Table: It Takes a Community

Wireless networks are catching fire. These are being set up by grassroots groups that want to get on the Net by sharing local connections. Here's a sampling:

THE ALTRUISTS

NYCwireless, started last May, wants to make wireless access to the Net as broadly available as electricity. As a registered nonprofit, NYCwireless is working with businesses and city parks to set up wireless public hot spots that any New Yorker can use for free.

THE ANARCHISTS

Since September, 2000, Seattle Wireless, a group of 400 engineers and other techies, has been trying to reduce the stranglehold of telecom and cable companies. How? By creating a metropolitan-area Wi-Fi network that people can use for free.

THE EDUCATORS

The Bay Area Wireless Users Group, was formed in December, 2000, as a clearinghouse for Wi-Fi issues. Now, the group is setting up antennas on mountaintops in the Bay Area to show that Wi-Fi can cover a large area at minimal cost, in this case about $40,000.

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