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In what way is it an "investment"?

Good idea, beneficial, charitable, sure; but it's not an investment.

Posted by Fnarf | June 6, 2008 5:10 PM

Free wifi would be cool. So would my current wifi if it actually went all the way from my living room to my bedroom. Maybe one day.

Posted by Dougsf | June 6, 2008 5:28 PM

What are the stats on people who have computers but don't have internet service?

Posted by keshmeshi | June 6, 2008 5:30 PM

If you live in the Central District, it's an investment toward living in a more stable and unified community.

Posted by Chris | June 6, 2008 5:40 PM

Chris, assume a partially efficient information market on whether wi-fi is a good investment or not. If it was a great opportunity why hasn't anyone stepped up to the plate to offer the service in the capacity you describe?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 6, 2008 5:41 PM

I guess I was thinking qualitatively. Investing in karma, maybe? Good points, anyway.

Posted by Chris | June 6, 2008 5:48 PM

If people are interested in helping us create a locally owned, community mesh network, check out the project.

Posted by mattw | June 6, 2008 6:42 PM

god forbid some kid should have to walk to a library.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 6, 2008 7:31 PM

well... there have always been a business case for wifi - even for free wifi - but so many of these that have been implemented with "city or government sponsorship" only means that the cities are looking for additional revenue sources or tax from franchise taxes... These are what cause cost overages - and why most fail - those politicians get in the way...

They did for me here in Kansas - I offered to buy the entire city over a hundred wireless access points from various vendors - I asked for access to easements only so that I could install the radios with licensed electricians and make use of an already negotiated pole lease with the utility company - a single greedy city council person wanted franchise taxes... was put in charge of the technology committee and never had a meeting... what a POS. too much BS in american politics these days - if you thought washington was dirty - you only need to go visit city hall to see worse at times...

yeah - our business plan was modeled by other - but we have about 50 other facets to it as well.. . Free WiFi CAN work - it CAN be profitable - but one must look past simple isp business models.

We are working on software to link media, advertisers, existing sites like google and yahoo apis, real estate, county and state public records, video and so much more... all private - all free to use... imagine any tv station using our web cams on their broadcasts... you'll figure it out - we did... it works. I can show you how...

-Eric Henderson
US Navy Vet.
Real Estate Broker
Owner Zippy Networks, llc /Developer/Geek/Father/Library Board Trustee...

... if I can do it - I know you can... I have a recepie for success and several developers helping - now all I need is access to building and towers or utility poles to make it happen.. FYI - I got tired of waiting on my local city - so I just started buying dozens of houses in the area and renting them out - putting up ugly tall towers on each rooftop to give access to my tenants at that address - but instead it also give the surrounding houses and business access too... my little FU to the city...

Posted by eric | June 6, 2008 10:32 PM

What are the stats on people who have computers but don't have internet service?

Perfectly good computers are free. They are hard to get rid of. Given that fact, everybody without the internet has a chance of getting online with a community project such as this.

Libraries are okay, but that is significantly limiting compared to having one in your home. Getting to the library or having one near by is also another challenge.

The internet, on the other hand is expensive: $40-$60

Q: Are there really people who cannot afford or who prioritize other necessities above recurring internet costs?

A: Tons ... the problem becomes more compound for those without stable living arrangements. Even those with stable living arrangements have more important things like rent, food, transportation, other bills, etc. I know quite a few people in particular that could benefit.

Posted by casey | June 6, 2008 11:14 PM

What are the legal issues? Would the wifi broadcaster be liable for people using his service downloading kiddie porn or music or movies?

Posted by Emily | June 6, 2008 11:53 PM

Anytime someone says "It shouldn't be too difficult to [x]...", you can be sure that [x] is either not easy or it's not cheap, and frequently, both.

Posted by Tiktok | June 7, 2008 1:37 AM

The challenging pieces of this are worth the fight. And good for you Eric!

Posted by dawicksta | June 7, 2008 6:20 AM

The work that Towers does is too important to let slip away. We should pass a law requiring him to remain here and operate his service.

Posted by Stinky | June 7, 2008 3:24 PM

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