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Essentially, what I have in mind is a network of free wi-fi hotspots tied together by cheap unlicensed devices like those made by Ubiquiti, with enough redundancy such that it could tolerate the occasional link outage due to interference or device failure. The network could be tied into the greater Internet in myriad places such as universities or municipal networks, without ever touching the likes of Comcast or Verizon.

I have not thought this through; it is just an idea. Do any of y'all think it could be done?


Can we create out own alternative to Comcast and Verizon?

44%13 votes
31%9 votes
24%7 votes

| 29 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  For a small area you could probably do something (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zwoof, JeffW, FG, Neuroptimalian, VClib

    but beyond that? Who is going to pay for the electricity and the storage for these devices? How are they going to content from the rest of the web? If they're not going to use the existing internet then where will the servers be stored? Who will create and manage the search tools for this new internet? Basically this is the argument against busting net neutrality. Without it nothing new will be likely to come along unless it's from already existing billion dollar company.

    GOP 2014 strategy -- Hire clowns, elephants, and a ringmaster and say "a media circus" has emerged and blame Democrats for lack of progress. Have pundits agree that "both sides are to blame" and hope the public will stay home on election day.

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:17:17 PM PDT

    •  This has been done twice in the San Francisco (0+ / 0-)

      Bay Area, by BARWN and SFNET. I have friends in that enterprise. It has never even made it down to Silicon Valley. I also know people putting in wireless networks in developing countries, under government contracts, including one in Bhutan based on SFNET.

      So no. The will to do it does not exist even in the most Progressive and high-tech communities, much less across continents and oceans. I won't even go into the technical difficulties and the costs.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 10:25:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The technology is available (4+ / 0-)

    It's called a Mesh Network.

    At some point, however, the network needs to get on the big pipe.

    Going to Colorado in My Mind

    by Zwoof on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:19:21 PM PDT

  •  This is the Nobility's Dream for Everything. (6+ / 0-)

    The whole world in little balkanized cliques, only the Nobility able to reach everyone, always the Nobility the gatekeeper for contact between tribes.

    It's the most natural arrangement as we surrender culture and society to markets.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 05:19:58 PM PDT

  •  where are the web servers? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    These are the computers that will host websites that you want to visit.

    My gut instinct is absolutely no way. It would take a lot of resources to get an infrastructure together and it would have all of the same issues as our current internet, but only worse.

  •  What you need is poles. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Utility poles, that you hang fiber or copper lines from.  Your radio transceivers plug into those wires or fibers.

    Federal law requires utilities to sell space on their poles at relatively cheap rates to "telecommunications carriers" and to cable TV companies.

    Federal law requires telecom carriers to play nice, but it doesn't require cable companies to play nice.

    The Federal Communications Commission has the authority to say, "Internet access is a telecommunications service and you therefore have to play nice."

    The FCC will not do that.

  •  Theoretically, a large enough mesh net with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    virtual machines & servers working together on it, with a few taps into general (random, and randomly shifting) points into the "general pipe", is possible.

    Several could be tied together into a physical beowulf cluster - several groups of those could help support the computing power of virtual servers.

    Several nets linked together - sometimes working through or simply syncing via other means - could create a shadow net or alter-net.

  •  Nice thought experiment. (0+ / 0-)

    I think the poll is faulty, tho - an alternative net is feasible (likelihood aside), but alternative to Comcast or Verizon in their current capacity as cable providers ... not so much.

    In terms of alternative internet accessibility, however - yes. Doable, but I'm not sure it would be likely.

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