Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Master's October 2001

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This article discusses the evolution of a wireless grid that works on the unlicensed portion of the wireless Ethernet spectrum. The concept is that "Neighborhood Networks"� are built from internet subscribes placing wireless access points on their roof and allowing neighbors and passerby's to connect to the Internet for free. The article describes how once this wireless grid of access points is established it would facilitate information distribution for city services, free email for all citizens and inexpensive "wiring"� of cities. The intent is to "erase the digital divided"� by providing free metropolitan wireless access. Key operators such as AT&T wireless are keeping track of these developments. Third party aggregators are also taking note and are designing software for mobile devices to find available wireless networks and connect the user to it, identifying all the access points in range. Currently New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Aspen, Portland, British Columbia and London are all sponsoring these private/public wireless subnets for wired cities.

Note: I chose this article primarily because of its applicability to our case project. Wireless networks along with private/public coalitions are options for CivicNet. The current efforts in other cities also provide information for our historical portion of the case.