of Cleveland, but in the county-commuters who now depend on transit to begin work on their wireless bus laptop connections just inside the county line.

I like the idea of going here after we use the connection to improve transit use. So in addition to your good idea for RTA; “Ride the Wind”, Clevelanders would be able to ride the wireless wind.

diversify the transit riding public

This is a great idea... each bus stop could have a display of the number of minutes till the next bus arrives, and if we gave busses HOV lanes, then it would be faster to take the bus to get downtown, plus, you could work on your laptop while the bus was moving!


great idea, Susan! 


Susan and Sandy, 

The combination of first class wireless for commuters is a great idea which would definitely drive environmentally advantaged bus and Rapid ridership.  I see the problem as waiting for Lev.  He has had lots of funding and establishment (Case) support but I don't see any outcome from his mission yet.  Perhaps it is just around the corner, I don't know. 

But without One Cleveland and it's rumored fiber network, the radio transceivers could be installed throughout Cleveland and along the Rapid and connect the the web through cell towers and not through One Cleveland.  The advantage to such a system would be that not only would riders have high speed internet, but everyone in Cleveland would also. 

What would it cost?  I don't know, but it must be 100 times less expensive than hard wiring land line fiber.  Look how easy installation is!  I bet, with the devices on a bucket truck, I could singlehandedly install a complete system on lights in Cleveland in less than a month.