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:


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.


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 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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