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Wireless for the Masses
Jamais Cascio, 30 Dec 03

If we're certain about anything around here, it's that the future will be wireless. These days, "information wants to be free" has little to do with cost, and everything to do with getting off the leash of an ethernet (or phone) line. Swimming untethered in the infosphere is revolutionary.

If you live in Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington, you're lucky: both cities have rapidly-growing open-access distributed community wireless "metropolitan area networks." Portland's is the Personal Telco Project; Seattle's is Seattle Wireless. Both have express goals to cover as much of their respective cities as possible with free (as in cost) 802.11 Internet access. Seattle Wireless describes itself as a "NYASPTWYOMB - not yet another service provider to whom you owe monthly bills."

And it's not just happening in the United States: NZWireless is setting up free community metronets all over New Zealand.

As world-changing as these efforts are, they are adding a layer of roaming information to societies which already have well-established information and communication technology institutions. But what about the developing world?

Onno Purbo, an Indonesian IT specialist, believes that wireless technologies should be part of a developing world strategy to build out both information and communication systems. In Indonesia, he has helped construct a system combining both WiFi and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies. Relying in part on Free Software-based servers, his system allows a rapidly-growing number of people to make cheap (or free) phone calls and access the Internet. What's more, he's made tutorial files on building a bottom-up ICT infrastructure freely available on his website (alternative link) (sadly, they're mostly in Word and Powerpoint formats).

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Comments

Hey Folks,

Thanks for the write up. Remember -- assemble early, assemble often.

Please let the Personal Telco Project know how we may document the process in order to help you.

Thanks again,
Darrin


Posted by: Darrin Eden on 30 Dec 03

It's good!


Posted by: eMule on 30 Jan 04

I love your song "i'm with you"


Posted by: Brandy Dunn on 7 Apr 04



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